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Archived News from March 2024

MAGNIFICENT MANSFIELD BATTER BRADFORD
21st March 2024 14:12


English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Bradford City 1 - 5 Mansfield Town
Cook 72. Cargill 10, Akins 14, Keillor-Dunn 18, Swan 45+2, Lewis 86
Attendance: 16,496 (2,495 from Mansfield)

Date: 16 March 2024

Martin Shaw at the University of Bradford Stadium, Valley Parade

Mansfield Town won 5-1 at Bradford City yesterday to go 5 points clear at the top of League Two with 8 games to play. Mansfield were magnificent, were three up inside 18 minutes, ended up scoring 5, and it really could have been 9 as against Harrogate a month ago.

Bradford were simply battered. Bradford boss Graham Alexander said after the game: “Today, we played the best team in the league, and they showed it. It is important to understand the opponent we had up against us today, they are a blueprint for us to look at going forward. They are top of the league, they are the top scorers, the best defence, and they showed that today.”

Mansfield have now won 7 of the last 10 games, and are top of the form table as well the league table.

I have said for a while that 84 points might be needed for automatic promotion. With Mansfield currently on 72 points, that’s 4 more wins from the final 8 games.

Mansfield were backed by a huge following of 2,495.

The Bradford pitch looked dreadful, but a dry 48 hours building up to the game meant that the game did go ahead. As it happened, the pitch played extremely well and was no hindrance to playing good football.

As expected, Nigel Clough continued to freshen the side up at the end of the 5 games in two week period.
In came Bowery for Williams, Boateng for Lewis, Quinn for Maris, Keillor-Dunn for Nichols.
Still no Clarke in the 18, out with the whack on the knee he picked up against Swindon.
Clough said after the game: "We're hoping Ollie Clarke has a chance for next week."
Williams was named on the subs bench but was replaced by Macdonald in the warm-up.
Clough explained after the game: "George Williams felt his Achilles at Tranmere. Didn't really train yesterday, just did the warm-up. He said 'I'll come (to Bradford) and give it a go'. That's why we brought Calum Macdonald. But he felt it in the warm-up again so we'll see how he is for next week."
Calum Macdonald was therefore in the 18, returning from injury.

Bradford had lost their last game, against Forest Green. But prior to that were in great form, unbeaten for 6 games including 4 wins, over Wrexham and MK Dons, plus Sutton and Accrington.

Boss Graham Alexander made two changes to his side, leaving out Andy Cook and Brad Halliday. Cook has a great record of scoring against his former clubs, so that was a decision that pleased Mansfield greatly. He was to come on and score Bradford’s consolation. Halliday has, according to the local paper reporter, been Bradford’s best player this season.

A toy car brought the match ball to the centre circle as the teams were about to kick off, something I haven’t seen in League Two before.

The game was off to a fast start as Swan did really well down the left in the opening 20 seconds and his ball across the edge of the six yard box just evaded Boateng. At the other end, Lewis Richards crossed from the left and Tyler Smith couldn’t turn it in inside the six yard box as the ball went just wide. After 5 minutes, a good cross from the left from Quinn, which seemed to be heading towards Boateng but was headed clear.

A nasty foul by Jamie Walker on Reed resulted in a yellow card for Walker.

And from the resulting free kick, Mansfield took the lead after 10 minutes. Quinn’s free kick from 28 yards out was curled into the box. It went just over Flint, and Cargill met it sweetly beyond the far post planting a thumping header past the keeper. Cargill’s 5th goal of the season. A good return. Quinn’s 10th assist of the season.

A good header away by Brunt from a cross after 12 minutes.

After 14 minutes, it was 2-0. A good break down the right by Swan to win a corner. The corner was blocked for another corner. Quinn’s corner eventually came back to him on the right. He smashed a shot goalwards which was blocked. It came back to him again, he smashed a shot against the inside of the right post. It rebounded to Cargill, unmarked, who sidefooted goalwards and the keeper brilliantly saved one handed low on his line. It came out to Akins, who took a touch and scooped the ball into the left corner of the net. Bedlam amongst the Stags fans behind the goal and down the side. Hard luck on the keeper who made a brilliant save from Cargill. Akins’ 14th goal of the season. This equals his best goalscoring season, 14 for Burton in 2018/19.

