Bradford City 2 Shrewsbury Town 1
Despite going behind to an early goal and losing talismanic striker Nahki Wells to injury in the first half, City dug in to snatch a dramatic victory. Tom Bradshaw’s header in the 2nd minute gave the visitors the best possible start but a second half goal from man of the match Kyel Reid brought the teams level before James Hanson sealed victory for The Bantams with the last kick of the game deep into injury time.
Barely 90 seconds into the game Graham Turner’s men scored to stun the home crowd; a mix up between Kyel Reid and James Meredith allowed 19 year old winger Ryan Woods to get in behind and his far post cross was knocked down by Middlesbrough loanee Adam Reach to leave Tom Bradshaw with a simple close range headed finish.
It was far from an ideal start to the game from the home team’s point of view and Wells forced Chris Weale into a comfortable save with a free kick after Gary Jones had been fouled just outside the 18 yard box.
On the 23rd minute leading scorer Wells was replaced by Mark Yeates after he was caught firmly by Dave Winfield when he’d beaten him to a loose ball yet the returning Shrews centre half escaped without a booking.
The visitors seemed spurred on by the loss of Wells and stepped up the intensity of their play; Luke Summerfield tested Jon McLaughlin with a free kick that he held at the second time of asking.
Town had the ball in the net again coming up to the half time interval – though the goal rightly didn’t stand. Bradshaw’s shot from 18 yards deflected into the air and McLaughlin did well to hold the ball on his goal line but Curtis Main bundled McLaughlin and the ball over the line but the referee pulled play back for an obvious foul on the City stopper.
City had been below par in the first half but almost grabbed a terrific equaliser shortly after; Reid robbed Connor Goldson of possession following the full back’s hesitancy and he surged forward before forcing the best out of Weale with a shot that looked destined for the top corner.
The Bantams began the half very much on the front foot as they looked to force their way back into the game but a thunderbolt of a long range free kick from Winfield almost doubled Shrewsbury’s lead against the run of play but the ball went a yard or so wide.
Kyel Reid’s low cross caused mayhem in Town’s area as they failed to deal with it, fortunately for them the ball passed by Mark Yeates and Hanson couldn’t quite scramble the ball home.
On the hour though City did draw level; Yeates did well to get to the by-line before his low pull back found Reid in the area who evaded a defender before slamming the ball home from close range with his weaker right foot.
The Bantams were on top now and Yeates forced Weale into a smart save after he’d turned away from Winfield excellently with his back to goal on the edge of the area.
A few minutes later Town almost went back in front; Darren Jones’ ball over the top went over the head of Andrew Davies and Bradshaw raced through on goal, McLaughlin instantly made the angle tight and the Welshman lacked composure as he scooped his shot over the bar.
Hanson forced Weale into another smart save with a low drive from the edge of the area and Yeates free kick was kept out excellently by him a few minutes later after Winfield was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Shrewsbury finally cracked under pressure deep, deep into injury time. City were desperately trying to carve an opening and when James Meredith’s hopeful ball forward dropped in the area the ball bounced around before dropping to Hanson who cannoned the ball off the post an in to send the stadium into absolute eruption.