Bradford City 2 (Knight-Percival 41, Patrick 59)
Blackpool 1 (Daniel 43)
A second-half goal from debutant Omari Patrick proved to be enough to give Stuart McCall’s men a winning start to the season with victory against newly-promoted Blackpool. City went through the motions a little in the first half but still took the lead just before the break through Nathaniel Knight-Percival’s first goal for the club only to be cancelled out a couple of minutes later by Colin Daniel’s well-taken finish. The Bantams were much better in the second half and Patrick’s goal gave the hosts a deserved victory.
Alex Jones came close to giving City the lead inside the first couple of minutes, but his header on the stretch went over the bar after he was picked out by Jake Reeves’ cross from the right-hand side; the latter was certainly a contender the Man of the Match with an impressive display in the middle of the park.
Matthew Kilgallon had an excellent start to the game playing at centre back but he was shifted across to left-back in place of Adam Chicksen who was replaced after a nasty looking head injury following a collision with Blackpool’s Oliver Turton which brought ten minutes of additional time at the end of the first half.
Colin Doyle was coming up against his former club for the first time since his departure last summer and he almost gifted them an opening goal. Mark Cullen skewed a delivery into the air, but the ball looped towards goal and the Irish stopper spilled the ball but managed to ensure that it didn’t cross the line.
Kilgallon’s first involvement at left-back was a drilled attempt from the edge of the box which had to be kept out importantly by Ryan Allsop after Tony McMahon’s cross had eventually fallen into the path of the 33 year-old defender.
Blackpool should have had the lead through Kyle Vassell but after being picked out by Turton’s arrowed cross into the box from the right-hand side, but the former Peterborough forward scooped the ball over the bar when any attempt on target would’ve probably resulted in a goal.
At this stage, City were probably being matched by the visitors but they still took the lead through Nathaniel Knight-Percival who diverted the ball in off the post for what was his first goal for the Bantams since his move from Shrewsbury Town last year. Nicky Law’s delivery was helped on by Timothee Dieng and the central defender took his opportunity.
Colin Daniel’s left-footed angled drive into the bottom corner from around 12 yards out quickly cancelled out the opening goal but the Bantams moved up a gear in the second half to ultimately earn their victory.
Omari Patrick did brilliantly to find Shay McCartan who then laid the ball into the path of Alex Jones; the latter looked set to put City back into the lead but he was stopped in his tracks by a superb challenge from Blackpool’s Clark Robertson.
Patrick was enjoying a bright display and he capped that with a goal that would prove to be the match-winning one. Jake Reeves squared the ball to him and he curled a superb first time shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, leaving Allsop with no chance and the 20,000+ crowd rose to their feet.
Dominic Poleon came on as a substitute in the latter stages and he sure was unfortunate to not get himself on the scoresheet. His powerful drive from 15 yards out was kept out by the legs of Allsop and a minute later he hit the side netting with a shot after McMahon’s free kick had fallen into his path.
The former AFC Wimbledon man was at it again, showing great energy to get onto the end of Patrick’s pass before prodding the ball agonisingly wide of the target. Another substitute, Daniel Devine came close to wrapping things up for the Bantams, but his side-footed volley from 12 yards went wide of the target after Nicky Law had done well to get into the box and produce a cross into his team-mate’s path.
Blackpool threatened briefly in injury time through Viv Solomon-Otabor and Armand Gnanduillet, but it was ultimately to be opening day success for Stuart McCall’s men.