Bradford City 0 Tranmere Rovers 1
The Bantams suffered their first home defeat of the season at the hands of Ronnie Moore’s Tranmere Rovers; City weren’t at their best with a few key players missing but most would agree they performed well enough to at least take a share of the spoils. With a controversial referee overseeing proceedings and a goal against the run of play from Ryan Lowe that simply wasn’t to be as struggling Rovers headed back to Merseyside with the three points.
City came a matter of inches from going ahead inside 12 minutes; James Meredith’s cross was headed into the air by Hanson before he brought his own header under control, he then proceeded to cross towards the far post and Stephen Darby latched onto the ball with a firm volley that flew narrowly over the bar.
On the 26th minute came the game’s major talking point; Nathan Doyle headed the ball well clear of City’s penalty area and Kyel Reid attempted to close down Ian Goodison who looked the most likely to get to the loose ball, the Tranmere skipper then appeared to deliberately force an arm into the face of Reid to leave him in a heap on the ground. After a heated coming together from members of both dugouts referee Darren Drysdale awarded Goodison a yellow card when he should’ve surely walked for what looked a very poor challenge.
Another talking point followed shortly after as the hosts thought they had a shout for a penalty. Mark Yeates wriggled his way into the area and was eventually halted when he was brought down by Ash Taylor – the fans thought it was a certain penalty but the ref waved it away quickly.
Tranmere almost went ahead when their two Huddersfield Town loanee’s linked up well; Liam Ridehalgh did excellently to dig out a cross before Chris Atkinson’s firm headed was kept out well by Jon McLaughlin, though he probably should’ve done better with his header in all honesty.
Just before the half time interval the visitors almost went into the lead again, in bizarre fashion. Jim McNulty’s free kick looked set to be a cross into the area but his effort ended up looking to be heading into the far top corner but for the intervention of McLaughlin to deny him.
Early in the second half Rovers’ Max Power almost fired his side into the lead but his powerful volley from Ryan Lowe’s knock down fizzed marginally wide of the target from 20 yards out.
City had gone a little bit flat at the start of the second half but upped their tempo as the half grew older; Reid received a quickly taken throw in before surging forward through Tranmere’s defensive ranks and producing a shot that was held relatively comfortably by Owain Fon Williams.
Reid tried his luck again from 20 yards out soon after but his firm rising shot flew narrowly over the bar. Seconds after this chance the visitors went down the other end and scored; a long ball forward was flicked on into the path of Lowe who fired an angled shot past McLaughlin and into the far bottom corner to stun the hosts.
Jason Kennedy saw a volley dip narrowly over the bar and Yeates saw a cross-shot clip the crossbar and go behind for a goal kick after he had stolen a yard on marker Ridehalgh.
Substitute Caleb Folan almost scored a terrific equaliser when he latched onto Meredith’s cross with a powerful header that looked destined for the bottom corner before Fon Williams pulled off an outstanding fingertip save to keep City at bay.
In the last minute of the 5 added on Gary Jones was denied by arguably Tranmere’s best player on the day Fon Williams; A long ball forward was helped on by Folan and Jones got ahead of Goodison before seeing a close range header foiled by the Welsh international goalkeeper.