The Bantams returned to winning ways with a dramatic late goal from substitute Steven Davies sealing the three points for Phil Parkinson’s men. City were far from their best on an afternoon which conjured up some tough conditions but they showed the character required to come from a goal behind to make the play-off push look healthier. Jamille Matt glanced a Jimmy Ryan cross in to give Steven Pressley’s men the lead but James Hanson levelled things up shortly afterwards to setup the grand finale for Davies to find the net.
Fleetwood's attacker Alex Kiwomya, the son of former City winger Andy, certainly looked to hurt the Bantams early on. After McArdle had only half cleared a long ball forward, Kiwomya dragged a shot wide of the target from the edge of the area.
It was Kiwomya again who looked to cause problems for the home side; David Henen got the better of Stephen Darby down the left hand side and his low centre was met by the Chelsea loanee but James Meredith was in the right place at the right time to make a vital block to make sure Ben Williams wasn’t forced into action.
McArdle then had to make a couple of important blocks to deny Kiwomya and Antoni Sarcevic within the space of a sixty seconds or so later in the half as the Bantams had to ride a wave and make sure that Fleetwood’s spell on top in the game would not see the barrier broken.
Billy Knott was back in the starting eleven and he looked City’s biggest threat in the first half, playing in an advance central midfield position behind James Hanson up front on his own. He saw a tame shot from 20 yards held onto by Chris Maxwell and the Town stopper had to be at his best to tip Knott’s drive from distance over the bar.
City did have the ball in the net before the break but the goal was chalked off; Hanson and McArdle combined to force the ball into the back of the net from Tony McMahon’s corner but the referee had spotted a foul in the process.
Phil Parkinson was positive in making attacking substitutions as early as possible, bringing debutant Wes Thomas and Kyel Reid into the fray but shortly after Jamille Matt had gone close following Jimmy Ryan’s free kick into the area, the two combined to open the scoring.
Town worked a short free kick into the feet of Ryan and he floated an excellent cross into the area which nestled into the far corner via the head of the imposing Matt to leave City stunned.
Sarcevic tried to make matters worse for City with a shot from 20 yards that was held onto at the second attempt by Williams before Hanson equalised down the other end.
Knott picked up a loose ball and shaped a cross into the box; Thomas was stood in an offside position so ignored it but Hanson was there to guide the ball into the back of the net via the inside of the post.
With City looking to push on and look for the winning goal, McMahon saw his name in lights 25 yards from goal but his admirable effort dipped a yard or so over the bar.
Davies entered the fold just before the start of injury time with the home side going in search of that winner and everyone in the stadium must have thought Knott would get it; the ball dropped to him inside the six yard box after Maxwell had spilled McMahon’s free kick but he was somehow denied by the Fleetwood 'keeper.
Knott went to crash home the rebound from barely yards out but Maxwell managed to get a diving save in to block the effort, with the ball bouncing back off the City player and out for a goal-kick.
There was time for one more chance though in the dying seconds; Nathan Pond misjudged a bouncing ball and Hanson headed into the path of Thomas who saw a shot deflect up onto the bar, and Davies was there to tap the ball into an empty net to spark wild celebrations at the end.