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Archived News from November 2022

STAGS BEATEN AT HOME BY BRADFORD
14th November 2022 11:18


English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Bradford City
Swan 69. Smallwood 30, Cook 53. Platt sent off 65
Attendance: 7,650 (1416 from Bradford) (note this it is essentially tickets sold, including season tickets)

Date: 8 November 2022

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 at home by Bradford City last night. The Stags were terrible in the first half, failing to register a single shot at goal apart from a Hiram Boateng corner headed off the line after 45+3 minutes. Mansfield repeatedly misplaced passes and Bradford were deservedly in front at the break when Richard Smallwood smashed into the net from 16 yards. And after 53 minutes Bradford made it 2-0 as former Stags striker Andy Cook chased a long ball towards the corner flag, with James Perch, bullied his way past Perch, along the byline into the area, cut inside Riley Harbottle and fired into the net from 8 yards. A wonderful goal from Cook out of absolutely nothing, as we often saw him do for the Stags, but the defending from Perch was diabolical. Bradford were reduced to ten men after 64 minutes as Matty Platt deliberately pulled back George Lapslie by his shirt, and then kicked the ball away after the foul was given, and received a yellow card, his second of the game. The Stags pulled a goal back after 69 minutes as Elliott Hewitt rose superbly to head George Maris’ corner goalwards, the keeper saved and then fumbled on the line and Will Swan stabbed the loose ball into the net from right on the line. Excellent from Hewitt who I would send forward for more corners rather than always leaving him on the halfway line. And good poaching from Swan. The Stags had the momentum now and were playing much better but were unable to find an equaliser as Bradford dug in, defended superbly and slowed the game down and wasted time even more effectively. Indeed the Stags really only came close as sub Oli Hawkins volleyed over the bar after a shot from Lucas Akins was blocked. A hugely disappointing and damaging result against a Bradford side who started the game level on points with the Stags.

The Stags have now taken just 1 point from the last 4 league games in an alarming loss of form. However, they are still just one point outside the play-offs, and five points outside the top 3.

And what a change in the home form. The Stags have now won only once at home in the last 6 league games. Prior to that, if you include last season and the play-off semi-final, Mansfield had won 17 of the previous 19 home games.

The attendance of 7,650 was the biggest at home in league or cup for 18 years since October 2004 when the Stags beat Notts County 3-1.
However, remember that quoted attendances included all tickets sold. So season ticket holders who did not attend are still included, and in this case supporters who bought tickets for the original fixture that was postponed because of the death of the queen, including those who did not attend or get a refund, are also included.
See https://stagsnet.net/match/reports/viewreport.php?matchid=1169"> my report of the Tranmere game for more on attendances this season.

Before the game and ahead of remembrance Sunday, The Last Post was performed beautifully followed by minute’s silence to remember the fallen, and John Radford laid a wreath on the pitch.

Mansfield made 4 changes to the side that won at Barrow in the FA Cup. McLaughlin and Hawkins were injured. Quinn and Akins dropped to the bench. In came Harbottle, Boateng, Clarke and Swan.
On McLaughlin, Clough said after the game he’s “had a scan on his ankle, he’s going to be out a few weeks." Bad news, given there is no natural replacement for him in the squad.
Hawkins was on the bench, and came on after 88 minutes. Clough said he was “nowhere near fit enough to start. It was just in the case of an emergency. He got a whack in the liver or kidneys on Saturday and was ill over the weekend, his groin was very sore, so that was the most he could do tonight.”

Mansfield started with a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Clough said after the game: "With losing Hawks, we went to a back four. We would have stuck with our normal back three.”
Gordon was at right back, Hewitt at left back, with Harbottle (right) and Perch (left) in the centre of defence. A diamond in midfield, with Hartigan in front of the back 4, Clarke on the right, Boateng on the left, Maris in front of them. Then Lapslie just off Swan up front.

Bradford included Andy Cook up front on his own. Two other former Stags strikers, Vadaine Oliver and Lee Angol, were on the bench.

After 4 minutes, Bradford right back Brad Halliday tried a shot from an impossible angle on the right, and fired well wide.

A minute later Matty Platt was booked for a foul on Maris, 35 yards out. That was to become significant in the second half. Maris wasted the free kick.

A good run forward from Boateng after 17 minutes. He tried to set Swan away in the box but his pass was intercepted.

Tyreik Wright had got away from Gordon a couple of times on the left and on 25 minutes he tried to square the ball in to Andy Cook, but Harbottle did well to intercept.

