Kick Off: 3.00pm
Bradford City 1 (Clarke 58)
Sky Bet League One
Saturday 1 April 2017
Attendance: 17,880 (205 visitors)
A single second half goal from Billy Clarke earned City a hard-fought victory over Walsall at a sunny Northern Commercials Stadium this Saturday.
As the regular season enters its final month, Clarke was on hand just before the hour mark to fire home what proved to be the match-winner for an important three-point haul for Stuart McCall's men.
Clarke's vital strike was a close range finish from the Irishman after Walsall defender Scott Laird had cut out Mark Marshall's driven ball across the six yard box.
Charlie Wyke, who had earlier forced a good save out of Walsall 'keeper Neil Etheridge, could have sealed the points with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining but he fired narrowly of the far post after being put in behind the Saddlers' defence.
Ahead of Clarke's crucial intervention in the second period, the opening half between the Bantams and Walsall was pretty low-key affair. Alex Jones probably had the best opening when his header was cleared off the line by James O'Connor after Etheridge had spilled a Tony McMahon cross.
Walsall had their moments in a tight affair but Colin Doyle saved well from Andreas Makris in the first period and from Kieron Morris after the break.
FT: Bradford City 1 Walsall 0
90min: There will be four minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
86min: Marshall's driven cross-come-shot deflects off the outstretched leg of O'Connor and out of the far side for a corner.
84min: SUB - Walsall bring on Mitchel Candlin for Adam Chambers.
82min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Nicky Law for Jones.
80min: The ball breaks to Morris around the edge of the area but the attacker's drive for goal is pushed out by Doyle before Jackson is flagged offside on the rebound.
78min: Meredith's great long ball over the top sees Wyke in space in behind Walsall's defence but the striker's first time effort goes just wide of Etheridge's far post.
76min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Timothee Dieng for Clarke.
75min: SUB - Walsall bring on Simeon Jackson for Makris.
72min: Wyke and Preston are both back on the pitch, bringing the two sides back up to their full compliment of players.
71min: Play continues, with Preston also off the pitch at the moment receiving treatment for a hand injury.
70min: Unfortunately, there is a break in a play at present as Wyke receives treatment following that chance.
69min: Wyke heads comfortably wide of the far post after flinging himself at a Marshall cross to connect via a diving header.
66min: YELLOW CARD - Clarke is booked for a trip on Edwards as the Walsall midfielder looks to burst forward into space just inside City's half.
58min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 1 Walsall 0 - The Bantams have the lead through Clarke! Marshall's low cross into the six yard box is cut out by Laird but the ball drops into the path of Clarke via Jones and the striker fires into the roof of the net from deep inside the box!
54min: Vincelot heads narrowly wide of the far post from McMahon's resulting corner.
53min: Chance for the Bantams! Marshall's low cross into the middle finds Wyke but his shot from deep inside the box is repelled by the leg of Etheridge before Preston deflects behind ahead of a lurking Jones.
52min: An unmarked Vincelot goes to connect with McMahon's resulting corner delivery but he can't reach with his attempted header and the ball eventually bounces through into Etheridge's grasp.
52min: The Kop screams for a penalty as Clarke heads forwards following McMahon's lofted ball into the box. The home crowd, and a large number of City players, seem to suggest that Clarke's header hit the hand of Preston but only a corner is given.
51min: Morris wins possession in City territory before making his way to just outside the Bantams' penalty area. Morris goes for goal but the attacker can only fire comfortably over while under pressure from a recovering Vincelot.
50min: Preston stoops to connect with Morris' far post corner delivery but the defender's diving header from roughly six yards out goes wide.
49min: Cullen's lofted ball into the middle is helped goalwards by Clarke but the striker's cushioned volley is easily claimed at his near post by Etheridge.
46min: The Bantams 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.
40min: Big chance for City! McMahon's cross into the box is spilled by Etheridge, Jones heads the loose ball goalwards from close range but the effort is headed off the line by O'Connor!
36min: Marshall's cross into the box is just taken off the head of Charlie Wyke in the middle following a touch off Preston. James Meredith goes for goal as the ball drops his way just outside the box but his looping half volley sails over.
35min: Neil Etheridge falls to claim a Clarke corner into the six yard box. The ball drops free for a second but Walsall are able to clear.
34min: Clarke cuts the ball back to Josh Cullen just outside the area following a wide free-kick for the Bantams. Cullen shoots into a crowded penalty area, the effort drops into the path of Jones but he sees his shot blocked. Knight-Percival has a go himself and his shot is deflected wide of the far post.
31min: Morris slips the ball into the path of Makris inside the box and the striker's low angled drive towards the far bottom corner is tipped around the post by Doyle. Decent save from the big City stopper.
28min: Jones eventually gets the better of O'Connor to reach a forward pass as the striker tries to keep ball deep inside Walsall's penalty area. Jones crosses low into the middle from the byline towards Marshall but the linesman's flag is up - he's deemed that Jones had been unable to keep the ball in play before his delivery.
26min: Makris goes for an ambitious drive clean on the volley from roughly 25 yards out and the effort sails not too far of Colin Doyle's far post.
25min: Billy Clarke brings the ball down in the box after a Tony McMahon cross had dropped into his path. After showing fine control to bring the ball out of the sky, Clarke shoots for goal on the turn but his right-footed effort is sliced comfortably wide.
24min: Marshall gets to the byline before firing in a low cross that finds Alex Jones in the middle. The striker is under pressure from his marker, however, and he isn't quite able to get a clear connection on the strike, with the effort bobbling wide.
20min: YELLOW CARD - Walsall striker Andreas Makris is booked for going down to easily in the opinion of referee Mr Salisbury following a challenge from Nathaniel Knight-Percival just outside the area.
17min: Morris' delivery into the box from the resulting corner is headed comfortably wide of goal by a stretching Scott Laird.
16min: Morris moves into City's penalty area following a Walsall swift break forward. He turns inside onto his left foot for a shot and his effort on goal deflects up off Vincelot and bounces out for a corner.
13min: Joe Edwards' corner delivery breaks to James O'Connor inside City's penalty area. O'Connor fires the ball across the box but Rory McArdle is on to make an important block tackle on Matt Preston as the centre half looked to fire for goal.
12min: YELLOW CARD - Romain Vincelot is booked for dragging back Kieron Morris as Walsall looked to burst forward deep into City territory.
0min: Walsall kick off the match. The Bantams will attack towards the T L Dallas Stand end in the first period.
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP:
Doyle, McMahon, McArdle, Knight-Percival, Vincelot, Meredith, Cullen, Clarke, Marshall, Wyke, Jones
Subs: Cracknell, Darby, Law, Toner, Dieng, Hiwula, Devine
Bradford City substitutions:
Dieng for Clarke (76), Law for Jones (82)
Bradford City cautions:
Vincelot (12), Clarke (60)
WALSALL LINE UP:
Etheridge, McCarthy, Preston, O'Connor, Laird, Chambers, Edwards, Osbourne, Morris, Moussa, Makris
Subs: MacGillivray, Dobson, Jackson, Kinsella, Roberts, Hayles-Docherty, Candlin
Jackson for Makris (75), Candlin for Chambers (84)
Referee: M Salisbury
Assistant Referee: N Smith
Referee: M Salisbury
Assistant Referee: N Smith
Assistant Referee: G Liddle
Fourth Official: J Johnson
Fourth Official: J Johnson