Bradford City 1 v 0 Notts County (Sky Bet League One)
Bradford City welcomed back Gary Thompson and former club captain Gary Jones to the Coral Windows Stadium, as part of the Notts County squad that was unbeaten away from home this season.
City started well and should have taken the lead after just five minutes when Andrew Halliday latched onto a James Hanson flick on before rounding Roy Carroll, but with an empty net Halliday shot high and wide.
On ten minutes Filipe Morais made an excellent run and cross into the Notts County area but the ball was cleared by Hayden Mullins, the clearance fell to Gary Liddle who cut the ball back to Billy Knott, but his curling effort for around seven yards went inches over Roy Carroll’s crossbar.
Andrew Davis then had to leave the pitch injured on fourteen minutes, with what looks to be a another calf injury, he was replaced at centre back by former Notts County defender Alan Sheehan. Two minutes later Jon Stead hit Roy Carroll’s post with a left footed shot from a Filipe Morais corner.
Notts County then went close on twenty-two minutes as Stephen McLaughlin lays the ball off to Jake Cassidy who fired in a low drive from the edge of the area, that rattled against Jordan Pickford’s far post.
City should have then extended their lead after James Meredith beat former City player Gary Thompson on the left wing before sending a cross into the penalty area. However Andrew Halliday could only fire his first-time shot over the crossbar from the middle of the goal seven yards out.
On thirty-three minutes, James Hanson gets to a Billy Knott cross in the area, but his connection isn’t quite clean enough and his header drops comfortably wide of Roy Carroll’s goal.
Roy Carroll then survived a handball appeal on forty minutes as he came out of his penalty area to beat James Meredith to an Alan Sheehan searching through ball.
Straight from the handball appeal the ball fell to Billy Knott who took the ball wide before playing an excellent one-two with Andrew Halliday who was stood on the left-wing, Halliday’s return pass left Knott free inside the area and he curled the ball past Carroll to give City a 1-0 half-time lead.
At the start of the second half, Billy Knott dispossessed Gary Jones in the middle of the park, before Knott raced for County’s penalty area and played a one-two with Jon Stead. Knott then released Andrew Halliday but as he ran at goal he was crowded out by Gary Thompson and Mustapha Dumbuya and the ball went out of touch for a County goal-kick.
On seventy-three minutes, StephenMcLaughlin drives dangerously into the area as County break forward with menace. The winger’s angled strike for goal is blocked by Stephen Darby before Rory McArdle head’s away the loose ball.
A minute later, Billy Knott played an excellent ball to James Hanson who from twelve yards shot at the County goal, however Roy Carroll made an excellent save tipping the ball around the far post.
A pass backwards from Elliott Whitehouse potentially has County in all sorts of trouble, when it is mis-controlled by Hayden Mullins, but Francois Zoko is beaten to the loose ball by Roy Carroll who came out of his area to clear their lines.
Three minutes into injury time, Francois Zoko comes within mere inches of sealing it for City! Latching onto Hanson’s flick on, Zoko knocks the ball past Carroll from just inside the box but the ball rolls agonisingly wide of the far post.
Speaking after the game manager Phil Parkinson said: “It was a big test for us today against a side that is unbeaten away from home so far this season.
They have a lot of nous in their team, a lot of experience and I can see why they have done so well so far this season. It was also a massive test of character for us having conceded so late in our previous home game against Scunthorpe United.
Physically we looked strong, but mentally we looked even stronger and that is really important. We would have loved to have got that second goal but there was no doubting that it was a deserved victory from us.
The crowd were fantastic again today playing their part by turning out in large numbers, they really got behind the team and urged them on. The lads were almost playing on adrenaline alone at the end and that was credit to the supporters.”
Bradford City – Pickford, Darby, Meredith, McArdle, Davies, Liddle, Knott, Morais, Halliday, Stead, Hanson (Subs) Williams, Sheehan, Kennedy, Zoko, Mottley-Henry, Routis, McBurnie
Notts County – Carroll, Dumbuya, Adams, Smith, Mullins, Hollis, G.Thompson, Cassidy, Jones, McLaughlin, Hall (Subs) Pilkington, Murray, C.Thompson, Whitehouse, Edwards, Bishop
Goals – (Bradford City) Knott (41)
Attendance – 14,518