Bradford City 2 (Marshall 56, Wyke 84)
Saturday 8th April 2017 | Sky Bet League One | Gigg Lane
The Bantams recorded victory on the road at relegation threatened Bury this Saturday afternoon with both goals coming in the second half. City edged a first half which saw both teams create some really presentable opportunities before a stunning goal from Mark Marshall opened the scoring before the hour mark. The win was certainly a deserved one and the three points were secured late on as Jordy Hiwula set Charlie Wyke up for his seventh goal in a Bradford City shirt.
City were to have the better of the first half in terms of play and possession, and the first chance belonged to Alex Jones. Shortly after picking himself up after a collision with James Meredith, Joe Murphy couldn't have done much to keep Jones' header out after he'd latched onto Mark Marshall's cross. Fortunately for him and his side though, the City forward failed to keep his header underneath the crossbar.
Billy Clarke almost caught Murphy out with a dangerous low cross into the box which almost crept in at the far post before the Huddersfield loanee stopper did brilliantly to tip a Charlie Wyke shot around the post after he had controlled Clarke's cross and turned neatly to get his shot away.
At this stage it certainly looked like it was the Bantams who would open the scoring and Wyke came close once again. Tony McMahon swung a cross into the box from the right-hand side and the ball went over Murphy who mis-judged the cross and the ball seemed to hit the head of an unsighted Wyke who could only watch as the ball went the wrong side of the post.
McMahon caused more problems for Bury with another cross from the right-hand side which went over the head of the intended target Wyke but the ball fell invitingly to Romain Vincelot who fluffed his lines in an attempt to have a shot at goal and could only manage a mis-kick to let the hosts off the hook. Seconds later, Marshall warmed the gloves of Murphy with an angled drive after weaving his way into the penalty area.
With the interval approaching, Bury began to step on the accelerator a little. They created a gilt-edged opportunity that wasn't taken by leading marksman James Vaughan. Callum Styles brought the ball forward from midfield before picking out George Miller and he squared the ball to Vaughan who lashed the ball wide one-on-one with Colin Doyle. The former Birmingham and Huddersfield man felt a corner should've been awarded and he was too passionate in his protest, earning himself a yellow card.
Jacob Mellis went close seconds later with a first time shot which whistled wide of the post after Greg Leigh had worked tirelessly to engineer the opening and then down the other end, just before the break, City missed a real opportunity to open the scoring. Charlie Wyke led the counter-attack and was fouled by Antony Kay in the process, Alex Jones took the mantle and ran down the left-hand side before crossing to Marshall; he then saw a shot from close range kept out by Murphy.
Early in the second half, Jones was sent through on goal by Wyke's weighted pass but Bury centre-half Leon Barnett recovered superbly to win the ball cleanly and put an end to the danger. Callum Styles saw a rasping left-footed attempt go wide of the mark down the other end, just a few minutes before City took the lead.
It was a real moment of magic that broke the deadlock and it was a special goal from Marshall. The City winger has been in excellent form this season and when he scores, they're usually crackers. He picked up the ball on the right-hand side and lashed an unstoppable left-footed shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards out, leaving Joe Murphy with no chance.
Following his wonder strike, Marshall proceeded to celebrate with a set of push-ups after losing a training ground game earlier in the week!
Seconds prior, Vaughan spurned a blaring opportunity to give the hosts the lead after a Taylor Moore long throw-in had made its way into his path.
Talented and still only 17 years-old, in fact born in 2000, Styles was afforded time and space to try his luck with a shot from distance but his attempt on goal had to be pushed away by Colin Doyle before Wyke lashed a volley over the bar after Paul Caddis failed to deal with James Meredith's cross into the box. The game was still end to end with a single goal the margin and City ideally needed another goal to confirm the victory with Bury pushing for a leveller.
Two substitutes combined to created the next opportunity as Nicky Law picked out Jordy Hiwula in the box; the latter then ran at Barnett before seeing a shot from a tight angle kept out by Murphy. A Bury substitute, Scott Burgess saw a tame volley from distance creep wide of the target before City got a second goal to double the advantage.
The goal was Wyke's seventh in City colours this season and his twenty-fifth overall so far in a productive 2016/2017 campaign.
Josh Cullen, who turned 21 yesterday, brought the ball forward from midfield and picked out Hiwula wide on the left hand side; with the angle probably too tight to shoot, he unselfishly squared the ball to Wyke who tapped the ball home from close range under the noses of over 2,500 jubilant travelling supporters and made sure of the three points.