Bradford had a glorious chance to pull one back after 17 minutes. Tyriek Wright put in a low cross from the left and Walker put a sitter wide. Remember Walker had replaced Cook, who doesn’t normally pass up chances like that.

It was 3-0 after 18 minutes. Swan got the ball on the right touchline from Pym’s long ball forward, he knocked it forward to Akins. Akins then backheeled to Swan again, cutting inside from the right. Swan got to the edge of the area and laid off to his left to Keillor-Dunn who took a touch to steady himself before firing left footed into the right corner of the net from 14 yards. Great football and a great goal. Another brilliant moment right in front of the Stags fans. Keillor-Dunn’s 19th goal of the season. His previous best goalscoring season was 17 for Oldham in 2021/22. Swan’s 7th assist of the season.

3-0 up and the atmosphere among the home fans was now toxic, turning their anger on the club owner who was sitting just behind us in the press box. Recent wins over Wrexham and MK Dons very quickly forgotten.

Keillor-Dunn was booked for stopping a free kick being taken quickly after 20 minutes.

The Stags kept their foot on the gas.

After 24 minutes, great play by Swan, past his man, inside to Quinn who lifted his shot just over the bar.

A great tackle by Cargill after 29 minutes.

Then on 30 minutes Swan forced his way into the area but Ciaran Kelly put in a brilliant tackle just as he was about to shoot.

After 34 minutes, Reed’s shot from 25 yards looked on target and was blocked, Boateng recycled the ball to Akins who turned and his shot from 12 yards was blocked.

At the other end after 37 minutes, Richards curled a poor shot wide from 18 yards.

On 40 minutes, great play from Keillor-Dunn on the right, he put in a good cross and Swan knocked it wide at the near post.

A foul by Keillor-Dunn after 44 minutes. Having already been booked, easy to predict that he would be subbed at the break.

It was 4-0 after 45+2 minutes. Quinn intercepted a low clearance 10 yards inside the Bradford half. Quinn lifted the ball forward for Keillor-Dunn, 35 yards from goal. Keillor-Dunn took a few touches forward before laying off a clever ball to Swan on his left. Swan cut inside and fired in a low shot from 9 yards that took a little deflection off Tomkinson taking it past the keeper. Swan’s goal because it was on target but a little bit of luck with the deflection. Swan deserved that though because he had been quite outstanding in the first half. Swan’s 8th goal in his last 10 games, in a great return to form, and his 10th goal of the season. Keillor-Dunn’s 13th assist of the season.

What a first half from Mansfield. Bradford absolutely blown away. A stunning performance attacking the end where 2,500 Stags fans were in joyous mood.

Half time 0-4

Two changes at the start of the second half, McLaughlin for Cargill, and Maris for Keillor-Dunn (who had been booked and committed a subsequent foul).

A quiet period at the start of the second half. No Stags chances until the 58th minute!

After 58 minutes, Boateng’s goalbound shot from the edge of the area was blocked by Kelly.

The Stags hit the post after 59 minutes. Akins turned to set Swan away down the left with a great pass. Swan got into the area on the left, and teed up Akins for a shot from 15 yards which Akins smacked against the left post. The ball rebounded to Swan, whose shot was blocked by Tomkinson. So unlucky for Akins. Great play by Swan.

It was so nearly a goal after 61 minutes as well. Boateng slid a fabulous ball forward to Swan on the edge of the area. Swan took a touch and curled a low shot with the outside of his right boot, but the keeper somehow saved it with his right boot just as it looked as though he was beaten. An incredible save. From the resulting corner, Flint headed over the bar.

Andy Cook replaced Walker after 62 minutes.

After 63 minutes, Bowery crossed, Maris headed goalwards and Swan nearly turned it in.

Lewis replaced Quinn after 65 minutes. Quinn had been outstanding.