After 26 minutes, Harry Chapman slid a great ball forward for Scott Banks who got into the area and got in a low shot from 10 yards which Pym saved with his left boot. The loose ball came out to Tyreik Wright whose low shot was saved by Pym again, this time with his right boot. A fine double save.

Lovely close control by Boateng after 29 minutes, and he found Gordon was who fouled. The free kick from 35 yards out came to nothing.

With the Stags looking toothless with no width at all, the Stags reverted to three at the back (Hewitt right, Perch centre, Harbottle left), with Gordon (right) and Boateng (left) as wing-backs.

Bradford took the lead after 30 minutes. Banks laid the ball off on the right to the overlapping right back Halliday. Boateng, now at left wing-back was unable to stop Halliday getting in a cross from the byline, which was blocked by Harbottle, straight out to Richard Smallwood who smashed into the net from 16 yards.

Swan made a good run after he was set away by Clarke after 38 minutes but it came to nothing.

Mansfield were making a succession of terrible passes. Harbottle played a terrible ball forward for the second time. He had given the ball away multiple times, but in fairness was defending well against Cook. Lapslie put the ball straight out of play, then Maris did the same.

The Stags had reverted to Hewitt on the left at the back, with Lapslie (right) and Maris (left) out wide.

And on 45 minutes, Hewitt gave the ball away with a loose square pass which was intercepted by Alex Gilliead, who played forward for Cook to run on to and Harbottle brought Cook down for a free kick 25 yards out, in a central position. Banks took the free kick, blocked by the wall, and then his follow up shot was also blocked by the wall.

On 45+1 minutes, Banks got down the right and slid a dangerous low ball into the middle, but Harbottle did well to clear, and moments later Pym was out well to claim a ball into the box.

The Stags had not created a single chance in 45 minutes. Swan did well to win a corner after 45+3 minutes. Boateng took it from the right and it was headed off the line at the far post.

The Stags were terrible in the first half, repeatedly misplacing passes and Bradford were deservedly in front. The Stags also desperately lacked width.
Clough said after the game: "I've never seen us give the ball away as much in the first half, and also kick it out of play needlessly. We never really got going on the ball. We played the formation that we’ve played here that’s been successful quite a bit with a diamond but that requires certain things; people running in behind and being good on the ball. I thought we were a bit rushed and were at 100mph and not composed enough. When you go 1-0 down especially at home you have to make an effort to be composed and all of a sudden we were kicking it out of play, wasting throw-ins, we can’t afford that."

Half time 0-1

In order to address the lack of width, the Stags made two changes at the start of the second half: Akins came on at right wing-back and Bowery at left wing-back, replacing Hartigan and Gordon.

Halliday curled a shot wide from 25 yards after 51 minutes.

After 53 minutes Bradford made it 2-0. Andy Cook chased a long ball towards the corner flag, with Perch, bullied his way past Perch, along the byline into the area, cut inside Harbottle and fired into the net from 8 yards. A wonderful goal from Cook out of absolutely nothing, as we often saw him do for the Stags, but the defending from Perch was diabolical. No-one would be surprised at Cook scoring against a former club, as he did for the Stags at Walsall for example and then celebrated by indicating that the Walsall fans thought he was fat, and he did for Bradford here with the late winner last season.

Harbottle limped off after 59 minutes. He had defended well though his distribution had been awful.
Clough said after the game that Harbottle “strained his thigh muscle. We’ll get a scan and see what it looks like but I think it’ll be a few weeks.”
More bad news and it leaves the Stags short on fit defenders.

Quinn replaced Harbottle. Clarke dropped back into the back three, on the right of the three. He had done well there against Newport.

After 62 minutes, Bradford sub Abo Eisa fired in a 25 yard shot. Pym saved, it bounced off his chest and Clarke cleared before Cook could pounce.

A good break from the Stags a minute later as Bowery got into the area on the left, but he played a terrible pass and the ball was cleared.

Bradford were reduced to ten men after 64 minutes as Matty Platt deliberately pulled back Lapslie by his shirt, and then kicked the ball away after the foul was given, and received a yellow card, his second of the game.

