A rather uneventful game in terms of football played was marred by a devastating injury to Sunderland loanee John Egan following an awkward landing after an aerial challenge. Gary Jones' solitary strike shortly after proved enough to seal all three points for The Bantams.
Following a headed chance that Andres Gurrieri powered over the bar from Durrell Berry's teasing cross and a James Meredith cross that caused chaos in Argyle's area and eventually forced a corner, Egan then suffered his injury.
The Irishman went up for a header and seemed to be in some distress when he landed and after being carted away by medical staff the injury later turned out to be a double leg break.
Shortly after the long break for Egan's injury, City went ahead. After a bout of head tennis, Wells got the last flick that dropped into the path of Gary Jones who tucked away a shot into the bottom corner from just inside the area.
On the stroke of half time a chance arose for both teams; Nahki Wells did well to turn away from his marker following a Stephen Darby throw in and he dragged a firm shot wide from around 25 yards out.
The visitors should've equalised with their chance; Nick Chadwick headed across the area from a deep cross, MacDonald struggled to get the ball under control and Jamie Lowry was there to poke a shot towards goal but Matt Duke expertly denied him to keep City ahead.
Five minutes into the second half Plymouth should've equalised once more; Chadwick's flick on found MacDonald who had the pace to get in front of Rory McArdle and through on goal but he lashed his shot wide of the target.
A long throw into Plymouth's area was flicked on by James Hanson and Garry Thompson gathered to tee up Gary Jones to fire a first time shot narrowly over the bar from just inside the area.
Jamie Lowry tried his luck from distance with a first time shot from 35 yards that fizzed narrowly wide after City had only half cleared a Plymouth attack.
MacDonald and Chadwick were proving a handful and quite effective on the attacking front and it was the latter of the two who was next to try his luck; he found space out wide before firing an angled shot towards the top corner of the goal but Duke was on hand to thwart him.
The introduction of Alan Connell had an effect on the game and he almost scored in the 81st minute when he turned away from a green shirt to hit a low shot towards goal that Rene Gilmartin had to put behind for a corner. Connell also teed up fellow substitute Ritchie Jones for a fizzing shot that went a yard or so wide.
One goal proved enough on the evening to hand City all three points but they will surely have to perform slightly better to take points from upcoming league games against more potent opposition.