Chapman shot straight at Pym from 25 yards for Bradford after 67 minutes.

The Stags nearly scored again after 68 minutes. A great move, Boateng to Lewis, to Swan just inside the area, and Swan’s shot from 8 yards was superbly turned over the bar by the keeper at close range. From the resulting corner, Flint curled a shot wide.

After 71 minutes, Bowery got to the byline and pulled back to Boateng whose shot was deflected over the bar. From the resulting corner from Lewis, Flint headed straight at the keeper.

Chance after chance but the ball wouldn’t go in now.

Bradford scored a consolation goal after 72 minutes and of course it was Cook who scored it, it had to be. Harry Chapman crossed from the right with McLaughlin not able to stop the cross, it went over Brunt who might have done better, and Cook turned it in from close range.

Nichols replaced Swan after 77 minutes. Swan had been outstanding.

Gale replaced Akins after 82 minutes. Akins had been brilliant. So nice to see Gale back on the pitch after his injury.

The Stags finally made it 5 after 86 minutes. Reed crossed high from the right, it reached Lewis who sent a thunderous left footed shot straight at the keeper from an angle on the left from 14 yards. The ball rebounded and Lewis was quickest to react, turning the rebound into the net from 7 yards. Just Lewis’s 2nd goal of the season. His first of course was the goal of the season, at Accrington.

After 88 minutes, a shot from Tyler Smith on the turn was blocked for a corner.

Maris fired wide from 20 yards after he had been gifted the ball after 89 minutes.

The keeper Sam Walker who had made brilliant save after brilliant save, made another after 90+2 minutes. Lewis curled in a great cross from the left, Flint flung himself at it and the keeper made an incredible save from his downward header from 4 yards. Flint just can’t get that elusive first headed goal of the season (he has 2 with his feet).

Reed was booked for a foul after 90+2 minutes. It was his 10th booking of the season, but the 37th game cut-off has passed, so he is not in danger of a suspension for accumulation of yellow cards, unless he picks up five more in the next 7 games.

After 90+3 minutes, Maris slid a great ball forward for Gale just outside the area. Gale did well to create a yard of space for a shot and shot inches wide of the left post from 18 yards. That was really close. A great effort.

Soon the Stags players and management were celebrating with the 2,500 Stags fans. What scenes. This was a sensational performance. The Stags scored 5, but could so easily have scored 9 to equal the Harrogate game. The keeper Sam Walker made a host of magnificent saves, and there were plenty of other near misses including that Akins shot against the post.

The Stags were stunningly good going forward. Swan was my man of the match, he was unplayable. Akins and Keillor-Dunn were also magnificent. Quinn, Boateng and Reed in midfield were fantastic, creating so many chances. The defence were also good, apart from that one blip, Bradford’s consolation goal.

Incidentally, the Stags have never won by 5 goals away from home in the Football League (we have in non-league). This should have been the club record, yet another set under Nigel Clough, but the Stags just missed out. We have won by 4 goals many times.

Mansfield do continue their record of scoring in every away game this season.

The Stags have scored more away goals than any other club in the top four tiers this season (42, followed by Leicester 39, Barnsley 35, Arsenal & Derby 34). Stat from playmakerstats

The next game is at home to Colchester next Saturday (12.30 kick off). Get your tickets while you can, they are available in the North Stand if you wish to sit there. The game is live on Sky TV. It will still be available to watch live on iFollow overseas, but not on iFollow in the UK.

Man of the match: Swan

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SAT 16 MAR 2024, LEAGUE TWO
Bradford City 1-5 Mansfield Town
Cook (72'minutes)
Cargill (10'minutes), Akins (14'minutes), Keillor-Dunn (18'minutes), Swan (45'+2minutes), Lewis (86'minutes)
Assists
Chapman (72'minutes)
Quinn (10'minutes), Swan (18'minutes), Keillor-Dunn (45'+2minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media.

League Two leaders Mansfield crushed Bradford 5-1 at Valley Parade.

The Stags scored four goals before half-time to bounce back in style from a midweek loss to Tranmere.

