FC Halifax Town 1 Bradford City 2
The Bantams earned their place in the second round of the FA Cup with an efficient and effective second half display at FC Halifax Town to come back a goal down at half time to record the win.
The hosts started brightly and got a deserved goal but City were transformed after the break and well taken goals from Jon Stead and Filipe Morais proved enough, inspired by half time substitution Billy Clarke, who had an excellent 45 minutes.
Former City youngster Simon Ainge went close inside the opening exchanges as he saw a low shot deflected wide after a corner was only half cleared into his path, a minute later though, the hosts did take the lead. The goal was scored from a set piece, City couldn’t clear a corner and imposing central midfielder Lois Maynard was on hand to smash home from close range.
Maynard had another attempt minutes later as Halifax tried to capitalise on a significant spell of early pressure, his 20 yard volley though it was on target, was tame and was held comfortably by Ben Williams.
Andy Halliday had City’s first real effort of note on the twelfth minute; urged to shoot was the large away following, the Middlesbrough loanee hit a rising shot from 25 yards which went over the bar, failing to test former Bradford goalkeeper Matt Glennon.
Stead had a header that went wide of the target after he’d connected with Stephen Darby’s cross before Halliday had another chance. The Scotsman got himself into a great position the area before cutting inside Ainge and hitting a shot towards goal which was tame enough for Glennon to deal with without any real problems.
The Shaymen’s leading scorer Scott Boden had a real opportunity of piling the pressure on the visitors with a second goal but it was an opportunity he failed to capitalise on. Richard Peniket found a low cross which evaded the City defenders and the former Chesterfield frontman fired over on the turn from around 10 yards out.
Clarke came on at half time for Halliday and he transformed the game immediately. After weaving his way into the area, creating a chance for himself, he saw a low shot saved by Glennon but seconds later, he played a part in the equaliser. A through ball forward saw Stead emerge one on one with Glennon and he confidently rounded the stopper before passing the ball into the empty net.
Just three minutes later another goal came and City took the lead, latching onto Clarke’s lofted ball forward, Morais fired a shot past Glennon from a tight angle and into the far corner to send the away end into delirium.
The Bantams took control of the game from there on really as Halifax were reduced to attempts from range; with Paul Marshall seeing a low shot from outside the area go harmlessly wide and but for Glennon, City could’ve had more goals. Mark Yeates, who’d had another impressive outing, cut inside from the left flank before forcing Glennon into a low save.
Clarke’s performance deserved a goal and he almost got just that, but after racing through on goal ahead of Town’s back line of defence his shot was once again kept at bay by Glennon.
Matty Pearson’s hopeful shot from distance went way over the bar as the hosts looked desperately for an equaliser and they almost did force a replay in the final seconds of the four minutes injury time.
The pressure was piled on City late on and after they failed to fully clear their lines following a few set pieces in which Halifax were a real threat, Maynard saw a goal bound shot diverted round the post by an important block from Darby.