The Bantams fell to defeat at the first hurdle of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as substitute Jordan Bove’s late strike proved decisive.
After a quiet both half for both teams, City probably edged the second half on general play and chances with Mark Yeates striking a post with a 20 yard drive.
The much talked about vanishing spray took 70 minutes to make an appearance and in the 88th minute Oldham academy product Jordan Bove scored what proved to be the winner after Jordan Pickford had denied Carl Winchester.
Phil Parkinson made a number of changes to the side that won a few miles down the road at Rochdale last weekend, five in total. James Hanson and Mason Bennett dropped to the bench in place of Oliver McBurnie and Aaron Mclean respectively with Christopher Routis coming in at centre half for his debut in a City shirt. Mark Yeates came in for Filipe Morais, James Meredith began the night at left midfield, and Billy Knott dropped to the bench with Gary Liddle not making the squad for the game, the management team opting to rest him completely.
The first half was not a very eventful one but City almost took the lead in the early stages; Alan Sheehan, who played his part in both of Saturday’s goals, delivered a teasing corner which was met by the head of Oliver McBurnie but his effort went just wide of the target.
Matty Dolan was dispossessed by Danny Philliskirk and the latter continued forward before firing a low drive on goal that Pickford held well but Dolan was up the other end a few minutes later trying to get on the scoresheet himself. After latching onto the loose ball he fired a low shot a yard or so wide of the target from 20 yards.
James Dayton went close for the hosts after Winchester had done all the groundwork and picked him out with a pass on the edge of the area which then allowed him to turn and curl a shot just wide of Pickford’s far post.
City had another half chance before the first half was over and done with as the ever present Jason Kennedy peeled off his marker at the far post to head Alan Sheehan’s cross over the bar.
Kennedy was himself involved in City’s quick start to the second half and after again latching onto a Sheehan cross he saw a vicious goal bound shot blocked bravely in the area by former Southampton left back Joseph Mills. Another half chance came in the way of Kennedy a few minutes later after Mclean’s cross had fallen into his path but his effort was this time blocked by George Elokobi.
With the Bantams seemingly in the ascendancy, Mark Yeates came the closest anybody had come all game to breaking the deadlock when his low 20 yard drive cannoned off the post after Oli McBurnie had picked him out in space outside the area.
After a little spell of pressure from the hosts, they couldn’t quite break a resilient back four down so Carl Winchester tried his luck with a dipping half volley from long range that was held alertly by Pickford.
The world recognised vanishing spray made a 70th minute appearance following exploits in the World Cup and recent Premier League games; it had obviously been present on referee Scott Mathieson all game but it had took most of the game for it to finally appear, and it was met with a warming cheer by the 2 and half thousand fans inside the ground.
James Hanson was introduced as a substitute with twenty minutes remaining and he was ultimately to have his effect on the game; after going close with a header that went narrowly wide, he then lost possession in his own half to Liam Kelly who fed the ball to Winchester, he saw a shot from a tight angle pushed away by Pickford but Jordan Bove made no mistake firing into the roof of the net from six yards out; a real sucker punch for City who had been the probably better side in the second half and never looked under too much of a threat.
There was still time for Mason Bennett to go close in the third minute of injury time but after latching into Hanson’s knock down he saw a shot blocked from close range that would’ve surely forced the best from Paul Rachubka at a bare minimum.