at the Coral Windows Stadium
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Bradford City 4 (Morais 53, Hanson 58, 72, 74)
Sky Bet League 1
Saturday 23 April 2016
Attendance: 19,336 (686 visitors)
Phil Parkinson's four-midable Bantams took a huge step towards securing an end-of-season Play-Off place by emphatically defeating promotion hopefuls Walsall at the Coral Windows Stadium.
Following a goalless first period, four goals in twenty-one minutes from a rampant City, including a first career hat-trick for James Hanson, ensured Parkinson's men registered a crushing victory in front of a jubilant home support.
On his first start of the season following his well-documented knee injury last summer, Filipe Morais got the ball rolling for the Bantams when he prodded in from close range after Walsall had failed to properly clear a City free-kick.
Hanson got in on the act just five minutes later when the striker got the better of Paul Downing to latch onto Stephen Darby's pass before firing past Saddlers shot-stopper Neil Etheridge from inside the box.
Etheridge produced a fine reaction save to deny Rory McArdle from Morais' cross shortly afterwards before Ben Williams then made an important stop of his own at the other end to tip over Jordy Hiwula's dipping drive from distance.
Hanson put City firmly in the driving seat midway into the half when he swooped to head home Tony McMahon's free-kick delivery from wide.
The powerful forward, City's current long-serving player, then completed his hat-trick just two minutes later when he headed in from only yards out following Morais' teasing cross inside the area.
Before the excitement of the second half, City had enjoyed the better of the opening period as well.
Lee Evans saw a close range header repelled by Etheridge before Morais was denied a tap-in later in the half by a goal-saving tackle from Downing after the visiting 'keeper had pushed out an Evans strike.
Hiwula did hit the underside of the bar in the first half but City still looked on the front-foot overall, stepping things up even further to dominate after the break with devastating effect.
The victory, City's sixth straight win at Valley Parade, sees the Bantams move five points clear in the Play-Off places with two matches of the regular season to go.
FT: Bradford City 4 Walsall 0
90+3min: YELLOW CARD - Proctor is booked for kicking the ball away after the striker is given offside.
90+1min: Josh Cullen fires for goal from outside the area as the ball drops into his path from a deflected free-kick and Etheridge has to dive low to his right to push the strike away.
90min: There will be four minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
90min: YELLOW CARD - Downing is booked for crudely barging into Reid as the winger burst forward at pace towards Walsall's penalty area.
88min: Receiving the ball with his back to goal in the box from Adam Chambers' pass, Bradshaw shoots for goal on the turn but his connection isn't sweet and the effort rolls harmlessly forward for Williams to pick up.
87min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Billy Clarke for Hanson.
83min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Nathan Clarke for Burke.
83min: SUB - Walsall bring on Jordan Cook for Hiwula.
78min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Jamie Proctor for Morais.
74min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 4 Walsall 0 - Hanson completes his hat-trick! Great play in the box sees Morais engineer the space for a cross and the Portuguese attacker's delivery is headed in from close range by Hanson.
72min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 3 Walsall 0 - City have a third! McMahon's free-kick delivery into the box is headed home by Hanson.
70min: SUB - Walsall bring on Kieron Morris for Mantom.
68min: Hiwula tries his luck from distance and his looping strike looks to be dropping in just under the crossbar before Williams tips over with a great reaction save.
66min: Hanson flicks on Williams' kick forward to put Morais into space inside the box with the ball at his feet. Morais manages to get a shot away from an angle and his effort is turned around the near post by Etheridge.
Burke does well to keep the ball in play before Morais crosses menacingly into the penalty area. McArdle connects with the cross to power a thunderous header towards goal but Etheridge somehow gets a hand onto the effort to turn it up and onto the roof of his net.63min:
61min: Forde fires wide of Williams' near post with a free-kick from outside the box.
59min: SUB - Walsall bring on Tom Bradshaw for Henry.
58min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 2 Walsall 0 - Hanson doubles City's lead! From Darby's looping ball forward, Hanson gets the better of Downing before firing low past Etheridge from inside the box.
53min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 1 Walsall 0 - The Bantams take the lead from the following free-kick via Morais! McMahon's ball into the box is headed across goal by Rory McArdle before Burke and Morais both have touches of the ball. With the ball still in the heart of Walsall's penalty area, Hanson heads for goal and Morais appears to vital touch on the ball to knock it past James O'Connor and into the bottom corner.