The visitors struck after 10 minutes as Baily Cargill headed home Stephen Quinn's free-kick.

They added a second four minutes later. Quinn hit the post, Cargill's follow-up was blocked on the line by goalkeeper Sam Walker and Lucas Akins tucked away the rebound.

Jamie Walker should have pulled one straight back but missed from six yards.

Mansfield then grabbed a third goal in the 18th minute as Will Swan squared for Davis Keillor-Dunn to net in front of the jubilant away end.

Keillor-Dunn then set up Swan for a deflected fourth goal in stoppage time at the end of the half.

Akins rattled the post and Swan was denied by a good save as Mansfield hunted further goals.

Bradford striker Andy Cook, a former Stag, pulled one back before Mansfield substitute Aaron Lewis scored at the second attempt to make it five.


Match Stats
Home Team Bradford Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 57% Away 43%
Shots Home 6 Away 27
Shots on Target Home 1 Away 11
Corners Home 5 Away 5
Fouls Home 10 Away 11

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Magnificent Mansfield Town batter Bradford City away from home to extend lead at the top of the table
chad.co.uk, Sat 16 Mar 2024

League Two leaders Mansfield Town cruised to a sensational 5-1 away victory as Bradford City were put to the sword on their own patch this afternoon.

The Stags moved further clear at the summit thanks largely to a devastating opening 45 minutes from Nigel Clough’s men.

At a noisy University of Bradford Stadium, wuth Stags backed by an army of 2,495 away fans, it was the Stags who got off to a dream start by notching three times inside the opening 18 minutes.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/magnificent-mansfield-town-batter-bradford-city-away-from-home-to-extend-lead-at-the-top-of-the-table-4558051

Baily Cargill was on the mark first, placing a superb header in at the far post after he rose to meet a perfectly-flighted cross from Stephen Quinn.

The home were then further stunned just four minutes later when the rampant Stags struck again.

This time Lucas Akins was on the mark, smashing home on the rebound after Quinn rattled the post and then defender Cargill had seen an effort frantically hacked off the line.

The Stags were totally rampant, and unbelievably they went three ahead, after only 18 minutes.

The visiting fans rejoiced wildly again as Davis Keillor-Dunn tucked home another goal after he’d latched on to Will Swan’s ball into the Bradford box.

With barely half-an-hour gone it was already looking like ‘game over’ for Bradford, and that was pretty much confirmed when Swan drilled home a fourth via a deflection from 10 yards from Keillor-Dunn's pass in first-half added time.

There was little respite for Bradford aftre the break and the woodwork came to Bradford’s rescue bang on the hour mark.

Swan found strike partner Akins in the Bantams’ box, but his shot thundered against a post.

A minute later Swan was denied by a breathtaking save from Sam Walker, before Swan was again thwarted by the Bantams’ keeper minutes later.

Former Stags striker Andy Cook joined the fray from the bench and swept home a close range consolation for Bradford on 72 minutes from Chapman's right wing cross.

But Stags were not done and sub Aaron Lewis grabbed his team’s fifth late on when he netted a rebound following Walker’s initial save from his first shot after Louis Reed had found him at the far post from the right.

That wrapped a thoroughly convincing victory for the brilliant Stags, who moved another step closer to automatic promotion. But still they poured forwards.

In stoppage time Walker made another save to prevent further embarrassment for the Bantams, who were booed off, as he blocked a close range header from Aden Flint.

Soon after sub James Gale sent a low shot inches wide for the visitors as Stags settled for the five and a five point lead at the top with only eight games to play.

BRADFORD: Walker, Tomkinson, Kelly (Oyegoke, 82), Ridehalgh (McDonald, 26), Gilliead, Odour (Chapman, 62), Smallwood, Walker (Cook, 62), Richards, Smith, Wright (Kavanagh, 62). SUBS NOT USED: Halliday, Doyle.

STAGS: Pym, Boateng, Flint, Brunt, Cargill (McLaughlin, 46), Bowery, Reed, Keillor-Dunn (Maris, 46), Quinn (Lewis, 65), Swan (Nichols, 77), Akins (Gale, 82). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Williams.

