Look, you try and get a headline out of a goal-less draw at Bradford.
I think this morning, looking back at it with a clearer head, Wool City 0 Woolworths 0 is actually quite a good result.
No, it wasn’t a victory, indeed I don’t think there was a proper attempt on goal by either side.
But in a week where we lost our best player, added three new ones and had to deal with the first proper injury crisis of the season – I’ll take the point.
Hell, I’ll take the clean sheet too.
The game itself really wasn’t much to write about. They went at us for the first fifteen minutes, but then we got back into it more.
Bugiel was manhandled in the box to the point where he might have considered a lawsuit, but it was clearly going to be that kind of afternoon.
Come to think of it, that was roughly about it for the contest. Except for the bit at the end where the referee stopped the game in injury time and spent two minutes talking to the benches.
When the PA announced that racism wasn’t going to be tolerated, I think we could guess what happened.
Reportedly against Bugiel, but JJ himself didn’t seem to offer much more on what apparently went on.
Our current manager seemed happy with the defensive side of things, and to be fair Kofi and Lee Brown did a decent job.
Josh Kelly made his debut too, and showed some promise, although he faded before he went off.
KJG seemed to struggle a bit, ditto Curtis when he came on, but I think it was the kind of game even AAH would have drawn a blank in.
We definitely missed Reeves, and I would have been happier with Lewis alongside Kofi rather than Brown.
But I can’t really say I’m upset at getting a point in a game where last year we would have lost.
This is a time to take it, bank it and scarper back down south. There will be more fish to fry this season.
It was typical L2 fayre for the most part, and the photo above shows that Bradford Bulls trained on it during a flood.
It makes you realise just what a good job we do at PL with our turf, although maybe having sunlight on the pitch to begin with helps.
Other than that, I’m not sure what else to put in this section. So…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Clean sheet. Weathered early storm. Defence held up. Weakened team came through.
Minus points: We didn’t win. Not really likely to score.
The referee’s a…: Remember how last week against Mansfield, the Stags fans reckoned the official was celebrating with us at the end?
Obviously words were said at the creepy old mansion deep in the woods (aka PGMOL headquarters), because yesterday’s ref attempted a balance redress.
Not giving Bugiel that penalty stands out (though I’m not quite sure the club’s Twatter should have called for VAR so publicly), and he couldn’t even award the extra two minutes we lost in injury time.
The biggest cheer from our fans was when he awarded a free kick to us, and the game ended with “0-0 to the referee”, so you can guess what we thought.
He was even likened to Jeff Winter. And that alone should cause him to quit officiating this minute.
Them: Thought they were going to gub us in the first fifteen minutes, then reminded everyone why they’re nearer the bottom than the top.
I think they managed to have even less proper chances on goal than we did, although as implied above – they were more likely to get a penalty than we were.
Every time I go to Valley Parade I have the same thought. Which is, Bradford are a club that should be achieving more than they do.
And every time I think that, I bring up they’re a northern version of Plymouth. Although the Pilgrims have actually managed to get up into the Championship now.
I haven’t seen the shitty bits of Bradford itself, but I’ve been to worse places in England. It’s better than Luton is, but then so is the Gaza Strip.
Point to ponder: Does this game prove the difference a year has made?
By that, I mean the pre-game apprehension going into this very fixture at this very venue between yesterday and 2022/23.
When we went to Yorkshire in September 2022, I still remember the stomach-knotting apprehension beforehand, as though you didn’t want to go into the ground.
This time round, you were obviously a bit dubious about a makeshift defence, a new and untested strike force and missing other key players.
But there was none of the pant shitting before the game, no why-am-I-here moments of doubt.
Granted, it was a tough watch yesterday for the neutral, and it wasn’t much better if you supported either side.
But we’re a different animal these days, and a much better one at that.
Indeed, one has to wonder what yesterday would have been like if Kelly had played more games for us, if Curtis was fitter and indeed if Reeves and Lewis were available.
All that will come as the season gets to the business end of things, and we might have a decent second half of the season after all…
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Traffic lights on the floodlights. Why? 2) An “adult store” on the approach to Bradford that was literally next door to a car repair shop. Bet there’s some awkwardness during opening hours.
Anything else? Now the window has shut, no doubt thoughts are already turning to what happens this summer.
It’s going to be an interesting close season, even though there’s still plenty to play for this campaign.
We might even find ourselves in L1, although I expect we’ll have a mini-run at the playoffs but finally give up after Easter.
Assuming we’re in this division again in 24/25, what do we need to do?
We will almost certainly lose Jack Currie, and I’m not sure if we’ll be able to tie down Bugiel and Little unless we offer a good deal.
While he’s played well the last couple of games, I think we can do better than Lee Brown. Ditto Pearce, who’s starting to show his age.
We’ll probably need to replace Bass and Kofi too, unless they’ve already been earmarked to join us next year.
I do wonder if Balmer is a Lewis-type loanee, namely our first signing of the next transfer window already? It would make sense, if the finances are right.
JJ has a lot to think about. And that assumes he’s here next season as well.
His contract is up this close season I believe, and he can at least prove he can turn around a freefalling club if you give him proper backing.
Could he be blamed for looking elsewhere to manage? Not really, especially if AFCW decide to tie the collective hands again.
It’s why the next few months could be more important than you think, because the club has to offer a good incentive for JJ to stay.
Our current manager has seen his stock risen this season alone, and don’t forget he did OK at League One for the short time he was at the Valley.
Other clubs will have noted that.
The club needs on-field stability now, and keeping JJ with backing would go a fair way to doing that.
The transfer window may have shut last week, but perhaps the most important signings are yet to come…?
So, was it worth it? Maybe. Maybe not.
In a nutshell: It’s a point.