(Easter) Monday 1 April 2013
The Bantams ensured that they kept their season very much alive and kicking with a deserved away victory at Torquay United this Easter Monday.
City suffered the blow of conceding after only three minutes through Joss Labadie but goals from Rory McArdle and Garry Thompson saw Phil Parkinson's men claim the half-time advantage.
Thompson then turned provider early in the second half to allow James Hanson head home from close range and set the Bantams on their way to a comfortable win on the road.
The victory sees City move to within five points of the League 2 Play-Off places with a game in hand on seventh-placed Exeter City.
On a hard and bobbly surface and with the wind whistling through Torquay's Plainmoor ground, City had readied themselves for a testing encounter against a side who had won their last two home matches.
The afternoon's encounter looked like it could be all the more challenging for Parkinson's side when they fell behind early in the match.
City's defence failed to properly clear a Thomas Cruise ball into the area and Joss Labadie was on hand to drill home low into the corner with a strike from inside the box.
The Bantams didn't waste any time in getting back into the contest, however, when McArdle flicked in an in-swinging free-kick from Gary Jones with a glancing header only four minutes later.
The recalled Nahki Wells, who had earlier seen a penalty shout turned down after a strike of his appeared to have hit Brian Saah's hands, went close following a surging run into Torquay's area.
The Bermudian was also involved in City taking the lead after eighteen minutes when he and Torquay 'keeper Michael Poke both raced for a neat flick forward via the head of Hanson, resulting in the pair colliding in the area.
With Poke out of his goal, Thompson raced onto the loose ball and smashed it into the bottom corner with a fiercely-struck and well-placed drive from the edge of the area.
Poke's clash with Wells saw the 'keeper pick up an apparent back problem, meaning the shot-stopper had to be replaced by his reserve Martin Rice shortly after Thompson's strike.
Torquay did have a chance to get back into the contest when Jon McLaughlin failed to properly deal with a free-kick into the box but Brian Saah fired the loose ball over from inside the area.
After an encouraging first period, things got even better for City shortly after the restart when a sumptuous Thompson delivery gave an unmarked Hanson the simple task of heading home from close range barely two minutes after the interval.
It could have been four five minutes later but referee Mr Lewis turned down another City penalty appeal despite Wells seemingly being bundled over from behind by last-man Angus MacDonald when the striker was through on goal.
With the wind in their advantage and the game slipping away from them, Torquay tried to push for goals but they never realistically looked like manufacturing a way back into the contest.
It was actually City who came closest to adding to the scoring before the afternoon was out when Garry Thompson and Nahki Wells both saw efforts desperately blocked away from deep inside Torquay's area.
FT: Torquay United 1 Bradford City 3
90+1min: Chapell creates some space out on Torquay's left flank after turning away from Darby but his angled drive from around the edge of the area is gathered by McLaughlin at his near post.
90min: There will be three minutes added on at the end of the match.
89min: Oastler's low drive across the area from outside the box goes just out of Lee Mansell's reach and out for a goal-kick over on the far side.
86min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Will Atkinson for Wells. With Atkinson positioning himself on City's right flank, Thompson will now join Hanson up front as a result of the change.
85min: Rice has to dive across his goal to push away Reid's inswinging corner and stop it from curling in at his near post.
84min: CHANCE - City nearly scramble home a fourth when Thompson sees two efforts from inside the area crucially blocked out before Wells has an effort himself blocked from a tight angle by the byline. Thompson has another go when the ball breaks back to him again but this time his strike is helped over the bar by a sliced clearance from Saah.
83min: Reid's low angled drive from outside the area is pushed away by a diving Rice.
83min: Cruise slices a effort from just outside the area a couple of yards wide of McLaughlin's near post.
81min: Howe fires over the bar with a rising drive inside City's penalty area after being teed up by Macklin.
73min: SUB - Torquay bring on Lloyd Macklin for Bodin.
71min: Howe latches onto a long kick forward from Joe Oastler before firing over on the half-volley from just inside the area. The opportunity was a good one for the Torquay striker but he had already been flagged for offside before he struck the ball.
63min: SUB - Torquay bring on Jordan Chapell for Jarvis.
60min: Mansell's low drive from distance is gathered quite comfortably by McLaughlin.
59min: Wells flicks an effort a couple of yards wide of Rice's near post following Meredith's low cross into the six yard box.
56min: Saah heads a Cruise far post corner back across goal but Meredith is on hand to make a vital clearance just as the ball drops into the mix. Seconds later though, Jones leads a four-on-three City counter-attack. With Thompson in yards of space over on the far side, Jones instead picks out Reid, who eventually sees a shot blocked away from just outside the area.
54min: Meredith's cross into the area finds Wells but the striker's looping header is plucked out of the sky by a back-tracking Rice.
