Sky Bet League 1
Bradford City 1 (Clarke 57)
Kick Off: 3.00pm
at the Proact Stadium
Attendance: 6,809 (1,136 visitors)
Birthday boy Billy Clarke netted a stunning winner to secure City victory over ten-man Chesterfield.
Clarke, who celebrated his 27th birthday this Saturday, extended City's recent unbeaten run to six games with a fierce strike from just outside the box shortly before the hour mark.
The goal was Clarke's third in his last three games and it now moves the attacker up level with James Hanson as City's top scorer.
The Irishman could easily have added an assist to his superb goal only six minutes later but strike-partner Jon Stead somehow hit the outside of the post from close range with the goal gaping following Clarke's ball across the six yard box.
City then had another quality chance to extend their lead less than sixty seconds later when Stead's cross-field pass was misjudged by Chesterfield defender Sam Clucas.
Clucas' error left Filipe Morais in on goal with only Tommy Lee to beat but the Chesterfield shot-stopper made himself big to deny the Portuguese winger during the one-on-one situation.
Clarke's goal and City's two near-misses came after Chesterfield midfielder Sam Morsy had needlessly got himself sent off for striking the recalled Andy Halliday with a stray arm to the back of his head.
Morsy's red card came at the start of the second period following a first half at Chesterfield's Proact Stadium which probably could have been deemed as evenly fought although City perhaps created the better chances.
Clarke saw a header from inside the area go narrowly over the bar early into the contest, while the attacker was also only inches from latching onto Mark Yeates' cross-come-shot that flashed across goal later in the half.
With City unable to finish off ten-man Chesterfield in the second period despite the two promising openings from Stead and Morais, Phil Parkinson's men had to see out periods of Chesterfield pressure before they could celebrate the win.
Chesterfield's best chance of coming back into the contest came twenty minutes from the end when Jay O'Shea found himself in shooting space inside the box but his fierce rising angled drive was superbly tipped over by a fine reaction save from Jordan Pickford.
Aided by Pickford's impressive stop, City held on to collect the fifth win out of their last six matches and move only a single point away from the Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off places.
FT: Chesterfield 0 Bradford City 1
90+5min: YELLOW CARD - Pickford is booking for taking too long over a goal-kick.
90+3min: Boco cuts inside on his left foot from a right wing position before driving in a low strike from the edge of the area that Pickford holds onto.
90+2min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Francois Zoko for Clarke.
90min: There will be six minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
89min: Stretching back to reach Yeates' corner delivery, Davies sends a looping header onto the top of Lee's net.
88min: SUB - Chesterfield bring on Gboly Ariyibi for Roberts.
86min: YELLOW CARD - Although initially allowing play to continue, referee Mr Ilderton books Roberts during the next break in play for a foul on Knott.
84min: SUB - The Bantams bring on James Hanson for Stead.
83min: SUBS - Romuald Boco and Dan Gardner come on for Chesterfield for Darikwa and O'Shea respectively.
80min: YELLOW CARD - Clarke is cautioned for the knocking the ball away after being given offside midway into Chesterfield's half of the pitch.
73min: YELLOW CARD - Davies is booked for kicking the ball away following the award of a free-kick for a handball against Gary Liddle just inside City's half of the pitch.
72min: Roberts picks up Gnanduillet's knock down before curling a low effort towards goal from just outside the box that Pickford gathers up with a save to his right.
71min: After picking up Yeates' cross-field ball and turning away from Clucas, Stead tries a low drive from distance but the effort lacks the power or placement to trouble Lee.
70min: Doyle feeds the ball into the path of O'Shea, who is positioned in a pocket of space inside City's penalty area. O'Shea fires for goal but his rising angled drive is sent over the bar via the fingertips of Pickford. Fine stop from the Bantams 'keeper there!
70min: A short corner routine from Chesterfield allows Darikwa the chance to get the ball in the Bantams' box. City struggle to clear their lines following the cross but they eventually do after a couple of nervy moments.
66min: Doyle wriggles clear of the attentions of Meredith but his cross into the middle from Chesterfield's left flank to repelled by a diving block from McArdle by the near post.
64min: City miss out on another great chance to score! Stead's angled ball across the pitch is missed by Clucas, allowing Morais to take the pass on the chest and face clear for goal. Morais only has Lee to beat but the winger's strike for goal is repelled by the frame of the home shot-stopper.
63min: What a miss from Stead! Clarke fires the ball across the six yard box, giving Stead seemingly a simple tap in from close range. The striker fails to get a clear connection on the ball, however, and his scuffed side-foot bounces wide off the outside of the post.
62min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Billy Knott for Halliday.