The Stags pulled a goal back after 69 minutes. Maris played the ball forward from the edge of the edge to Akins, back to goal, 12 yards out. Akins turned and his left footed shot was deflected by Romoney Crichlow, it was heading for the left corner of the net but keeper Harry Lewis made a brilliant save to turn it round the post. So close. And from the resulting corner, the Stags did score as Hewitt rose superbly to head Maris’ corner goalwards, the keeper saved and then fumbled on the line and Swan stabbed the loose ball into the net from right on the line. Excellent from Hewitt who I would send forward for more corners rather than always leaving him on the halfway line. And good poaching from Swan.
Swan’s 6th goal of the season, taking him level with Lapslie as leading scorer. And Hewitt’s 3rd assist of the season (see details below).

The Stags had the momentum now and were playing much better but were unable to find an equaliser as Bradford dug in, defended superbly and slowed the game down and wasted time even more effectively.

After 77 minutes, Quinn was booked when he was surrounded by 3 Bradford players and fouled his man after Pym gave the ball to him. Crazy play to put him under that pressure.

Scott Banks was booked after 81 minutes for blatantly wasting time, just minutes after he went down with what was clearly a fake injury to allow Bradford to slow the game down even further.

A good cross in from Quinn after 84 minutes but it was headed behind for a corner. At least Quinn was providing some much-needed width.

Pym did well to save at Cook’s feet as the Stags poured players forward and Bradford broke after 86 minutes.

Hawkins replaced Perch after 88 minutes (see earlier comments about Hawkins injury).

Ten minutes of stoppage time was added. Credit to the referee for noting the blatant time-wasting.

Lapslie was booked after 90+2 minutes for shirt pulling.

The Stags really only came close to equalising once as sub Hawkins volleyed over the bar after a shot from Akins was blocked, after 90+5 minutes. That came after Clarke was brought down 23 yards from goal, just to the right of centre. Maris took the free kick and it was cleared but eventually crossed back into the area by Quinn. It might have been worth somebody such as Boateng have a shot direct from the free kick.

Swan finished the game holding his right hand in pain, and was later spotted in A&E in a photo on social media. The injury happened in the 5th minute of stoppage time when he seemed to land on his hand in the penalty area. We have no further news on the injury yet.

A hugely disappointing and damaging result against a Bradford side who started the game level on points with the Stags. In truth, the Stags simply weren’t good enough.

The next game is away to Rochdale on Saturday. Rochdale are in 19th place with Tyrese Sinclair in midfield, and they picked up a good win at home to Salford on Tuesday.

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TUE 08 NOV 2022, LEAGUE TWO
Swan (69'minutes)
Smallwood (30'minutes), Cook (53'minutes), Platt (Dismissed at65'minutes)
Assists
Platt (53'minutes)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/62776332
Match report supplied by PA Media.

Mansfield fell to a second straight home defeat as fellow promotion hopefuls Bradford took all three points from a pulsating encounter.

After a slow start, City forced a double save from Stags keeper Christy Pym who blocked efforts from Scott Banks and Tyreik Wright.

Two minutes later the Bantams led when Brad Halliday's low cross was cleared only as far as skipper Richie Smallwood who smashed the ball home first time from 14 yards out.

Alex Gilliead nearly doubled the lead late in the half but Pym was able to gather easily.

Halliday curled just wide for the Bantams early in the second half, before a fine solo goal by Andy Cook against his former club doubled their lead, cutting inside and beating James Perch before drilling low into the corner of the net.

The away side then had Matty Platt sent off for a second bookable offence, Mansfield quickly reducing the arrears when Will Swan netted from close range after Elliott Hewitt's header from a corner was parried.

And despite lots of late pressure from the hosts, Mark Hughes' men held on to claim a hard-earned win.


Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Bradford
Possession Home 63% Away 37%
Shots Home 6 Away 10
Shots on Target Home 3 Away 5
Corners Home 9 Away 1
Fouls Home 11 Away 9

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REPORT: Mansfield Town 1-2 Bradford City - Stags fall to defeat against ten-man Bantams
chad.co.uk, By Mark Duffy

Mansfield Town fell to a second straight home defeat on Tuesday night as fellow promotion hopefuls Bradford City took all three points from a pulsating encounter.

A very poor first-half display ultimately cost Nigel Clough’s side, Bradford leading at half-time and notching a second early in the second period, Stags only really coming to life when the Bantams were reduced to ten men with half-an-hour to go.

And while there was plenty of effort to try and salvage a point, Stags had ultimately left themselves too much to do and would end up empty-handed.

