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21:24 18th May 2013
By  Luke Gallagher

Bradford City 3 Northampton Town 0

Starting much the brighter of the two teams, City went ahead early on through James Hanson; a thunderous header from Rory McArdle doubled the advantage before Nahki Wells rounded off a one sided half with an instinctive goal to all but wrap up promotion before the break.


Bradford were visibly making a brighter start to the game despite the direct threat of Ben Tozer's long throws and Clive Platt's presence in the area for The Cobblers. Nahki Wells was looking spritely and came close to giving his side a third minute lead when he struck a dipping freekick narrowly over the bar after James Hanson was fouled.


Wells was in the thick of the action once more, merely seconds later. Kyel Reid worked a short corner to Gary Jones and the latter produced a cross which The Bermudian could only head comfortably over Lee Nicholls' bar.


On the quarter hour, The Bantams did take the lead. James Meredith produced a cross that went all the way across the area unchallenged before the ball was collected by Garry Thompson. The 32 year old winger stood up an inviting cross which was headed delightfully beyond the grasp of Nicholls to send one half of the stadium into rapturous celebration.


Phil Parkinson's men were looking relentless against an unresponsive Northampton side and they doubled their lead only four minutes after going ahead. Kyel Reid did well to evade an incoming challenge from Luke Guttridge and move beyond him before producing a cross, his delivery, like Meredith's went all the way across the area before Nathan Doyle looped a cross back into the area which was steered home at the near post by Rory McArdle.


Every time City went forward they looked like they could well produce another goal with Town not providing much to stop them. Nahki Wells' deflected shot from the edge of the area was kept out well by Lee Nicholls on this occasion but he wasn't to deny him four minutes later. The ball was worked to Kyel Reid who chipped in a flighty cross, Thompson headed back across goal and Wells was alive in the area to volley home from close range amongst a static opposing defence.


Kyel Reid almost made a nightmare start even worse for The Cobblers when he latched onto a bouncing ball inside the area to head powerfully towards goal, Lee Nicholls however, was equal to the opportunity on this occasion.


City headed into the interval barely believing their luck, they had played very well in the first half whilst Northampton were stuck in first gear and didn't look like moving into second any time soon. Three quick fire goals meant it looked an almost certainty that Bradford would be victorious and earn promotion, but we all know football doesn't work like that.


On this occasion however, it did look like football was going to work like that as Bradford made a brighter start to the second half also. James Meredith's throw into the area came off a combination of James Hanson and his marker Clarke Carlisle before heading towards the bottom corner, fortunately for The Cobblers though, Lee Nicholls was alert enough to make an outstanding save.


As expected, Northampton would attempt to be camped in City's half of the field and with numbers short at the back Garry Thompson sprung clear to lead a counter attack following Gary Jones' pass. He could've passed the ball in the final third but nobody could blame him for having a go, his shot however, was dragged harmlessly wide of the target.


The game all of a sudden became an end to end affair for a spell and after substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa had sliced a shot well wide, at the other end Nahki Wells produced a deep cross which Kyel Reid side footed wide on the volley at the far post when he should've hit the target.


A few minutes later Phil Parkinson's men produced their best passing move of the match. Retaining possession well they were also effective as Kyel Reid and Gary Jones made sure that James Meredith's run into the area would be picked out. The Australian cut the ball back to Nahki Wells who produced a low shot that wasn't enough to beat Nicholls and the young stopper held well.


Ben Harding's woeful volley that sailed well over the bar just about summed up Northampton's day as they couldn't conjure anything up that would threaten City's rear guard in their desperate attempt to find three goals.


It wasn't to be for The Cobblers but it certainly was for The Bantams. City had simply blown away their opponents on a day where a performance was paramount. Producing arguably their most effective, attacking first half display of the season, Bradford were deserved winners and the jubilant scenes at the final whistle showed how much a return to League One meant to the players, management and fans alike.