npower League 2
Bradford City 1 (Wells 23)
Northampton Town 0
Kick Off: 3.00pm
at the Coral Windows Stadium
Attendance: 10,389 (413 visitors)
Pictures kindly provided by Gintare Karpaviciute
The Bantams secured a vital home win over Northampton Town thanks to Nahki Wells' first half strike.
Wells took advantage of a defensive mix-up between Cobblers defender Nathan Cameron and his 'keeper Lee Nicholls midway through the opening period to tap home from barely a yard out into an unguarded goal and net the all-important winner.
With the action now only set to intensify as the climax of the season draws nearer, the victory leaves City a mere two points off the Play-Off places with a game in hand on seventh-placed Exeter City.
Northampton, renowned for their physical style of play, tested City defensively with a number balls into the area - predominately via the long throws of Ben Tozer - but City still looked the far more likely scorers in open play.
Gary Jones, in particular, was denied by a fine reaction save from Nicholls in the second half after the City skipper had burst into the box with real purpose and shot for goal with a low half-volley.
City's failure to secure a second goal met they would have to endure more aerial bombardment from the Cobblers in the final quarter of the game but Phil Parkinson's men held on for a deserved and potentially-crucial win.
FT: Bradford City 1 Northampton Town 0
90+1min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Will Atkinson for Wells.
90min: There will be three minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
90min: Harding's in-swinging delivery from a free-kick is met by Johnson but his header is saved in straight-forward fashion by McLaughlin.
89min: O'Donovan fires over with a rising angled drive after Hackett had played him into a decent shooting space inside the area.
88min: Davies has to hack clear to stop another Tozer throw into City's area from dropping dangerously into the mix. Seconds later, Robinson volleys over wildly with an effort from just outside the edge of the area.
87min: YELLOW CARD - Ravenhill is booked for barging into Robinson as the pair challenge for the ball.
87min: Hines drive through to goal takes a slight deflection on its way into Nicholls' hands.
84min: YELLOW CARD - Akinfenwa is booked for arguing too much with referee Mr Kettle.
83min: Reid's low angled effort with his weaker right foot is save by his near post by Nicholls.
82min: Hanson heads a yard or so wide of goal with a downward header following Wells' looping cross to the far post.
79min: Hanson fires well over the bar with his weaker right foot from just outside the six yard box following Wells' low cross into the area.
75min: Another long Tozer throw into the area causes a scramble in City's box. A number players get involved in the mad dash for the ball before McArdle is eventually able to clear the danger.
74min: CHANCE - McLaughlin denies Harding thanks to a great reaction save! A Tozer throw into City's area isn't cleared before Harding strikes for goal with a fierce half-volley. McLaughlin springs to his left to keep out the effort before Johnson slices the ball wide on the rebound.
72min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Zavon Hines for Thompson.
65min: O'Donovan is merely inches away from racing onto an Akinfenwa flick on from a long Nicholls free-kick forward. With McLaughlin coming off his line to claim the ball, any touch from O'Donovan could easily have seen the ball nestling in the net.
56min: With the ball bouncing about just outside Northampton's penalty area, Reid lets rip with a fierce strike that whistles a yard or so wide of Nicholls' goal.
56min: CHANCE - Jones is denied by a stunning reaction save from Nicholls after bursting into space inside Northampton's area. Finding himself with clear sight of Nicholls' goal, the City skipper tries to catch out the shot-stopper with an early effort on goal but the young 'keeper dives low to his right to repel the half-volley.
55min: Akinfenwa heads a good few yards wide after latching onto a Tozer long throw into the Bantams penalty area.
54min: Hackett's clipped ball into the area is headed for goal by Harding but McLaughlin is able to gather onto the effort easily enough.
53min: Thompson drives a yard or so wide of Nicholls' near post with a low half-volley from the edge of the area.
52min: Reid's flighted ball into the area is headed back across goal by Hanson before Wells drills a low effort back across goal again from the other side.
47min: Following a neat one-two with Wells, Reid forces Nicholls into a smart save with a fierce low drive from just inside Northampton's penalty area.
HT SUB - Northampton bring on Adebayo Akinfenwa for Cameron before the beginning of the second period. After lining up in a 5-4-1 shape in the first period, Northampton will now operate using a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.