City had the first opening of note four minutes in when a good passing move ended with Brad Halliday receiving the ball in space on the right-hand edge of the penalty area, but he opted to go for goal rather than square for incoming team-mates and the effort was well wide of Christy Pym’s left-hand post.

Stags struggled to get a foothold initially, a more positive passage 15 minutes in ending with Ollie Clarke running into space out right but finding keeper Harry Lewis with his low ball into the box.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/report-mansfield-town-1-2-bradford-city-stags-fall-to-defeat-against-ten-man-bantams-3910987

As a spectacle, the first quarter wasn’t much of one, neither goalkeeper seriously troubled and the game largely played out in midfield with neither side keeping much possession.

That soon changed on 27 minutes as good movement in the final third resulted in City’s Scott Banks breaking into the penalty area and when his shot was blocked by Pym, so was that of Tyreik Wright with the keeper’s legs and Stags cleared.

Two minutes later the visitors led. They spread the play well to the right-hand side to Banks who in turn fed the overlapping Halliday. He played a ball into the penalty area that was only half cleared and skipper Richie Smallwood arrived unchallenged to smash home first time from some 14 yards out.

Stags were offering precious little, mis-placed passes and easy loss off possession riling the home support who held their breath again in first-half stoppage time when the defence were opened up and Alex Gilliead couldn’t control his finish and the hosts cleared.

Hiram Boateng’s corner had to be headed out from under the bar by Smallwood as the half came to a close, a chorus of boos from the home faithful greeting the whistle.

A double change at half-time saw Stags introduce Lucas Akins and Jordan Bowery to try and add some much-needed attacking zip to proceedings and facilitate a switch to a back three with the new arrivals creating some width on either flank.

But City were first to show again, Halliday with a delightful curler from 25 yards that just passed the left-hand post with Pym helpless.

Then, on 53 minutes, Stags old boy Cook duly returned to haunt his former club in style. He received the ball out on the right, cut inside and turned James Perch inside out in the process before creating space and drilling the ball low into the corner of the net.

City lost the dangerous Wright to injury just after the goal, the same fate befalling Stags defender Riley Harbottle a few minutes later with Stephen Quinn replacing him and Clarke dropping back into defence.

Sub Abo Eisa’s strike from distance was fumbled by Pym but the hosts cleared the danger, a good counter from Stags then ending with Bowery fluffing his lines when in space and with options when freed on the left.

Stags were then handed a lifeline on 65 minutes, as City defender Matty Platt was sent off for a second bookable offence after fouling George Lapslie, an earlier foul just five minutes in having also seen him carded.

Mansfield duly responded, Akins’ turn and shot being superbly tipped wide by Lewis following a big deflection.

From the resultant corner, a goal back. Elliott Hewitt’s towering header was parried low down by Lewis but Will Swan followed up to slide in and net from close range on 70 minutes.

The visitors were then camped in their own half for much of the rest of the game, though remained a threat on the break with Cook denied by Pym with five minutes left who dived at his feet to gather the ball.

Ten minutes were then added on at the end, numerous injuries and stoppages having totted up, particularly affecting Bradford.

But despite plenty of late pressure, Stags couldn’t find their way through a resolute defence and the visitors held on to take all three points.

Mansfield: Pym, Gordon (Bowery 46), Hewitt, Hartigan (Akins 46), Harbottle (Quinn 59), Clarke, Maris, Perch (Hawkins 87), Swan, Lapslie, Boateng

Subs not used: Flinders, O’Toole, Wallace

Bradford: Lewis, Halliday, Platt, Smallwood, Cook (Oliver 87), Gilliead, Banks (Pereira 87), Foulds, Chapman (Songo’o 67), Critchlow, Wright (Eisa 55)

Subs not used: Doyle, Angol, East

Ref: Simon Mather

Att: 7,650

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Ten-man Bradford City dig out magnificent win at Mansfield
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Nathan Atkinson
https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/sport/sportlatest/23111208.ten-man-bradford-city-dig-magnificent-win-mansfield/

BRADFORD City remain in the League Two play-off places, after a superb 2-1 win with 10 men at promotion rivals Mansfield Town.

City skipper Richie Smallwood slammed home a loose ball to put the visitors in front after 30 minutes, as his side dominated the latter stages of the first half.

And when Andy Cook scored a brilliant individual goal just after the break, the Bantams looked set for a comfortable three points.

But Matty Platt was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second half, and Mansfield almost instantly halved the deficit through Will Swan.

Despite the 11-man hosts coming on strong, some brave defending and some clever time-wasting saw City cling on for a brilliant win.

