City fell to their second defeat on the trot at the hands of Mark Cooper’s Swindon Town at The Coral Windows this Saturday afternoon.
Alan Sheehan saw a third minute penalty well saved by Wes Foderingham after the latter had brought Billy Clarke down in the area though City did take the lead in the tenth minute through a Louis Thompson own goal. Two goals in twenty minutes though from Jonathan Obika inside the first half proved to be enough to secure three points for the visitors.
Phil Parkinson made just a single change from the side that lost last weekend at home to Yeovil Town with Mark Yeates coming in for Mason Bennett who dropped to the bench. The change meant that Billy Clarke would start up front with James Hanson, Yeates then starting in the attacking midfield role usually held by Clarke.
The Bantams started the game brightly and were awarded a penalty in the second minute; after Nathan Thompson had given away possession cheaply, Mark Yeates tried to find James Hanson with a forward pass but it was Clarke who latched onto the ball ahead of Foderingham who in turn brought him down. Alan Sheehan stepped up to take the penalty but his effort low to Foderingham’s left was saved well.
City still ended up capitalising on their bright start with a goal; after Yeates had received a return pass from Clarke down the left hand side he delivered a low cross towards Jason Kennedy and with Kennedy ready to pounce, Louis Thompson ended up turning the ball into his own goal.
Yaser Kasim almost brought his side back on level terms shortly after; after lining up a free kick 20 yards from goal, his dipping shot beat the wall and headed towards goal but Pickford pulled off an outstanding save to thwart the Iraqi midfielder.
Swindon looked a threat on the counter attack and after Raphael Rossi Branco had pulled the ball back to Massimo Luongo, the latter saw a seemingly goal bound shot blocked brilliantly by Billy Knott. From the resulting corner though, Swindon scored the equaliser. Bradley Smith, on loan from Premier League Liverpool, delivered a far post corner which was headed back across goal by Michael Smith and Jonathan Obika nodded in from close range.
The visitors looked to be in the ascendancy following their equaliser and went close through the impressive Luongo again after counter attacking with success. Louis Thompson was the man that picked out the Australian and his low shot from outside the area went narrowly wide of the target.
The next goal did come from Swindon and it was a goal which was coming. Following a spell of pressure, Nathan Byrne’s corner ended up dropping into the path of Obika and although there was a crowd of City players around him, he confidently smashed the ball into the top corner from around 10 yards out.
City were seemingly rocked by their first half reversal and Swindon continued with the momentum they had early in the second half and went close twice, firstly through Louis Thompson who dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area, and Obika who eased past Sheehan and Gary Liddle before seeing a shot blocked by the recovering Sheehan
A couple of minutes later down the other end of the pitch, City caused one or two problems for the visitors; Yeates delivered a cross which went all the way through to Kennedy on the opposite flank and his delivery was almost met by Hanson but was cleared as he looked to get on the end of the cross.
It was at the stage where it felt as if another goal was coming at either end, a goal which could either pull City back into the game or put City completely out of the contest and Swindon went close twice to getting their third. Michael Smith saw a goal bound shot blocked away by Sheehan after Byrne had pulled the ball back to him and from the resulting corner Branco, unmarked, headed over the cross bar.
The introduction of Filipe Morais as a substitute saw Sheehan move to left back and he really influenced the game from the left flank. His cross went all the way through to Kennedy who fired an angled shot over the bar and he produced another teasing cross which was gathered by Kennedy and the latter’s cross was headed in at the far post by Liddle but the flag was already up for the cross going out before coming back into play.
The Irish full back went close twice with a couple free kicks in the latter stages of the game. The first effort was shaped up to be a cross but he tried to catch Foderingham out at his near post but he produced a good save to deny him. The second effort was a curling shot from 25-30 yards out which went narrowly wide of the post.
There were 6 minutes of additional time added on and Stephen Darby almost rescued a point in the fourth minute of the 6. Mason Bennett teed Sheehan up for a cross and his delivery was glanced towards goal by the skipper but Foderingham made a fingertip save to make sure he wouldn’t be beaten for a second time in the game.
There was still time for referee Richard Clark to brandish a red card and it was Sheehan, who’d had an impressive second half, that was given his marching orders against his former team. After a coming together of players on the near side, Branco seemed to go to ground after an altercation with Sheehan, who was immediately sent off to cap the action for the afternoon.