The Bantams recorded another win - the third on the bounce in the league against a Bury side who had only lost once on the road since the turn of the year - to move into the top half of the table. Rory McArdle headed home his first goal of the season on the stroke of half time to open the scoring and then early in the second half Reece Brown turned the ball into the back of his own net. Danny Rose scored a consolation goal for Bury late in additional time, but City held on for home win number two of the season.
Bury started the game well and in honesty looked the most in control of the game out of the two teams, although it did take them until the 22nd minute to truly threaten the Bradford goal. Top scorer Leon Clarke pulled the ball back to Danny Mayor and his firm drive from outside the area was pushed away by Ben Williams.
The first half was one of very few chances and City’s first chance of an opening came shortly after. Billy Knott, back in the starting line-up in the place of Gary Liddle, fed the ball wide to Kyel Reid and his cross was met by Devante Cole, but the ball deflected off Joe Riley before being held comfortably held by Rob Lainton.
Riley himself had an effort on goal from distance, but it wasn’t to be a repeat of his wonder strike at Bramall Lane at the beginning of September as his attempt took a deflection before behind held routinely by Ben Williams who was looking for a third successive clean sheet in the league following on from the ones claimed at Rochdale and Doncaster Rovers recently.
Bury’s best chance of the half was presented to Leon Clarke and it was one that he spurned. Riley delivered a terrific corner to the far post and the former Wolves and Coventry frontman rose highest but could only head over the bar.
Cole saw a looping header go narrowly over the bar after connecting Reid’s cross before City took the lead right on the stroke of half time. Tony McMahon delivered a corner to the near post and Rory McArdle got in front of his marker to glance a header past Lainton for his first goal of the season.
The visitors had a chance early in the second half to get level but after Jacob Mellis produced an intelligent pass into the 18 yard box, Tom Soares couldn’t apply the finish, dragging a shot wide of the target when he really should’ve been testing Williams.
A few minutes later, City doubled the lead. McMahon’s initial corner was almost sliced into his own goal by Leon Clarke at the near post, but the second delivery caused even more problems for Bury as one time Bradford loanee Reece Brown turned into his own net under pressure from McArdle and Reece Burke.
Steven Davies was replaced shortly after by James Hanson. The Liverpudlian forward limped off the pitch injured with what is suspected to be medial knee ligament damage, a blow which will almost certainly keep him out of City’s next few games at the very least.
Gaps began to open up in the final third for City with Dave Flitcroft’s men pushing forward in search of a way back into the game. Lee Evans and Tony McMahon went close before Tom Pope, on as substitute, forced Williams into a smart save with a neatly struck half volley from the edge of the area.
Cole had ran himself into the ground and worked hard for the cause, and although it wasn’t his night on the goal scoring front, he was presented a chance when McMahon got to the byline and cut the ball back to him; his shot was blocked and then Billy Knott dragged an effort wide of the mark from the edge of the area.
Bury got a goal back with about sixty seconds of the five additional minutes remaining when substitute Danny Rose latched onto a flick on to volley superbly past Williams via the inside of the post from 15 yards out, but although it was a nervy last minute, City held on for a deserved victory which pushes them into the top half.
So, a big ‘un against Wigan next for the Bantams. The division’s fancied side are beginning to show signs of their expected promotion challenging form but City will be trying to spoil that at the weekend!