Carlisle United have been left with some deep wounds to lick following an opening week of the season in which they conceded nine goals in two league games, with just a penalty to show by way of reply.
Midweek Capital One Cup heroics can’t mask a desperate and worrying start to the season as the defensive weaknesses so cruelly exposed on so many occasions last season were underlined and highlighted yet again in front of a big crowd at Bradford on Saturday.
“We looked weak and fragile right across the pitch, ” manager Greg Abbott admitted.
“Bradford have some good, strong and hardened League One players and we are having to match that with very young players still learning their trade.
“This division is brutal and we know where we fall short. I need my battlers back from injury because the squad is really thin without them. We saw that over and over today because this industry is all about competing. We just weren’t able to do that on a level playing field at all.
“They have players who have been assembled on the budget they have, and we are coming at it from a much lower level.
“We have to find a way to bridge that gap as we’re going to come up against it week after week.” The points were done and dusted in this one within 30 minutes of kick-off as Mark Yeates set the Bantams on their way with a wonderful long-range strike.
Former Carlisle United misfit Nahki Wells doubled the lead and the goal spree continued when James Hanson capitalised on another defensive slip to find the bottom corner.
“We’re all really disappointed,” said David Amoo. “We know we’re better than that, we showed it against Blackburn on Wednesday, but we’ve let them get a cushion and made it really hard for ourselves.”
The Cumbrians failed to register a meaningful shot on target in response to the attacking waves thrown at them by a buoyant Bradford outfit.
Their misery was compounded when Wells broke the offside trap midway through the second half.
He was spoiled for choice as he bore down on goal, and Gary Jones was left to celebrate as a delicate pass made finding the net a relatively simple task.
“This has been a tough day but I can tell already that this is a good group of lads, ” said defender Paul Black, signed on-loan from Mansfield on Friday. “We’re all hurting but there’s a determination in there to put it right.”
Abbott added: “This will be my toughest season in management by a long way because of the resources I have at my disposal. We can’t allow ourselves to become a soft touch. The only way to do that is to work hard.”
BRADFORD: McLaughlin, Darby, Davies, McArdle, Meredith, Thompson (De Vita 65), Doyle, Jones, Yeates (Reid 70), Hanson, Wells (Connell 83). Subs (not used): Ravenhill, Ripley, Taylor, McHugh.
Goals: Yeates 20, Wells 25, Hanson 29, Jones 67.
CARLISLE: Gillespie, Potts, Thirlwell, Livesey, Brough (Black 70), Amoo, Noble (Lynch 60), Berrett, Gillies (Feely 36), Beck, Guy. Subs (not used): Edwards, Symington, Fleming, Salmon.
Attendance: 13, 641
Referee: Oliver Langford (W Midlands).