53min: YELLOW CARD - Taylor is booked for a late tackle on McMahon just inside Walsall's half of the pitch.
51min: Hanson heads over from McMahon's corner.
50min: McMahon's corner delivery is rescued by Evans over by the far side before the Welshman crosses back into the box. The delivery narrowly misses Hanson in the middle before McMahon, who is positioned past the far post, fires in a low angled drive that is pushed behind by Etheridge.
49min: McMahon's low free-kick from outside the box is headed for the far bottom corner until Etheridge turns it around the post.
46min: Walsall restart the match.
HT: Bradford City 0 Walsall 0
45min: There will be one minute of time added on at the end of the first half.
39min: Evans' shot from the edge of the box is pushed out by Etheridge. Morais looks set to tap in as the ball runs free but he is denied by a goal-saving tackle from Downing as the effort deflects behind for a corner.
31min: Stephen Darby has company in the form of Rico Henry and Sawyers as he looks to head clear from Anthony Forde hanging cross. Henry manages to get a header on the ball but the connection isn't due to pressure from Darby and Williams is able to comfortably gather.
30min: Walsall play a short free-kick routine from the resulting set-piece but Andy Taylor can only fire comfortably over from just outside the area after Romaine Sawyers and Hiwula had combined.
29min: YELLOW CARD - Reece Burke is booked for holding back Hiwula as the attacker tried to latch onto a bouncing ball deep inside City's half of the pitch.
26min: Driving in-field from a wide position, Reid fires for goal right-footed from outside the box but the shot deflects up off Kinsella before Etheridge can gather up.
24min: McMahon plays a one-two with Hanson over on City's right wing before driving into the area. With Morais looking for the pull-back in the middle, McMahon goes to cross from the byline but the ball is deflected behind for a corner.
21min: Jordy Hiwula hits the bar with Walsall's first clear opening of the game! Receiving the ball inside the box, Hiwula latches for goal with his left foot and the strikes rattles the underside of Ben Williams' crossbar before bouncing away.
19min: From a half-cleared City free-kick from deep, Tony McMahon latches onto Andy Taylor's attempted headed clearance before driving into the box and firing in a low half-volley that is pushed away by Etheridge.
11min: Reid's cross into the box flicks off Morais and then Hanson before Etheridge can gather up as the ball spins towards goal.
11min: Lee Evans is denied from close range! The midfielder's forward run into the box is found by a cross from Filipe Morais but the Welshman's header from barely yards out is blocked by Etheridge!
10min: Josh Cullen's floated cross into the box is dropped by Etheridge under pressure from James Hanson but the City striker can't quite capitalise on the vacant Walsall goal as Downing clears the danger.
4min: Kyel Reid beats Liam Kinsella for pace over by City's left flank before whipping in a teasing cross low into the six yard box. Paul Downing is first to the cross but he slices his attempted clearance, leading to Walsall shot-stopper Neil Etheridge having to scramble across his goal to keep the ball in play and prevent a corner.
0min: To a huge roar, the Bantams kick off the match. They will attack towards the Kop in the first period.
3:04pm: There is a slight delay to kick off as the officials are not happy with part of the netting in the goal by the T L Dallas Stand. The problem is soon rectified, however, with the help of some well-placed tape!
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP:
Williams, Darby, McArdle, Burke, Meredith, McMahon, Cullen, Evans, Reid, Morais, Hanson
Subs: Cracknell, N Clarke, B Clarke, Proctor, Thorpe, Anderson
Bradford City substitutions:
Proctor for Morais (78), N Clarke for Burke (83), B Clarke for Hanson (88)
Bradford City cautions:
Burke (29), Proctor (90+3)
WALSALL LINE UP:
Etheridge, Kinsella, Downing, O'Connor, Taylor, Henry, Chambers, Mantom, Forde, Sawyers, Hiwula
Subs: MacGillivray, Bradshaw, Lalkovic, Preston, Morris, Cook, Sangha
Bradshaw for Henry (59), Morris for Mantom (78), Cook for Hiwula (83)
Taylor (53), Downing (90)
Referee: D Drysdale
Assistant Referee: J Hunt
Assistant Referee: R Atkin
Fourth Official: D Benton