James Hanson’s first half double proved enough to hand The Bantams their seventh away league victory of the season. Hanson struck his first in emphatic style; latching onto Mark Yeates’ intelligent ball over the top, he rifled a volley past Alex Cisak with his weaker right foot. Eleven minutes after the first, just after the half hour, Hanson scored with a more conventional glancing header to give Phil Parkinson’s men what proved to be an unassailable lead. Orient had a much brighter second half but they couldn’t find a way past a resilient Bradford side.
Phil Parkinson made three changes to the team that were victorious in the FA Cup against Sunderland at the weekend; Jordan Pickford came in to retain his usual place in goal ahead of Ben Williams.
It was Orient who made a brighter start to the game in the opening minutes and after Dean Cox had seen a volley from the edge of the area dealt with assuringly by Jordan Pickford, David Mooney went down in the area after what looked a push in the back by Andrew Davies; fortunately for the visitors, referee Trevor Kettle wasn’t interested.
There was a massive chance for the hosts which came a couple of minutes before City took the lead and it was Vincelot and Mooney who went close. Elliott Omozusi picked out the run of Vincelot who hammered a shot against the bar before Mooney’s goal bound rebound was deflected round the post by Davies.
With the game looking in the balance, with the hosts perhaps having a little more of play in their opponents final third, City took the lead. Mark Yeates gathered the ball on the right hand side and lofted an intelligent ball in behind Orient’s back line, James Hanson took the ball on the chest and allowed a single bounce before rifling a half volley past Cisak and into the roof of the net emphatically on his weaker right foot.
Confidence seemed to drain from the lowly hosts and City capitalised on this with a second goal and it was Hanson on the scoresheet with his 11th goal of the season. After the big man was fouled by Nathan Clarke, Filipe Morais delivered a teasing free kick into the area and Hanson expertly glanced the ball into the bottom corner.
Orient were clearly having their chances, they were just being wasteful with their opportunities, whilst City were being ruthless in front of goal. Cox hammered a shot over the bar down one end as Filipe Morais tried an audacious 25 yard drive down the other that went only a yard or so wide of finding Cisak’s top corner.
Phil Parkinson made a half time double substitution as James Hanson was replaced by Francois Zoko and Andrew Davies was replaced by Gary MacKenzie - after the game, the substitutions were described by the manager as precautionary and both were hamstring strains that couldn’t ideally be risked further.
Zoko, only on a matter of minutes after his arrival from the bench, missed a glorious opportunity to score his first in a Bradford shirt and the third goal of the game. Andy Halliday did well to win the ball back high up the pitch before playing Yeates into the area; the Irishman squared to Zoko but he delayed his effort and Jamie Lowry took the ball off his toe - Cisak still had to make a smart save to keep Billy Clarke’s venomous follow up at bay.
The hosts had a decent chance to bring themselves back into the game on the hour mark; MacKenzie headed the ball clear but only half clear and Mooney escaped the attentions of McArdle in the area, before seeing his shot from a tight angle blocked away by Stephen Darby who had a real captain’s performance, leading by example all evening long.
You could sense the frustration growing and growing all over the ground as the hosts looked to dig themselves out of a deep hole that they’d fallen into in the first half; Bradley Pritchard’s shot from the edge of the area that found row Z just about summed that point up really.
Jobi McAnuff and Josh Wright were introduced as substitutes as Orient’s Italian manager Fabio Liverani looked to tactically work his way back into the contest and it was Wright who played a part in his team’s next decent goal scoring chance. The former Millwall midfielder threaded a ball into the area, one time City loanee Chris Dagnall latched onto it but his placed attempt was held well by Pickford.
Another substitute Ryan Hedges saw a dipping free kick from distance pushed round the post by Pickford before Orient will have been left in disbelief at somehow not scoring with their next chance. Romain Vincelot knocked Wright’s corner down into the path of Dagnall and his goal bound effort from close range was blocked on the line by Morais to keep Pickford’s clean sheet in tact.
Elliott Omozusi and Shane Lowry had half chances that failed to find the target as Orient looked out of ideas and City looked content to defend their two goal lead. Despite four minutes of injury time at the end of the ninety, the hosts couldn’t break down a resilient back line as City held on for an impressive win, and their seventh on the road in League 1 this season.