52min: Not for the first time this afternoon, Wells is involved in a penalty shout for City! The Bermudian seems to be in on goal with only Rice to beat after racing ahead of Angus MacDonald to latch onto Ravenhill's forward pass. As Wells looks to get his foot on the ball, however, he seems to be bundled over from behind by MacDonald. Wells perhaps did go down a bit easily but the City man also seemed to be through on goal without the touch from MacDonald.
49min: YELLOW CARD - Jarvis is booked for catching Davies in an aerial challenge just inside City's own half.
47min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Torquay United 1 Bradford City 3 - Hanson strikes for City at the beginning of the second period! Thompson's brilliant cross into the area finds Hanson unmarked in the middle and the forward has the relatively simple task of heading past Rice from around six yards out.
46min: The Bantams restart the match.
HT: Torquay United 1 Bradford City 2
45+3min: Bodin fires in a low angled drive from outside the area that beats the reach of Howe in the middle before rolling a good few yards wide of McLaughlin's goal over on the far side.
45min: There will be three minutes of time added on at the end of the first half.
45min: Cruise's cross into the area is headed forward by Ryan Jarvis but McLaughlin is able to gather before a lurking Billy Bodin can look to pounce.
43min: YELLOW CARD - Ricky Ravenhill is booked for catching Howe late with his boot as the striker hooked the ball clear from his half.
39min: Davies gets his boot on a near post Reid corner but his flick for goal falls a couple of yards wide.
35min: Jones races onto Hanson's chested lay-off from a McLaughlin goal-kick but the midfielder can only clear the stand behind Rice's goal with a drive as he seems to be leaning back slightly.
34min: Picking up the ball following a lay-off from Wells, Reid drives for goal from midway into Torquay's half. The winger seems to have the chance to run for Torquay's area but instead elects to shoot from distance and his effort flies well wide of Rice's goal.
29min: CHANCE - McLaughlin comes out to deal with Cruise's free-kick into the area but his attempted punch clear isn't clean or convincing. As a result, the ball drops invitingly in the area for Saah but the defender smashes over from around twelve yards out.
28min: Jones' fierce drive from around 25 yards out is unconvicingly repelled by Rice before the substitute 'keeper races out from his goal to gather up the loose ball ahead of the on-rushing Wells.
26min: Reid's far post free-kick from out on City's right flank is headed back across by Hanson. McArdle keeps the situation alive with a flick forward with his boot but, crucially, Labadie is able to smash the ball behind with Thompson lurking.
22min: Labadie's curling free-kick from outside the area is straight forward enough for McLaughlin to keep out.
20min: SUB - Presumably after picking up a knock after his clash with Wells - possibly a back problem - Poke has been replaced by reserve Torquay 'keeper Martin Rice.
18min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Torquay United 1 Bradford City 2 - Thompson drives City into the lead! James Hanson's neat headed flick-on plays Wells in with a sight of goal as Poke races off his line to try and rescue the situation. Wells and Poke collide as they challenge for the ball before Thompson races onto it and smashes home with a fine low finish the very edge of Torquay's area.
18min: A low drive from just outside the area by Wells spins a yard or so wide of Poke's goal. In fairness to the Torquay 'keeper though, he seemed to have the effort covered.
17min: A searching free-kick into City's area nearly breaks kindly for Elliot Benyon but Stephen Darby gets his body in between the Torquay attacker and the ball to see it safely through to McLaughlin.
16min: CHANCE - A great spot from Jones sees the midfielder play Wells into plenty of space deep inside Torquay's half with a searching forward pass. Running at a retreating Saah, Wells drives into Torquay's area before the ball threatens to get away from him on the bobbly surface. Wells still manages to get a shot away but his effort curls a yard or so wide of goal.
13min: Garry Thompson tries his luck with an ambitious drive from all of 40 yards out that sails over Michael Poke's bar but not by too much considering the distance the City winger struck the ball from.
7min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Torquay United 1 Bradford City 1 - The Bantams are level when Gary Jones' in-swinging cross from wide is flicked into the bottom corner by a glancing header from Rory McArdle from around ten yards out.
5min: There are screams for a penalty from the visiting bench as Nahki Wells' shot for goal from within Torquay's area is blocked by Brian Saah. Nothing is given, however, as Jones drives the loose ball wide of goal with strike from outside the area that takes a flick off Wells on its way through. Saah seemed to be blocking his face when Wells' strike hit his arms but they were definitely raised.
3min: GOAL - Torquay United 1 Bradford City 0 - City suffer a nightmare start to the contest when Joss Labadie drills home from inside City's area. Davies, Kyel Reid and James Meredith all try to clear a Tom Cruise cross into the box but eventually Labadie is able to pounce by firing low into the corner with an angled drive.
1min: Andrew Davies requires a spot of treatment from City physio Matt Barrass after being caught in the face by Rene Howe's boot while stooping low to head the ball. Davies is soon back to his feet, however, and able to continue.
0min: Torquay kick off the match.
2:58pm: The Bantams, wearing their pink shirts, black shorts and black socks combination, enter the pitch along with hosts Torquay United.