Peterborough sent City to defeat this Saturday in a tight and keenly-fought contest at the ABAX Stadium.
The Bantams started the game brightly and Nottingham Forest loanee Oliver Burke twice went close but the half fizzled out and the hosts went on to score twice in the second half to record three points.
A goal which looked to have bounced in off the unfortunate Stephen Darby following Jon Taylor’s free kick gave Posh the lead and the points were wrapped up from the penalty spot by Michael Bostwick after Billy Knott had been harshly adjudged to have handled in the area.
The Bantams started to the game at a high pace and were intent on getting at the hosts’ back line straight away. Andy Halliday got beyond the full back Michael Smith before seeing a low centre put precariously behind by Kgosi Ntlhe. From the following Billy Knott corner, the ball was headed half clear but only as far as Oliver Burke who hammered a shot from an angle just inside the area half a yard wide of the target.
Jordan Pickford was forced into action shortly after; Luke James cut inside from the left hand side onto his favoured right foot before hammering a low shot from just inside the area that was tipped round the post by the Sunderland loanee stopper to keep the hosts at bay.
A minute or so later the hosts went close again, this time through Gabriel Zakuani; from Joe Newell’s floated corner into the area, the big Congolese centre half rose highest to connect with a header but his effort went inches wide of the target.
Burke had another decent chance in an end to end beginning to the game. Stephen Darby’s throw in was controlled by Jon Stead and he cut the ball back to Burke who went for a curler on his left foot which went close to finding the top corner but he was denied a first professional goal on this occasion.
The first half of the opening period was full of chances and even Alan Sheehan was forward from left back to have his try at getting on the score sheet. Halliday had the beating of Smith once again to get into the area and his back-heel allowed Sheehan the chance to shoot, but his angled drive was held by Ben Alnwick.
The remainder of the first half remained very much a non-event in terms of chances at either end, however, and it was the hosts who had the early chances in the second half. Peterborough though, almost took the lead in bizarre fashion, Pickford’s attempted clearance following Darby’s pass back to him, was charged down by Kyle Vassell but fortunately the ball bounced wide of the target.
After Bostwick had gone close for Peterborough with a low, curling shot that went wide, Peterborough took the lead. Andrew Davies was penalised for what looked a harsh free kick against James and Taylor’s resulting delivery into the area wasn’t dealt with by Pickford and the ball found the net, seemingly bouncing in off Darby.
City responded well to going behind for a brief spell and Billy Clarke went close with a shot-cross from out wide which dropped onto the roof of the net after he’d ghosted past Joe Newell on the right flank.
Posh wasted a glorious chance of doubling their advantage just after the hour mark; Taylor was looking lively on the right hand side and he found space on Sheehan to deliver a low centre which was met by James who prodded towards goal but the power in his attempt was lacking and Pickford held with relative ease.
Phil Parkinson responded with the introduction of Mark Yeates and Francois Zoko from the bench as City looked to claw their way back into a game that they weren’t playing particularly well in.
Halliday missed a gilt edged chance of scoring the equalising goal with only four minutes of normal time left on the clock; Clarke engineered some space and he floated a cross towards the edge of the area but the Scotsman could only hit a volley comfortably over the bar when it was a big chance to test Alnwick.
In the 90th minute the points were made safe for the home side; a penalty was awarded by the referee Mr. G Horwood after Knott had been deemed to have handled as he looked to control the ball in the area. Up stepped Bostwick to slam the ball past Pickford from the penalty spot.
Clarke wasted a chance to claw back some parity with virtually the last kick of the game after Alnwick had punched Sheehan’s cross into his path but as he looked to attempt a half volley from the edge of the area, he failed to connect with the ball and the visitors cleared to safety.