Notts County 3 Bradford City 0
City began the New Year with a heavy away defeat at the hands of strugglers Notts County in miserable weather conditions at Meadow Lane. Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s first half individual effort put his side in front but The Bantams had their chances but couldn’t ultimately find an equaliser before late goals from Callum McGregor and Jack Grealish sealed the victory for Shaun Derry’s men.
The weather conditions were poor and the pitch was rain-soaked and that almost played a part in an early opening goal for City; James Hanson’s ball forward towards Garry Thompson was spilled by Bartosz Bialkowski and the County stopper had to clear the danger with a rushed long kick forward.
Jason Kennedy really should’ve fired City ahead a few minutes later though but wasted a gilt-edged opportunity. James Meredith’s teasing cross wasn’t dealt with and the ball dropped kindly to him but he scuffed a shot towards goal that proved not to be a problem for Bialkowski.
County came close to opening the scoring through Enoch Showunmi when he brought down Jack Grealish’s cross field pass before firing a low shot inches wide of the target after doing well to hold off his marker.
City’s goalscorer in the last game at home to Swindon Town, Rory McArdle then headed Gary Jones’ in-swinging free-kick straight at Bialkowski; either side of him and it’d surely have been 1-0 to The Bantams.
Inside the 32nd minute, County took the lead. Counter attacking with pace the hosts worked the ball wide to Jamal Campbell-Ryce who ran unchallenged into the area before firing a low shot past Jon McLaughlin.
City seemed to start the second half brightly after a fairly drab first half affair and did go close early on through Hanson as he was inches away from turning Thompson’s knock down home and then McArdle glanced Jones’ free kick inches wide of the bottom corner to let the hosts off the hook somewhat.
The hosts always looked a threat going forward and after Stephen Darby saw an attempted clearance charged down by Grealish, Celtic loanee Callum McGregor then went close with a curling shot that went just wide of the target.
After Kyel Reid had had his run halted unfairly by Andre Boucaud, Bialkowski was almost caught out by Jones’ thunderous free kick that had to be fisted away nervously.
Bartosz Bialkowski had an excellent game in the reverse fixture in late November and was doing so in this match as he made further saves to deny Mark Yeates firm 20 yard drive before pushing Reid’s thunderbolt over the bar after the winger had beaten full back Mustapha Dumbuya.
Following a string of City chances it was Notts who then tried their luck a few times at the other end in attempt to kill the game of as a contest. Campbell-Ryce was denied by an excellent defensive block from McArdle after Showunmi’s cross had fallen to him invitingly inside the area before the former Barnsley winger hit a low shot wide after evading Darby’s sliding tackle attempt.
As City went in search of a late equaliser that left the defence somewhat exposed and that proved to be the case as the hosts counter attacked to score a decisive second goal of the game. Young winger Jack Grealish surged forward before laying the ball on a plate for McGregor to coolly slot past McLaughlin from 10 yards out.
County then got a third to add un unjustifiable gloss to the scoreline when Showunmi showed neat skill to squirm the ball into the path of the impressive Grealish to curl home into the beyond corner leaving McLaughlin helpless.