The Bantams didn't get their rewards for some bright attacking play this Tuesday evening, as they suffered a narrow home defeat against Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley.
The Tykes got off to a dream start in the Yorkshire derby and City quite the opposite, with Lee Johnson’s men taking an early lead in the game. George Williams came forward from left back and floated a superb cross into the area and Marley Watkins planted a header past a stranded Ben Williams. It was Watkins' second goal for The Tykes in as many visits to The Coral Windows Stadium.
The visitors looked in confident mood early doors, no doubt buoyed by their recent 6-1 win against Rochdale, and Watkins threatened again. Latching onto a Josh Brownhill pass, he was allowed to run into the 18 yard box before curling a right footed shot a foot or so wide of the far post.
Jamie Proctor scored on his debut on Saturday at Port Vale and he was making his home debut for the club this evening; he took a long ball forward on the chest brilliantly before turning and hitting a shot towards goal, his shot lacked the conviction though and it was a relatively routine save for Barnsley stopper Adam Davies.
City were coming back into the game after a relatively slow start and they started to make more of an impression in the visitors' half as the first period wore on.
Reece Burke looks a genuine threat coming forward from the back and after linking up well with Billy Clarke, Josh Morris’ resettling cross forced a corner. Tony McMahon’s corner was cleared as far as Morris but his low hammer drive towards goal deflected off a City player amongst the melee before squirming just wide ahead of the post with Clarke looking to pounce.
Rory McArdle then headed over the bar after connecting with Morris’ superb whipped corner shortly afterwards. At the other end, Sam Winnall curled a shot inches wide of the far post from the edge of the 18 yard box.
Before the half was out, there was time for Watkins to go close with a header at the near post after connecting with Lloyd Isgrove’s cross and McMahon volley a yard or so wide of the target after Morris’ header was cleared as far as him 20 yards from goal.
City had to make a sub at half time with Nathan Clarke coming on for the injured Reece Burke and the second half began with Phil Parkinson’s men on top in the match; Billy Clarke scuffed an angled shot wide of the target from the edge of the box and Morris hammered an angled shot wide of the target after latching onto a ball that had been nipped away from Proctor.
Billy Clarke himself would limp off ten minutes after the restart to be replaced by Steven Davies after picking up a hamstring problem.
Despite City becoming dominant in terms of play in the second half, Barnsley continued to look a threat on the counter and Ashley Fletcher, the youngster on loan from Manchester United, hit the side netting with a shot after doing well to drive into the area from a wide left position.
Again on the counter attack, Barnsley carved a decent opening as Winnall played in Brownhill; as the Preston North End loanee got closer to goal, he was about to release a shot when he was denied by a tremendous intervening tackle by Rory McArdle.
Brownhill looked to make amends for spurning that opportunity, from Conor Hourihane’s following corner, but his 20 yard drive from the half cleared delivery was tipped over the bar excellently by Ben Williams.
A minute later, City were presented a real opportunity as Adam Davies made a mess of a long clearance upfield, slicing it into the path of Proctor. He aimed for goal from 40 yards out with the goal unguarded but the loanee forward’s effort went inches wide of the mark to let the visitors off the hook.
On two occasions in quick succession, Fletcher had a couple of sights of goal inside the penalty area; although he was denied by Stephen Darby and McArdle in superb fashion. There were some notable defensive displays on show and those two tackles were great examples of that.
The chances were certainly flowing in the second half and it was McMahon who was left cursing his luck on this occasion; Proctor squared the ball to him and he launched a dipping drive towards goal, but with the ball looking like having half a chance of nestling into the corner, Davies made a crucial save to keep his clean sheet in tact.
McMahon was involved in one last chance for Parkinson's men but his free-kick in the ninetieth minute from outside the box dropped just wide of Davies' near post.
It was ultimately to be a frustrating night at the Coral Windows Stadium; City looked a renewed threat going forward particular with the addition of the impressive duo of Mark Marshall and Morris to the starting line-up. It was to be a goalless evening for the Bantams but it sure wasn’t for the lack of trying.