Bradford City 3 Coventry City 1
The Bantams shot up to the fringes of the automatic promotion places with a superb comeback victory against Coventry City this Saturday afternoon. City looked out of sorts in the first half and fell behind to Daniel Agyei’s goal, the Burnley loanee making an instant impact on his Sky Blues debut. Tony McMahon equalised from the spot in the second half after Jordan Turnbull was sent off for bringing Billy Clarke down in the penalty area. Mark Marshall rifled Stuart McCall’s side into the lead shortly afterwards before McMahon scored his second from the spot to cap off a fine second half recovery.
Coventry were looking bright early on in the match and it was Agyei who threatened with the game's first real chance. The powerful centre forward ran down the channel, away from Nathaniel Knight-Percival and into the box. McMahon’s clearance from Agyei's low centre hit the Coventry attacker before going just wide of the target.
Making his return to Valley Parade after two spells with the club, Kyel Reid then almost put the visitors ahead. After charging down Romain Vincelot’s attempted clearance to go one on one with Colin Doyle, Reid looked set to fire home but the big Irishman stood tall to make an important block.
Just before the quarter hour and with the visitors still pressing, Coventry deservedly took the lead. City lost possession just outside the area and Agyei powered his way into the area to beat Doyle from 12 yards out.
Marshall had a sight of goal, probably City’s first of the game after finding a yard of space to beat Lewis Page in the penalty area, but he dragged his effort comfortably wide of the mark to leave Reice Charles-Cook’s goal unscathed.
Following Coventry's fast start, the game began to even itself out as the first half progressed. Vladimir Gadzhev saw a free kick go a yard or so wide of the target after Josh Cullen had been guilty of tripping Reid just outside the box. At the other end, Marshall had a shot in a promising area blocked behind by Chris McCann after he’d latched onto Nicky Law’s quickly taken corner kick.
Law was then given a sight of goal himself on the stroke of half time after Billy Clarke's pass found him in space inside the box but the midfielder's effort was blocked away by Jordan Willis.
City looked rejuvenated at the start of the second half but it was still the visitors that almost doubled their lead with the first chance of the half. Agyei sent Reid clear to run into the box but as he looked set to release a shot, McMahon recovered to make a vital sliding challenge.
In the side again for his fifth start out of five this season, youngster Daniel Devine saw a thunderous effort from 20 yards pushed behind for a corner by Charles-Cook after he’d been urged to have a go by the fans in the Kop stand in front of him.
Vincelot had received a warm reception by the 500 or so visiting supporters before the game having spent last season with the Sky Blues. The Frenchman almost got on the score-sheet with a header that clipped the top of the bar after he’d connected with Law’s corner kick.
The pressure was still being applied by City as they looked to get back into the game, and they were given a lifeline with a chance from the penalty spot in the 66th minute.
Vincelot’s incisive pass in behind had Billy Clarke racing through on goal and as he looked set to shoot, he was bundled to the ground by Turnbull. The debutant defender, who joined from Southampton earlier in the week, was sent off and McMahon made no mistake from 12 yards to bring proceedings level again.
A couple of minutes later and the game had been completely turned on its head. Marshall set sights from 25 yards after cutting inside from the right hand side and he rifled a shot into the bottom corner for his first goal for the club. Within the space of just two minutes, Stuart McCall’s men had gone from a goal behind to a goal ahead and in firm control of the game.
It was all City at this point and after Devine had gone close again with a shot from outside the area that went inches wide of the target, McCall's side were awarded another penalty by referee Mr Nigel Miller.
Cullen dropped the shoulder to glide past Gadzhev and he was brought down by a stray leg from the Bulgarian; McMahon dispatched the spot kick with supreme confidence, putting the ball into the top corner and leaving Charles-Cook with no chance of keeping it out.
With City truly dominant at this stage, Marshall could have scored another goal before the full time whistle was sounded. After Billy Clarke had seen a shot saved well by Charles-Cook, Marshall composed himself in the box and fired the ball past the Coventry goalkeeper, only to see him denied by a tremendous goal saving block by Lewis Page.
Marshall was denied once again minutes later after his delightful chip had gone over the head of Charles-Cook following a quickly-taken City free-kick.
Marshall's attempt to put City four-one up were stopped by Dion Kelly-Evans, however, as the defender got back to head away from right in front of his own goal.