Chesterfield 0 Bradford City 1
Tony McMahon gave City an early Christmas present with a second half goal that handed Phil Parkinson’s men a deserved three points away at Chesterfield.
McMahon's match-winner came midway through the second period when the midfielder calmly slotted home inside the box after being picked out via a low centre from Billy Clarke.
The goal was a reward for City's patience throughout the game after Chesterfield 'keeper Tommy Lee and the woodwork had denied Phil Parkinson's men on a number of occasions previously.
Clarke and Reid both struck the post during the game while the Irish striker and Hanson also save efforts impressively repelled by the Keighley-born home goalkeeper.
Former City trialist Sylvan Ebanks-Blake had the first shot on target in the game, turning neatly on the edge of the area before forcing Ben Williams into a relatively routine save. The stopper would ultimately go on to register yet another clean sheet to get that particular run going again.
City’s first real chance of the game was one which was a lick of paint away from producing the game’s first goal; McMahon saw a corner cleared back into his path and he crossed a ball into the area which was glanced against the far post by the head of Clarke. Gary Liddle volleyed a follow-up shot towards goal and Tommy Lee held onto the ball.
Liddle worn a black armband during the match following a recent family bereavement.
Seconds later, Clarke controlled a pass superbly before feeding the ball to McMahon and his low cross into the penalty area was turned narrowly wide of the target on the stretch by James Hanson. Had his legs been a couple of inches longer, it would’ve almost certainly been one-nil.
It was Ebanks-Blake that looked the main attacking threat for Chesterfield and Jay O’Shea looked a box of tricks in midfield. The former Wolves and Preston frontman latched onto Liam O’Neil’s cross into the area to direct a header towards goal, but Williams was on hand to hold onto the ball alertly once again.
O’Neil was almost the provider on that occasion and he almost got himself on the scoresheet shortly afterwards; Drew Talbot delivered a cross into the area that McArdle could only head half clear and the former West Bromwich Albion man hammered a volley from 20 yards out which went inches over the bar.
City started the second half on the front foot and McMahon carved an opening once again; his through pass picked out Stephen Darby on the edge of Chesterfield’s 18 yard box and he set the ball back to Kyel Reid who saw a hammer of a shot tipped against the post by Lee.
From the corner that followed, James Hanson powered a header towards goal from close range that Lee somehow kept out - City left scratching their heads at how they had not yet scored in this game of football.
As City continued to look the more likely scorers as the half worn on, Clarke got the better of Ian Evatt to latch onto a bouncing ball and find himself with a clear sight of goal.
Clarke struck low and hard but Lee got a vital touch on the ball to flick it past the far post.
The Bantams threatened again from the corner that followed when Lee spilled Reece Burke's strike on goal. With the ball bobbling around the box, Clarke netted from close range but the goal was disallowed for a foul by McArdle on the Chesterfield custodian.
Parkinson's men weren't waiting for long, however, to see an effort stand.
City took the lead with their next meaningful attack, and it was McMahon on hand to notch another goal. Billy Clarke was one of the stand out performers and he used a great turn of pace to get into the area before cutting the ball back into the path of McMahon who slammed the ball into the roof of the net.
The late goal had the away supporters - just under 1500 in total - in high spirits and they were belting out a rendition of ’12 Parkinsons’ in the latter stages. ’Tis the season to be jolly after all and the win was going a great job to make that the case with Christmas on the festive doorstep.