REFEREE: Martin Coy.

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Bantams owner Stefan Rupp watches Mansfield capitulation
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker, ParkerTandA, Sat 16 Mar 2024

THE stayaway owner should have stayed away.

Stefan Rupp’s first appearance at Valley Parade in eight months was ill-timed to put it mildly.

The public anger - unlike much of City’s play - hit the intended target.

But he was not the reason the Bantams caved in so dismally against the league leaders.

https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/sport/sportbcfc/sportbcfcmatch/24190549.bantams-owner-stefan-rupp-watches-mansfield-capitulation/

This tortuous afternoon was on the manager and the players.

Graham Alexander gambled and lost with his selection and the big calls to drop Andy Cook and Brad Halliday.

The team then delivered a performance that suggested they had never seen each other before.

Rupp being present as everything crumbled around him just created the perfect storm on a horribly ugly occasion.

The club had tried to keep Rupp’s return under the radar. Fat chance of that.

He had not been seen in BD8 since the Middlesbrough pre-season friendly in July.

His flying visit was thought to be to talk about next season’s budget. He didn’t need to take in the game - in hindsight, maybe it would have been wiser to have kept a lower profile.

But the man who doesn’t want to speak publicly and steers well clear of fans and media was on show, red baseball cap pulled down as he sat alongside Ryan Sparks.

They made very convenient scapegoats as the tempers flipped around them.

“Sell up or spend some money” gestured one fuming fan, waving a fiver in the German’s direction as City imploded in the opening quarter of the game.

The ire of supporters rained down on the chief executive’s box off the pitch while their team capitulated completely on it.

The bubbling discontent around the club was laid bare for their money man to see. Whatever his thoughts now - and no doubt we will not hear them - his eyes have been opened.

But it was not Rupp’s fault that City rolled over so meekly against the league leaders.

It was not Rupp who decided to line up a five-man wall for a free-kick that was clearly aiming for a cross to the far post.

It was not Rupp who scorned the gilt-edged chance that Jamie Walker somehow bundled wide straight after Mansfield’s second goal.

It was not Rupp who left the enormous holes at the back to allow Mansfield to march through at will.

He can be pinpointed for plenty by supporters but others carried the can for this mess.

They say a week’s a long time in football. It seems an eternity since Accrington.

The joy from the Crown Ground has been wiped away by two miserable home performances - City somehow managing to outdo Forest Green with this absolute stinker of a game.

Somehow, almost laughingly, the gap to the play-off has stayed at seven points with those two games in hand.

But play like this again and they could have 20 extra and it wouldn’t make a difference.

Alexander’s team sheet had caused pre-match ruffles with the omission of the top scorer and the season’s top player.

It may have sent out a message that nobody’s place is nailed down following a dire display in midweek. But it was a bold move that convinced few in the stands.

Alex Gilliead was switched to right wing-back in Halliday’s absence with Walker’s first start since that pre-Christmas injury seeing him employed in an unfamiliar role in centre midfield.

There was a lop-sided look about the team that Mansfield would exploit mercilessly.

Up front, Tyler Smith was given another opportunity to win over the doubters with Alexander looking for the type of attacking mobility that had looked so good against Wycombe.

But City didn’t score that night - and again failed to take their chances until Cook was finally summoned from the sideline with the result long gone.

The outcome might have been different if Smith had got something on the end of an inviting cross that Lewis Richards bent behind the Mansfield back four in the opening minutes.

But that flashed across the goal mouth and minutes later the visitors were behind.

Louis Reed needed lengthy treatment after being knocked over by Walker 30 yards from goal.

It gave City plenty of time to get in position for Stephen Quinn’s set-piece.

But they bizarrely opted to set up a large barrier - as Alexander screamed into his mouth piece to get the message on for an anticipated ball to the back post.

Sure enough, Quinn clipped a pass in that direction where an under-manned Liam Ridehalgh watched Baily Cargill bury the header.

