Bradford City 3 (Wyke 2, McCartan 55, Dieng 59)
Oxford United 2 (Carroll 50, Obika 75)
Saturday 30th December 2017 | Sky Bet League One | The Northern Commercials Stadium
The Bantams rounded off 2017 with victory against Oxford United in an entertaining encounter. Charlie Wyke scored his 12th goal of the season inside the first couple of minutes in a first half which City dominated but Canice Carroll's header brought the visitors level early in the second half. Oxford weren't level for long though and in fact were two behind thanks to Shay McCartan's impressive strike and Timothee Dieng's header. Jon Obika halved the deficit to give his side a chance but Stuart McCall's men held on for victory.
The first chance of the game brought the first goal and it was another one for Charlie Wyke. Paul Taylor's corner was met by Shay McCartan's volley and his attempt was kept out by Oxford stopper Simon Eastwood before the Bantams number nine scored from the rebound to get his side off to the best possible start.
Oxford could have been level just a few minutes later as Jon Obika prodded the ball marginally wide of the far post from a Ricardinho cross before the lively Taylor dragged an attempt wide of the mark with his weaker left-foot to let the visitors off the hook.
Obika went close again with an almost identical effort to his first as the visitors sensed a way back into the game before Timothee Dieng failed to test Eastwood with a curling attempt from 20 yards. Tyrell Robinson was one of the stand-out players for City and he was a constant threat down the left-hand side, he almost set up Charlie Wyke for a second but his header clipped the crossbar after latching onto the 20 year-old's cross.
Simon Eastwood was probably United's star man on an afternoon when he was certainly kept busy and he kept out Paul Taylor who seemed keen on producing a net-busting strike from distance throughout the first half - we all know he's capable of that!
Just before the half-hour mark, Oxford somehow held on to stop themselves going two down. Timothee Dieng's goal-bound attempt beat Eastwood before James Henry's goal-line clearance and then Robinson's angled drive was kept out by the United stopper as the Bantams went in real search of a second goal.
Matthew Kilgallon was the next to be denied by Eastwood from a Paul Taylor corner before Charlie Wyke ended a superb move with a shot kept out by the visiting goalkeeper. Seconds later, he was at it again, producing an acrobatic fingertip save to keep out Nicky Law's thunderous half-volley.
How City only went into the half-time break with a one-goal lead was baffling and that was because it should have been more but for some outstanding goalkeeper by Eastwood. Before the half was out, he kept out McCartan's low drive after a defnsive mix-up before once again denying Taylor.
Robinson was a real nuisance for Henry and after twisting him inside and out, he saw a cross headed down by Wyke for Dieng who saw a close-range attempt blocked importantly by probably the tallest man on the pitch in Aaron Martin. Before the whislte, Sattelmaier had to be at his best to deny former Bantams loanee Wes Thomas after a Ryan Ledson pass had carved the Bantams open for a moment.
There was always the chance City could be made to pay for scoring only once with a hatful of first half opportunities and Oxford scored the equaliser just five minutes into the second half. Ricardinho's corner was met by the head of Canice Carroll who powered a header across goal and into the far corner to bring his side undeservedly back onto level terms.
Fast forward five minutes and City had a two-goal advantage. Shay McCartan engineered a shooting opportunity for himself and then found the bottom corner with a superb 25 yard drive and then Timothee Dieng planted a header past Eastwood after some terrific wing-play and a cross to match by Robinson.
Taylor went close once again shortly afterwards as City began to look rampant in search for another goal but Oxford always looked a reasonable threat on the counter attack and Gino van Kessel was twice denied in the space of a miniute by Sattelmaier.
With fifteen minutes of the ninety remaining, Jon Obika scored to bring his side right back into the contest. The former Swindon Town forward was a nuisance all afternoon for the Bantams and he got his goal, lashing the ball into the net from 10 yards after persistence from James Henry conjured up the opening for his teammate.
Four minutes were added on at the end of the 90 and the task was made tougher when the Bantams were reduced to ten men. Charlie Wyke was given his marching orders for a lunge on Canice Carroll and with that, came a couple of extra minutes for the visitors to try and get a late leveller. It didn't come for Pep Clotet's men though and City held on for a deserved three points.