57min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Chesterfield 0 Bradford City 1 - What a goal by birthday boy Clarke! After picking up Rory McArdle's long ball forward, Clarke, who turns 27 today, spins into shooting space before letting rip with a stunning drive from outside the area that whistles into the far top corner of the goal.
51min: YELLOW CARD - Halliday is booked for catching O'Shea with a late tackle around 25 yards from City's goal over by the near touchline.
50min: Halliday is eventually able to continue after receiving treatment following Morsy's unnecessary whack to his head.
48min: RED CARD - Morsy is sent off for catching Halliday in the back of the head with a high arm as the Bantams loanee went to pass the ball out to Yeates on City's left flank.
47min: Morsy's teasing ball into the area flashes across goal, narrowly misses the diving frame of Roberts in the middle.
46min: Chesterfield restart the match.
HT: Chesterfield 0 Bradford City 0
45min: There will be one minute of time added on at the end of the first half.
40min: Yeates cuts inside from his left flank area and moves into a shooting position but the Irishman's angled drive from inside the box flies wide of Lee's far post.
38min: Halliday drives for goal from around 25 yards out and his effort bends narrowly wide of Lee's goal.
37min: Chesterfield try a low corner routine into the edge of City's area from the following set-piece but O'Shea's delivery is not met properly by either Doyle or Morsy, allowing City to break dangerously with Clarke. With City having the numbers advantage and Morais in a good amount of space to his right, Clarke instead elects to feed the ball left into the path of Yeates and the Irishman's cross into the middle is headed behind by a recovering Clucas.
36min: O'Shea tries his luck from outside the area and his drive for goal is deflected over for a corner.
30min: Morais and Clucas both receive a talking to from referee Eddie Illerton after the pair appeared to tangle on the ground when the Portuguese winger's momentum had taken him into the Chesterfield player as he tried to close him down, knocking them both to the floor.
26min: James Meredith heads out a Roberts cross into the area but Jimmy Ryan is lurking and waiting for the loose ball. Ryan takes aim from around 20 yards out but his low drive is held at the second attempt by Pickford.
23min: Gliding past a couple of Chesterfield players, Yeates drives towards the host's penalty area before seeing his curling effort from just outside the box deflected wide of Lee's far post for a corner.
20min: Sam Clucas' driving run eventually sees the makeshift left back feed the ball into the area for O'Shea, who in turn flicks on for the lurking Eoin Doyle. The Chesterfield forward tries to dab for goal from close range but Jordan Pickford is able to gather up and end the danger.
16min: O'Shea's hanging cross is headed over by a stretching Gnanduillet around eight yards out.
15min: A poor attempted clearance by Margreitter drops at the feet of Yeates inside Chesterfield's area. The Bantams winger fires a cross-come-shot across goal and a stretching Clarke can't quite reach the ball for a tap-in in the middle.
14min: Jay O'Shea gets the better of Gary Liddle over on City's right flank before standing up a cross that Armand Gnanduillet heads over from just outside the six yard box.
13min: A forceful run from the middle of the park by Sam Morsy eventually sees the midfielder feed Gary Roberts into crossing space deep inside City's penalty area. The winger looks to fizz the ball across City's six yard box but Stephen Darby is well positioned at the near post to block the ball out for a corner.
9min: Jon Stead goes down inside the area following Georg Margreitter's attempted challenge. There are a couple of mild appeals for a penalty from some of Stead's team-mates but there seem to be not too much in the incident and play continues.
6min: Mark Yeates' in-swinging cross on his favoured right foot finds Billy Clarke deep inside Chesterfield's penalty area and striker heads narrowly over the bar from around seven yards out.
3min: Andy Halliday's short corner to Filipe Morais allows the Portuguese winger to get a cross into the box but Andrew Davies' header for goal is held with relative ease by a diving Tommy Lee.
0min: The Bantams kick off the match.
CHESTERFIELD LINE UP:
Lee, Darikwa, Raglan, Margreitter, Clucas, Morsy, Ryan, O'Shea, Doyle, Roberts, Gnanduillet
Subs: Wright, Hird, Gardner, Humphreys, Boco, Evatt, Ariyibi
Boco for Darikwa (83), Gardner for O'Shea (83), Ariyibi for Roberts (88)
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP:
Pickford, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Meredith, Morais, Halliday, Liddle, Yeates, Clarke, Stead
Subs: Williams, Sheehan, Hanson, Knott, Zoko, Kennedy, Routis
Bradford City cautions:
Halliday (51), Davies (73), Clarke (80), Pickford (90+5)
Bradford City changes:
Knott for Halliday (62), Hanson for Stead (84), Zoko for Clarke (90+2)
Referee: E Ilderton
Assistant Referee: P Graham
Assistant Referee: J Hull
Fourth Official: M Jones