Platt knew he’d be spending over 80 minutes on a tightrope, as he picked up a very early yellow card for flattening George Maris as Mansfield broke forward.

Then, after a lull, the Bantams started to get some chances.

Mansfield wasted a three-on-two, and suddenly City were in, Harry Chapman slipping a glorious ball in behind for Tyreik Wright.

The winger tried to slide it across for a tap in but Riley Harbottle made a brilliant block, and when the ball almost broke back to Wright in the box, he inadvertently kicked his man in the head to concede a free-kick.

A double save from Christy Pym soon after kept the hosts level. Chapman slid in Scott Banks one-one-one but his finish was weak and the keeper saved it with his legs.

The ball broke to Wright on a bit of a tight angle, but the Mansfield stopper was there to deny him too.

Mansfield could not hold out in the face of the unforeseen onslaught, and Smallwood slammed City in front after half-an-hour.

A great move from left to right saw the ball worked across from Wright to Chapman to Banks, with the latter finding Brad Halliday on the overlap.

His low cross was blocked, but it broke perfectly for Smallwood, who fired the loose ball beyond Pym to put City in front.

There was a great chance as Banks was slipped in behind, but his low ball was scrambled half away, before Alex Gilliead almost diverted the loose ball home, only for it to be hacked away off the line.

Mansfield almost grabbed a fluke equaliser seconds before the break when Hiram Boateng’s corner swirled over Harry Lewis, who was caught in no man’s land.

He was saved by captain Smallwood, who heroically headed the ball off the line.

Lucas Akins and Jordan Bowery came on for Kellan Gordon and Anthony Hartigan at the break as Mansfield changed to a more attacking formation, but it was City who had the first chance of the second half.

Halliday picked the ball up after moving infield and tried to bend one in from 25 yards out. Pym was scrambling across his goal, but fortunately for him, it went just wide.

Platt then hacked a clearance down the line and Cook bullied centre-half James Perch off the ball.

He still had plenty to do, but he ran along the byline, cut inside and then thrashed the ball low beyond Pym for a magnificent individual goal.

Siubstitute Abo Eisa’s speculative long-range effort soon after skidded across the wet surface, Pym spilled the ball, but there was no-one in City black and white on hand to turn it home.

Platt was walking that tightrope still though and that proved costly, as he was dismissed midway through the second half.

His first yellow was fully deserved but this felt harsh, as a soft pull back on Lapslie on the halfway line, followed by him kicking the ball away in frustration, saw him dismissed.

Unsurprisingly, moments later, Mark Hughes looked to shore up City’s lead by bringing off Chapman for Yann Songo’o.

But the Bantams were almost immediately on the back foot, and Maris slid the ball into substitute Akins, whose deflected effort was somehow tipped behind at full stretch by Lewis.

Maris’ subsequent corner in was headed at goal by Elliott Hewitt and Lewis did brilliantly to stop the initial shot with his legs, but Swan scrambled in the rebound to halve the deficit.

Romoney Crichlow had to clear the ball behind seconds later, as Mansfield attacked furiously, but Songo’o’s calming presence at the back saw that threat fade.

Quinn was then yellow carded for a poor foul on Halliday before Banks joined him in the book for kicking the ball away.

Lapslie had the best late chance for the Stags, and looked set to head home an equaliser, but the ball was cleared over the bar by a scrambling City defence.

On-loan winger Banks then put Cook through on goal, but the striker’s touch was heavy and Pym slid at his feet to collect.

Remarkably, 10 minutes were added on, as City's timewasting with 10 men threatened to haunt them, but the only real incident of note in that lengthy period of stoppage time was a yellow card for Lapslie for hauling down Eisa as the Bantams winger was breaking away.

Mansfield could only huff and puff in those closing moments, and they failed to blow the City house down, as the visitors claimed a superb win.

MANSFIELD: Pym 7, Gordon 4 (Bowery 46min, 5), Perch 5 (Hawkins 88min), Harbottle 8 (Quinn 58min, 5), Hewitt 6, Hartigan 5 (Akins 46min, 7), Maris 7, Clarke 6, Boateng 6, Lapslie 7, Swan 7. Subs (not used): O’Toole, Wallace, Flinders.