HT: Bradford City 1 Northampton Town 0
45+1min: A Wells free-kick from a decent position around 25 yards from goal lacks the power and pace to trouble Nicholls, who gathers the goal-bound effort with relative ease.
45min: There will be three minutes of time added on at the end of the first half.
45min: YELLOW CARD - John Johnson is booked for Northampton after tugging Reid back as the midfielder looked to clear his lines and get City on an attack.
43min: CHANCE - Wells' low ball across the six yard box rolls just behind the waiting Hanson in the middle after Nicholls' gets a little touch on the cross. Any connection on the ball from Hanson would surely have resulted in a simple tap-in there for the big forward.
41min: McArdle sends a looping header a good few yards over the bar following Reid's in-swinging delivery from a wide free-kick.
38min: CHANCE - Stretching to reach an in-swinging Jones delivery from a wide free-kick, Davies can only glance a header over from barely yards out right in front of Nicholls' goal.
34min: SUB - Northampton are forced to replace Demontagnac with Jake Robinson after the winger pulled up clutching his hamstring as he set off to chase a ball down City's right flank.
32min: Gary Jones floats a cross over to James Hanson at the far post before the giant striker in turns nods the ball back across goal for the waiting Thompson, who sends a looping header not too far over Nicholls' bar.
30min: Tozer drills a fierce drive towards goal on the half-volley from around 25 yards out but the ball fizzes a yard or so wide of Jon McLaughlin's goal. The amazement of McLaughlin though, a corner is given after referee Mr Kettle claims the 'keeper got a touch on the ball. Thankfully, however, City clear the corner.
28min: CHANCE - Northampton nearly scramble home an equaliser when Carlisle's header from a Ben Harding header corner causes a moment's panic in the City defence. After Carlisle's initial effort is blocked, a couple of Northampton players, including the visiting skipper, try to force the loose ball home but the Bantams eventually clear their penalty box.
23min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 1 Northampton Town 0 - City have the lead through Nahki Wells! With the Bermudian chasing at his back, Nathan Cameron tries to head a Thompson ball forward back to Nicholls, not knowing the 'keeper has himself come out to claim the pass. With Cameron's header flying past an on-rushing Nicholls, Wells races onto the ball to tap home into an unguarded goal from barely a yard out.
16min: Chris Hackett fires high and wide with an angled half-volley from a decent position within City's area after getting a yard of space away from Rory McArdle.
15min: Picking up the ball from distance, Andrew Davies moves forward before firing in a 30 yard drive that sails well wide of Nicholls' goal.
10min: YELLOW CARD - Joe Widdowson is booked for catching Thompson late as the pair went up for an aerial challenge.
8min: A low effort from outside the area by Kyel Reid on his weaker right foot is simple enough for Lee Nicholls.
7min: A free-kick from City pumped into Northampton's area eventually finds Garry Thompson but his goal-bound volley is blocked away by the out-stretched leg of Carlisle before the ball deflects behind for a City corner.
7min: YELLOW CARD - Ishmel Demontagnac is booked for arguing with the referee over the award of a City free-kick.
1min: CHANCE - Cobblers skipper Clarke Carlisle heads narrowly over the bar from around ten yards out after leaping to connect with a long Ben Tozer throw-in.
0min: Northampton kick off the match. The Bantams will attack towards the T.L Dallas Stand end in the first half.
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP
McLaughlin, Darby, Davies, McArdle, Meredith, Thompson, Jones, Ravenhill, Reid, Hanson, Wells
Subs: Duke, Atkinson, McHugh, Connell, Hines, Nelson, Doyle
Hines for Thompson (72), Atkinson for Wells (90+1)
NORTHAMPTON TOWN LINE UP
Nicholls, Johnson, Collins, Carlisle, Cameron, Widdowson, Hackett, Tozer, Harding, Demontagnac, O'Donovan
Subs: Snedker, Guttridge, Platt, Akinfenwa, Robinson, Hornby, Dias
Robinson for Demontagnac (34), Akinfenwa for Cameron (46)
Demontagnac (7), Widdowson (10), Johnson (45), Akinfenwa (84)
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistant Referee: Richard Bartlett
Assistant Referee: Nick Greenhalgh
Fourth Official: Paul Cook