Sunday 3 May 2015
Sky Bet League 1
Crewe Alexandra 0
Bradford City 1 (Clarke 23)
Kick Off: 12:15pm
at the Alexandra Stadium
Attendance: 7,608 (1,215 visitors)
Billy Clarke's winner at Crewe Alexandra was enough to ensure Phil Parkinson's Bantams finished the 2014/2015 campaign in seventh place in the Sky Bet League 1 table.
Clarke's fourteenth goal of the season midway into the first period gave Parkinson's men their ninth away win in the league and made sure of City's highest finish in the football pyramid since 2004.
The Irishman found the net for the Bantams when Tony McMahon's free-kick into the area from deep deflected into his path off Anthony Grant and the striker lashed a low drive into the far bottom corner.
Crewe's Lauri Dalla Valle could have enjoyed a clear chance of an equaliser on the half hour mark but a recovering Rory McArdle produced a well-timed tackle to deny the Finn just as he looked through on Ben Williams' goal.
In response, City had a decent opportunity to double their lead five minutes later but James Hanson fired over on the turn after latching onto Jon Stead's low ball into the box.
The first opening of the second period fell Crewe's way but Williams stood strong to repel Jon Guthrie from close range after Harry Davis' free-kick from deep had bounced into the defender's path.
As tensions increased around the Alexandra Stadium due to results elsewhere, Hanson then fired over on the half volley from inside the box just before the hour after James Meredith's cross had dropped into his path.
With seventeen minutes of time to play and Crewe in the relegation zone by this stage, Stead was denied the chance to seemingly seal the points for City when his fierce rising drive from inside the box was superbly tipped over Paul Rachubka.
Crewe pushed for an equaliser as the clock ticked away to put their destiny back in their own hands but City continued to stay professional to the very end to see out the game and the win.
As it happens, an 88th minute leveller from Gillingham rescued Crewe to enable the Railwaymen to keep their spot in England's third tier for another year. Gillingham's late intervention - something which eventually saw them win 3-1 - instead consigned opponents Notts County to relegation.
FT Crewe Alexandra 0 Bradford City 1
90+4min: Halliday's low cross into the six yard box is diverted just past his own near post by the out-stretched boot of George Ray.
90+3min: YELLOW CARD - Davis is booked for tugging back Stead as the forward looked to burst clear into Crewe's penalty area.
90+2min: Colclough goes down under McArdle's challenge inside the area but no penalty is given, much to the annoyance of the home support.
90+1min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Andy Halliday for Routis.
90min: There will be four minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
86min: Colclough and Ness work a short corner with the latter eventually firing in a rising angled drive from just outside the box that flashes just over the top corner.
86min: YELLOW CARD - Stead is booked for kicking the ball away after being flagged for offside.
85min: SUB - Crewe bring on Uche Ikpeazu for Marcus Haber.
85min: YELLOW CARD - Grant is booked for clipping Stead as the striker knocked the ball past him and looked to move into Crewe's half of the pitch.
83min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Alan Sheehan for Clarke.
83min: YELLOW CARD - Clarke is booked for tripping Turton from behind as the Crewe defender moved into City's territory.
78min: YELLOW CARD - Despite letting play continue, match official Tony Harrington books McMahon during the next break in play for dragging back Grant as Crewe broke forward into City's half of the pitch.
77min: Ajose looks to race clear onto a ball forward to leave him through on goal but Williams is just out ahead of him to snap hold of possession.
77min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Gary Liddle for Matthew Dolan.
73min: Clarke's low cross into the area is mis-controlled by Grant, leading the ball to dropping into the path of Stead. The striker fires for goal with some venom from midway into Crewe's box but the rising drive is superbly tipped over by Rachubka.
69min: SUB - Crewe bring on Nicky Ajose for Jones.
68min: Grant side-foots for goal from just outside the area but his effort is held by Williams.
67min: Rachubka picks the ball up inside his own area after Jones had seemingly deliberately passed it back to him. There are some shouts of 'pass back' from the away end but nothing is given.