CITY: Lewis 7, Halliday 8, Platt 6, Crichlow 7, Foulds 7, Gilliead 6, Smallwood 7, Banks 7 (Pereira 88min), Chapman 7 (Songo’o 68min, 7), Wright 7 (Eisa 54min, 7), Cook 8 (Angol 88min). Subs (not used): Oliver, East, Doyle.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Brad Halliday.

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Bradford City play it smart as full-backs and midfield trio star
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Nathan Atkinson

https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/sport/sportlatest/23112373.bradford-city-play-smart-full-backs-midfield-trio-star/

BRADFORD City were superb either side of half-time at Mansfield Town last night, and heroic at times in the final half-hour with 10 men.

And after securing a 2-1 win, we thought we'd pick out five things we learned from the 100 minutes(!!) of action.

1) IN DEFENCE OF THE DARK ARTS

I'm not sure City fans have forgiven Doncaster for their display on the opening day at Valley Parade, after an outrageous display of timewasting followed a ridiculous Lee Tomlin red card.

And it is not the only time at home this season that teams have attempted to thwart City with somewhat unsavoury tactics, sometimes succesfully.

But the shoe was on the other foot last night, as the Bantams resorted to whatever they needed to do once Matty Platt was sent off and Will Swan halved the deficit.

As well as thumping the ball anywhere away from their goal on a regular basis, it seemed like nearly every Bantams player went down 'injured' at some point or other in the last 30 minutes.

The highlight came off the field though, when Matty Foulds' injury-time hoof landed in among the City fans, who proceeded to hold on to the ball for as long as they could.

Mansfield's fans, and the home commentator next to me, were irate, but City did what they needed to do.

It might not be pretty, but it was certainly effective, and ultimately City's timewasting tactics proved vital in securing the three points.

2) FABULOUS FULL-BACKS

Many felt Luke Hendrie and Liam Ridehalgh would be City's starting full-backs this season.

But last night, Brad Halliday and Matty Foulds proved once again why they are worthy of a spot in the first XI.

Halliday had arguably his best game in Bantams colours, with his overlapping runs causing Mansfield no end of trouble, and leading directly to Richie Smallwood's opener.

Foulds was an attacking threat once again and his delivery from the left is becoming a real weapon for City.

Both did their jobs defensively too, part of a hugely impressive rearguard as City held on for the three points after 35 minutes with 10 men.

3) CITY'S BEST MIDFIELD TRIO

There have been cries for City to play two up top at times this season, but Mark Hughes has stuck steadfastly to his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

And last night showed why he loves it so much.

Going with arguably his best current trio, given Dion Pereira's indifferent form since returning to Valley Parade, Tyreik Wright, Harry Chapman and Scott Banks all stood out.

All three were involved in the lovely first goal, and it was they who were fashioning all of City's best chances in the first half, not lone striker Andy Cook.

They were instrumental as the Bantams clicked into gear 25 minutes into the match.

If Wright, Chapman, Banks start most games between now and May, City will surely be a serious play-off/promotion contender.

4) SONGO'O A BRILLIANT BACK-UP

Yann Songo'o was outstanding at the back when I covered City's 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers last season, comfortably the best visiting player on the day.

He was superb under Hughes at centre-half last term, and can perhaps consider himself unlucky to be one of the back-up brigade this season.

But what a back-up to have, and he was superb last night.

Coming on almost immediately after Matty Platt's red card for Harry Chapman, Songo'o immediately got into the swing of things.

Along with Romoney Crichlow, he was immense at the back in the closing stages, always finding himself in the right place at the right time to make a tackle, block or headed clearance.

With Platt now banned for Saturday's game at Sutton, Mark Hughes should not have too much to worry about if he slots Songo'o into the team in Platt's place.

5) FANS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

It's an old cliche about a team's fans being their 12th man, but last night epitomised that.

Nearly 1,500 City supporters made the trip to Field Mill, and were in high spirits throughout, especially after Richie Smallwood put them in front.

The wild celebrations between the fans and players following Andy Cook's superb goal, which made the score 2-0, showed the bond between everyone at the club at present.

And Mark Hughes was quick to praise the supporters for their efforts in those nerve-wracking last 35 minutes, when the Bantams were flagging and trying to defend a lead with 10 men.

The players seemed to get that extra energy from the backing the fans gave them in those closing stages, and of course, there was the aforementioned dark arts after Matty Foulds' hoof behind ended up in the stand in which they were housed.

At full-time, the City side headed straight over to the Bantams army behind Christy Pym's goal, knowing the part they had played.

Sometimes, a team victory isn't just about those on the pitch.

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