A second goal followed four minutes later after a spell of penalty-box pinball.

Quinn’s first shot from an angle was blocked back to him, his second pinged off the post.

Cargill’s follow-up was brilliantly clawed off the line by Sam Walker but again the rebound fell straight to a blue shirt and Lucas Akins was not going to say no.

Walker should have immediately cut the deficit but showed his ring-rust by scuffing Tyreik Wright’s inviting ball past the post.

Mansfield needed no further encouragement to increase City’s agony.

Will Swan brushed off Ridehalgh for a high ball, swapped passes with Akins and teed up an unmarked Davis Keillor-Dunn to shoot past Walker.

That was the tipping point as the mood among the home support soured. Rupp and Sparks sat stony-faced as they were subjected to the anger from those sat around them.

Alexander hauled off Ridehalgh for the calming presence of Kevin McDonald and switched to a back four. But the damage had been done.

They could not even make it to half-time without further punishment.

Jon Tomkinson’s weak clearance was snaffled up as Mansfield poured forward once again, Keillor-Dunn returning the compliment for his goal by teeing up Swan for a fourth that deflected off City’s unfortunate American.

That was the signal for many in the crowd to make an early exit at the interval. You couldn’t blame them.

Those that did stick around would have seen more Mansfield goals but for a couple of good saves from Walker to deny the rampaging Swan.

Cook appeared as part of a triple change just after the hour and did have his customary score against his former employers 10 minutes later.

He bundled home a cross from fellow sub Harry Chapman for his 17th goal of the season but barely acknowledged it. There was precious little to celebrate.

Affronted by conceding, Mansfield were not done and delivered their fifth in the closing moments.

Aaron Lewis saw his blast beaten out by Walker but he clambered straight up off the floor to smash home the rebound.

While the boisterous away end bounced around, the City boos at the final whistle were muted.

The energy in the anger in that moment had gone; fans had become numb to what they had just witnessed.

As for the owner, who knows what he’s thinking.

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Bantams 1 Mansfield 5: Match stats and player ratings
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker, ParkerTandA, Sat 16 Mar 2024

SHELL-SHOCKED City were thumped 5-1 by leaders Mansfield in a game that was effectively done and dusted inside 20 minutes.

T&A chief sports writer SIMON PARKER was at a stunned Valley Parade yesterday and provides the match stats and his player ratings.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Hard to think of too many contenders but Kevin McDonald did bring a little bit of calm to the chaos when he came on after Liam Ridehalgh was subbed early.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Maybe if Tyler Smith had got something on that Lewis Richards cross at 0-0, it might have been a different story. But Mansfield quickly blew away any home hope.

https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/sport/sportlatest/24190433.bantams-1-mansfield-5-match-stats-player-ratings/

MOAN OF THE MATCH

Where do you start? The team looked all over the shop and were wide open defensively. You can’t blame those fans who jacked it in at half-time and headed home.

TACTICS

City made two changes from the Forest Green defeat - with Andy Cook and Brad Halliday dropping to the bench.

Fluid logo

Tyler Smith replaced Cook up front with Jamie Walker playing in a central-midfield role in his first start since getting injured at Doncaster before Christmas.

Alex Gilliead moved to right wing-back in Halliday’s absence.

REFEREE: Martin Coy (Sunderland)

BOOKINGS: J Walker, Tomkinson (City); Keillor-Dunn, Reed (Mansfield)

OFFICIAL ATTENDANCE: 18,991 (2,495 from Mansfield)

SHOTS ON TARGET: City 1 Mansfield 11

SHOTS OFF TARGET: City 5 Mansfield 16

CORNERS: City 5 Mansfield 5

FOULS: City 10 Mansfield 11

PLAYER RATINGS

CITY: S Walker 5, Tomkinson 4, Kelly 5 (Oyegoke 83min), Ridehalgh 3 (McDonald 26min, 6), Gilliead 5, Smallwood 4, J Walker 4 (Cook 62min, 6), Richards 4, Wright 5 (Kavanagh 62min, 5), Oduor 4 (Chapman 62min, 5), Smith 3. Subs (not used): Halliday, Doyle.