62min: Davis glances a header wide of the far post following Turton's free-kick delivery from wide into the area.
61min: SUB - Crewe bring on Jamie Ness for Guthrie.
58min: Meredith's cross into the area is headed out only as far as the lurking Hanson but the striker fires over on the half volley from around fourteen yards out.
55min: After being fed the ball by Oliver Turton, Colclough tries to beat Williams at his near post but his driven angled drive is repelled by the Bantams shot-stopper before Davies can kick clear from the area.
50min: Harry Davis' long ball into the area from a deep free-kick eventually drops into the path of Jon Guthrie but the defender's poke for goal is blocked from close range by Williams.
46min: The Bantams restart the match.
HT: Crewe Alexandra 0 Bradford City 1
45min: There will be one minute of time added on at the end of the first half.
39min: James Jones' effort on goal from a direct free kick around 25 yards out is held first time by Williams moving away to his right.
35min: Stead lays the ball invitingly across the box towards Hanson but the striker scoops over the bar with a first time shot on the turn from around ten yards out.
30min: Dalla Valle bursts past Rory McArdle and into the area to find himself one-on-one with Williams. Just as the Finnish striker slows down to compose himself, however, McArdle gets back to nip the ball off his toes with a recovery tackle and Stephen Darby can clear the danger.
29min: Ryan Colclough moves in-field to shift the ball onto his favoured right foot but the attacker's low drive from outside the area rolls comfortably wide of Williams' near post.
27min: The ball drops kindly into the path of Lauri Dalla Valle just inside the area but the Finnish striker's low angled drive flashes just wide of Ben Williams' near post.
26min: After receiving the ball direct from a James Meredith throw-in, McMahon's cross-come-shot from wide bounces awkwardly in front of Rachubka before a relieved Crewe shot-stopper can gather up the ball at the second attempt.
23min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!! - Crewe Alexandra 0 Bradford City 1 - Clarke further extends his lead at the top of City's scoring charts with the opener! McMahon's wide free-kick from deep into the box is initially glanced on by Clarke before hitting the frame of Anthony Grant. The ball then drops nicely back into Clarke's path before the striker fires low into the far bottom corner from around fourteen yards out.
22min: The ball bounces across Christopher Routis' path about 25 yards out and the Frenchman's resulting effort on goal on the half volley goes not too far over the bar.
19min: McMahon's free-kick from deep is headed across goal by Andrew Davies but Stead's following touch on the ball from around six yards out loops up and onto the roof of Rachubka's net.
18min: Matthew Dolan's ball into the box is only cleared as far as the lurking Jon Stead but the striker's rising drive from just outside the area flashes over Rachubka's bar.
5min: Tony McMahon's ball forward is cushioned back into the path of Billy Clarke by James Hanson but the Irish striker's effort on the half-volley from around 20 yards out sails comfortably over Paul Rachubka's crossbar.
0min: The Bantams have seemingly won the toss and have turned Crewe around, meaning the hosts will kick off first and attack towards their home kop in the first period.
CREWE ALEXANDRA LINE UP:
Rachubka, Davis, Ray, Guthrie, Turton, Jones, Grant, Leigh, Dalla Valle, Haber, Colclough
Subs: Garratt, Cooper, Nolan, Ness, Stewart, Ikpeazu, Ajose
Crewe Alexandra cautions:
Grant (85), Davis (90+4)
Crewe Alexandra changes:
Ness for Guthrie (61), Ajose for Jones (69), Ikpeazu for Haber (85)
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP:
Williams, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Meredith, McMahon, Routis, Dolan, Clarke, Hanson, Stead
Subs: Urwin, Sheehan, Liddle, Halliday, Webb-Foster, Mottley-Henry, Brennan
Bradford City cautions:
McMahon (78), Clarke (83), Stead (86)
Bradford City changes:
Liddle for Dolan (77), Sheehan for Clarke (83), Halliday for Routis (90+1)
Referee: Tony Harrington
Assistant Referee: Paul Hodskinson
Assistant Referee: Richard Wild
Fourth Official: Steven Rushton