Sheffield United 3 Bradford City 1
The Bantams rounded off their fixtures for the calendar year of 2015 with a defeat in South Yorkshire at the hands of Sheffield United. Home favourite Billy Sharp fired the hosts into the lead with a low drive from outside the box. Phil Parkinson’s men were unfortunate to be behind at the break but two goals in quick succession all but wrapped up the win for United in the second period. City found the net late on as Gary Liddle glanced Tony McMahon’s corner in at the near post but it wasn’t enough to avoid a defeat in a festive Yorkshire derby.
With what was the first real opening in the game, United took the lead in the eleventh minute. Former Leeds United frontman Sharp was allowed the space to turn on the ball 25 yards from goal before unleashing an unstoppable low drive with beat Ben Williams and nestled into the bottom corner.
It was City who were to ultimately have the better of the chances in the first half; shortly after Sharp opened the scoring, Lee Evans saw a half volley from the edge of the area go narrowly over the bar after he had been teed up by Billy Clarke.
The Wolves loanee tried his luck again from a similar distance, was once again Clarke who made the opening, but this time his attempt was blocked superbly by Martyn Woolford.
Clarke was fouled just outside the box to hand a sight of goal to the free kick takers in the team. Usually McMahon would be the option to try his luck but Evans stepped up to curl one towards the top corner but George Long was equal to it with a fantastic save to tip the ball round the post.
Despite the chances for City, United certainly should’ve doubled their lead on the stroke of half time. Sharp got the better of Greg Leigh on the right flank before delivering an inch perfect cross into the box and onto the head of substitute Conor Sammon but the Irish forward somehow missed the target.
City started the second half quite well and Kyel Reid saw a shot from 20 yards on his weaker right go a yard or so wide of the target after James Hanson had diverted a forward pass into his path.
Following this little spell by the visitors though, it was United that began to crank up the pressure.
Woolford exchanged passes with Sammon before dragging a shot wide of the target from 15 yards before United doubled their lead shortly afterwards.
Paul Coutts engineered himself some space down the right flank and his fizzing low cross into the area and Sammon manage to just beat Stephen Darby to the ball to fire home from close range.
Reid attempted an angled thunderbolt from 25 yards, which went inches over the bar before the home side, still with their tails up, got on the score-sheet for a third time.
Woolford retrieved a ball on the right hand side before clipping a cross into the area which was steered into the bottom corner by the head of David Edgar who was forward from the back.
Phil Parkinson made all three substitutions within the space of seven minutes - James Meredith, Billy Knott and Devante Cole all coming into the fray for the final part of the match - as the City chief looked to change his side's fortunes.
Returning to one of his formers clubs, McMahon had a couple of efforts on goal late on, his first coming from a low cross-come-shot from wide that was pushed out by Long.
The young Blades goalkeeper then expertly tipped the ball over the bar after McMahon's free kick from outside the box took a slight deflection off the wall before looping towards goal.
From the resulting corner, McMahon picked up his tenth assist of the season when his delivery was glanced home via the head of Liddle after a smart near post run from the midfielder.
Substitute Cole came within a couple of inches of finding the net in deep into injury time but his curling shot was a fraction away from finding the top corner after the striker had cut inside from the left flank.