MANSFIELD: Pym 6, Bowery 7, Flint 7, Brunt 7, Cargill 8 (McLaughlin 46min, 6), Reed 7, Boateng 7, Quinn 8 (Lewis 65min), Keillor-Dunn 8 (Maris 46min, 6), Swan 8 (Nichols 77min), Akins 7 (Gale 82min). Subs (not used): Williams, Flinders.

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BANTAMS BEATEN BY LEAGUE LEADERS
bradfordcityafc.com

Graham Alexander's men fell to a 5-1 defeat to league leaders Mansfield Town at the University of Bradford Stadium.

Mansfield netted three within seven first-half minutes thanks to Baily Cargill, Lucas Akins and Davis Keillor-Dunn, with Will Swan adding a fourth in the first-half stoppage-time minutes.

https://www.bradfordcityafc.com/news/2024/march/bantams-beaten-by-league-leaders/

City got one back in the 72nd minute through Andy Cook, but an Aaron Lewis strike five minutes before the end of normal time condemned City to a heavy defeat.

The Bantams started well, building up on the left-hand side with Jamie Walker and Lewis Richards.

Walker’s whipped cross was met by Tyler Smith, who saw his glancing effort bounce inches wide as the hosts began the better side.

Alas, it was the visitors who took the lead just before the 10th-minute mark through Cargill.

The hosts took advantage of a free-kick which was curled into City’s area by Stephen Quinn, who saw his ball headed home by Cargill at the back post to open the scoring.

Although the Bantams fought back after conceding, the away side doubled their lead in the 14th minute through Akins.

From a corner, Quinn hit the post and Cargill saw his shot hacked off the line by Ciarán Kelly in a goalmouth scramble, but the clearance was only as far as Akins, who doubled Mansfield's lead.

The away side continued to push forward and added a third in the 17th minute through Keillor-Dunn.

Nigel Clough's men countered effectively, with Swan’s through ball played into Keillor-Dunn who slotted into the back of the net.

In stoppage time of the first half, Will Swan netted for the visitors, who went into the half-time break 4-0 up.

An optimistic cross-cum-shot from Lewis Richards almost gave City hope, as the Bantams looked to attack as play resumed for the second half.

Good link-up play down the left resulted in a Richards cross to the back post, where Clarke Oduor was found in space, but proved unable to capitalise on the opportunity.

City did get themselves on the scoresheet through Cook, who was one of three changes with half an hour remaining.

Fellow introduction Harry Chapman beat his man down the right hand-side, whipping in a teasing ball into the area, where Cook was on-hand to bundle the ball into the back of the net.

Coming into the closing stages, City looked to build momentum following their goal, but the away side were able to grab a fifth goal in last few minutes through substitute Aaron Lewis, who converted a rebound after seeing his initial effort saved by Sam Walker, as the Bantams fell to a 5-1 defeat.

CITY: Sam Walker, Liam Ridehalgh (Kevin McDonald 25’), Richie Smallwood (C), Jamie Walker (Andy Cook 62’), Alex Gilliead, Clarke Oduor (Harry Chapman 62’), Tyler Smith, Ciarán Kelly (Daniel Oyegoke 82’), Jonathan Tomkinson, Lewis Richards, Tyreik Wright (Calum Kavanagh 62’). Unused subs: Colin Doyle, Brad Halliday.

GOAL: Cook (72’)

MANSFIELD: Christy Pym, Baily Cargill (Stephen McLaughlin 46’), Lucas Akins (James Gale 82’), Jordan Bowery, Aden Flint (C), Stephen Quinn (Aaron Lewis 65’), Lewis Brunt, Louis Reed, Will Swan (Tom Nicholls 77’), Davis Keillor-Dunn (George Maris 46’), Hiram Boateng. Unused subs: Scott Flinders, Geroge Williams.

GOALS: Cargill (10’), Akins (14’), Keillor-Dunn (17’), Swan (45+2’), Lewis (84’).

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