Bradford City 3 Leyton Orient 1
The Bantams gained a valuable three points against lowly Leyton Orient to record their first home victory since early October.
Billy Knott gave City the lead just before the break for his first goal since August but were pegged back with 15 minutes to go as David Mooney, on as a substitute, calmly slotted in the equaliser.
Chris Dagnall was given his marching orders for a ferocious challenge on Knott and City duly capitalised with goals in quick succession from Billy Clarke and Jon Stead confirming the victory.
Phil Parkinson made just one change to the side that were held by Gillingham last weekend; the injured Filipe Morais was replaced by Billy Knott who came in to start at centre midfield with Andy Halliday being pushed out to right midfield.
City almost went ahead in as early as the fifth minute through Mark Yeates; Jon Stead produced a neat flick into the six yard box which was only half cleared by Elliot Omozusi and Yeates composed himself before hitting a dipping shot from 10 yards which went narrowly over Adam Legzdins’ bar.
Orient, themselves had a chance early in the game with Italian duo Andrea Dossena and Gianvito Plasmati linked up well down the left hand side. Dossena found space on the left flank to pick a pass infield to his compatriot who dragged a shot wide of the target from 18 yards out.
Billy Clarke had his first chance of the game in the twentieth minute; Yeates’ corner was only half cleared and Gary Liddle headed the ball back into the mix for Clarke to glance towards goal, but Legzdins was alert and held the ball well.
On the day, there were some excellent performances and Jon Stead was one who had an eye catching display and he created a chance for himself after stepping away from Josh Wright before hitting a low shot wide of the mark.
There were appeals for a penalty by the crowd and Bradford players alike after Scott Cuthbert had looked to have blocked Clarke’s shot with a stray arm but the referee Darren Handley decided to award just a corner kick, dismissing the appeals.
City had made a positive start to the game and were probably the better of the two teams in the first half; Billy Clarke almost profited after latching onto a stray pass but after getting into the 18 yard box his firm drive was pushed away by Legzdins.
Yeates almost went close to a goal that seemed to be coming with an arrowed shot that went inches over the bar from 20 yards out but the goal came a couple of minutes later. Andy Halliday lofted a pass into the area which Stead latched onto and the Huddersfield loanee squared for Knott to tap in from a couple of yards out.
Orient were matching City in the early parts of the second half but it was still the hosts creating the chances. Stead had shot from the edge of the area that went wide of the target after he’d controlled a pass and created a yard form himself to try his luck and Yeates had a shot seconds later, his effort though was quite tame and was dealt with comfortably by Legzdins.
Yeates had another opportunity to get on the score sheet shortly after but after he’d latched onto Stead’s intelligent pass to him on the overlap he could only produce a shot that didn’t have the power to beat Legzdins who held without any concerns.
The game really sparked to life in the final 20 minutes or so with incidents galore. Andy Halliday headed towards goal with Legzdins pushing his attempt onto the post and after Clarke went down under the close attentions of Cuthbert with the rest of the back four spectators, Orient went up the other end and found an equaliser. Clarke was very unhappy with the decision to not award a penalty, he clearly felt there he was tripped by Cuthbert who had got lucky with a penalty appeal in the first half.
Orient’s equaliser came through substitute David Mooney; Rory McArdle mis-controlled the ball, allowing Mooney to go through on goal and he produced an excellently composed finish into the bottom corner to beat Jordan Pickford who had been otherwise been generally untroubled in the game.
Chris Dagnall was given a straight red card shortly after for a seemingly reckless challenge on Knott that was right under the referee’s nose and he didn’t take long to make up his mind on the decision.
The Bantams capitalised on the numerical advantage quickly and had their noses in front only 4 minutes after conceding the equaliser; James Meredith hit a low first time cross into the area that made its way to the far post where Clarke was on hand to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
Two minutes later and City had the lead doubled; Stead charged down Legzdins’ attempted clearance and cut inside onto his left foot to plant the ball into the bottom corner of the barely guarded Orient goal.
Substitute Jobi McAnuff wasted a glorious opportunity to bring his side back into the contest with 7 minutes left on the clock; Liddle’s wayward pass was picked up by Dean Cox who played in the Jamaica international but he made a mess of his attempt, slicing wide and over from a tight angle.
City went onto the record the victory under little threat late on from a depleted Orient side who stayed outside the relegation zone on goal difference after defeat.