Bradford City 2 (Wyke 85, 90+1)
Swindon Town 1(Ajose 75)
Saturday 18th March 2017 | Sky Bet League One | Northern Commercials Stadium
The Bantams secured a dramatic late victory against struggling Swindon Town on Saturday afternoon to further boost the chance of achieving a place in the Sky Bet League One play-off places. City dominated throughout and went close on numerous occasions to taking the lead. It was Swindon Town who took the lead with Nicky Ajose keeping his cool to put the relegation-threatened visitors ahead but two late goals from Charlie Wyke lifted the roof off the stadium.
City almost got off to a brilliant start and the first chance came from a Tony McMahon free kick into the box; Mark Marshall was fouled by Dion Conroy to put the visitors under pressure straight away, but the ball into the box was guided over the bar by the head of Rory McArdle to let Luke Williams’ side off the hook.
The formation Stuart McCall opted for was an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation and this was always going to mean City would have a lot of chances, whilst Swindon would too have chances of their own. Town’s first chance belonged to Ben Gladwin, a man who had returned to the club on loan from Queens Park Rangers and he skewed a shot wide after he had been teed up for a first time attempt by John Goddard.
McArdle had another headed chance before the quarter hour mark, before Charlie Wyke was denied by the post. Marshall beat Town skipper Nathan Thompson before delivering a cross and Wyke got in front of his man before being denied his fifth goal in Bradford City colours by the woodwork.
Gladwin was causing problems for City and his mazy run into the box created the next opportunity; he managed to wrestle the ball back into his control and he weaved past two or three claret and amber shirts before being fairly halted, the ball then came back to Charlie Colkett who thumped a shot into the arms of Colin Doyle.
Marshall was one of the best players on the pitch after conjuring up yet another eye-catching attacking display and he saw an effort go a yard or so wide of the mark before seeing his next attempt bobble tamely wide of the mark after McMahon had done all the work to win the ball back and pick him out with a pass.
McMahon picked up a booking for a foul on Jonathan Obika just outside the penalty area and Goddard opted to shoot rather than cross into the box and his curling shot towards the far corner went a few inches wide of the target.
Lawrence Vigouroux has supposedly been one of Swindon’s best players this season and he was at his best to make a superb double save just before the break. The former Liverpool stopper denied Nathaniel Knight-Percival’s header before reacting quickly to keep out a well-struck left-footed volley by McMahon.
Early in the second half the Town stopper was once again frustrating City and this time he pulled off a terrific close range save to keep out a McArdle header after the central defender had rose highest at the far post to connect with McMahon’s corner.
It began to feel like one of those afternoon’s where City were going to be left frustrated; they were dominating the play and the chances were coming but Town were in resilient mood. Jordy Hiwula saw a shot from distance go comfortably wide and Josh Cullen scooped a volley over the bar before Stuart McCall made a bold double substitution to introduce Alex Jones and Billy Clarke; ultimately it would make all the difference to the outcome of the game.
Jones’ first opportunity of the afternoon came shortly after his introduction; Romain Vincelot picked him out in the box and he held off his man before turning and drilling a low shot inches wide of the far post. Agonisingly wide in fact!
The next chance resulted in the next goal, but it was a Swindon Town goal. Colkett surged forward from midfield before finding the feet of Obika and he held the ball up before finding Nicky Ajose and he went through, kept his cool and slotted the ball past Doyle and into the bottom corner.
The chances still kept coming for City and Wyke went close to levelling with a glancing header after he’d been picked out by Clarke’s cross, and then Jones volleyed into the ground to result in an easy claim for Vigouroux.
Colkett played his part in Swindon’s goal and he went close to doubling his side’s lead with a looping header before City equalised with five minutes left on the clock. Marshall delivered a brilliant cross into the box and Wyke thundered a header into the roof of the net in front of the Kop. The roof lifted off and the fans could sense that this was just the beginning!
Seconds into four additional minutes at the end of the game, Wyke scored again to turn the game on its head. Marshall caused the problem once again for Swindon; his low cross was almost turned in by Jones under pressure from Thompson and the ball fell invitingly to Wyke who beat Vigouroux from close range. City getting the luck they deserved after being left frustrated for the majority of the game and what could be a huge three points come the end of the season.