Peterborough United 1 (Baldwin 71)
Bradford City 3 (Poleon 7, Vincelot 36, Kilgallon 40)
Stuart McCall's brilliant Bantams picked up their fourth league win out of six at the start of the season after defeating previously unbeaten Peterborough United at the ABAX Stadium.
Peterborough were top of the league going into the game, but first half goals from Dominic Poleon, Romain Vincelot and Matthew Kilgallon proved enough to claim City's third victory in successive seasons at the home of the Posh.
Peterborough pulled a goal back through Jack Baldwin midway into the second period but City weren't to be denied their second away victory of the campaign.
In the closing stages of normal time, both sides had a man sent off in similar circumstances.
Anthony Grant received his second booking of the match two minutes from the end of normal time for deliberate hand-ball.
Adam Chicksen then joined the Peterborough midfielder down the tunnel roughly sixty seconds later when he was also given his marching orders for two cautions.
City started the game on the front foot against the division’s leaders coming into this one, and the first chance came through Jake Reeves. The energetic midfielder was looking bright in the opening exchanges and he got into the box to connect with Tony McMahon’s cross from the right-hand side, but his header was kept out by Jonathan Bond’s brilliant reaction save.
Three minutes later though, Bond cost his side a goal as Dominic Poleon put the Bantams ahead. The United stopper came to claim Adam Chicksen’s cross from the left but with the wet conditions perhaps an influence, he spilled the ball allowing the City forward to fire in his 4th goal of the season into a barely guarded net.
Peterborough are one of the division’s best sides going forward and a few minutes later they came close to an equaliser. Marcus Maddison’s corner into the box was a dangerous one and Ryan Tafazoli, up from the back, saw a header blocked before seeing a follow-up shot blocked immediately afterwards as the Bantams defended resolutely to retain their lead.
City were a continuous threat throughout the second half but United weren’t short of creating chances of their own. Normally spotted in the final third of the field, Nicky Law was in the right place at the right time on the goal line to clear the ball after Tafazoli’s attempt headed towards goal when he’d been picked out by a Steven Taylor knock-down.
Maddison’s left-foot is a useful tool from any range on the pitch and shortly after he was kept at bay by Colin Doyle, Nathaniel Knight-Percival came close against one of his former clubs, but although his header had the hosts panicking inside their own six-yard box, they managed to just about scramble the ball clear to stop themselves from going two goals down.
Romain Vincelot headed marginally wide from a Tony McMahon delivery shortly afterwards but the two combined a few minutes later to double City’s lead. McMahon’s delivery was bang on the money and the skipper stopped to slam a diving header past Bond and into the bottom corner of the goal.
United had a good chance to half the deficit through Jack Marriott after he was picked out by Gwion Edwards but a rampant City punished Grant McCann’s side once again before the interval. McMahon was once again the provider and his free kick into the box was flashed across and into the far corner to leave United rattled and wondering what had hit them.
Grant McCann made a double change at half time as a reaction to seeing his team swept aside by Stuart McCall’s men with Andrew Hughes and Jermaine Anderson brought into the fray. Charlie Wyke, who had a slightly quieter afternoon than last weekend, saw an audacious attempt from distance on the volley go wide of the target.
Matthew Kilgallon was outstanding for the Bantams and with the hosts stepping their game up a gear, the experienced defender cleared the ball off the line excellently after Junior Morias had seen a well-struck volley from a tight angle whizz past Doyle towards the bottom corner of the goal.
The hosts were starting to play on the front foot for the first time all afternoon and Morias teed Maddison for a first time curler from 20 yards which was tipped over the bar superbly by Doyle. For all the threat carried by the United winger, that was probably his first truly threatening attempt on goal and it would’ve been a goal but for some superb defending by the Irish stopper.
Ricky Miller was brought on from the bench and he produced a lively cameo for the hosts. His first involvement though brought him a booking for simulation after he went, unsuccessfully, looking for a spot kick by throwing himself to the ground under the nose of the referee. Junior Morais was booked in the aftermath for a bit too much aggression in an altercation with Kilgallon.
Miller and Maddison were threatening in the latter stages, there’s no doubt about that, but the United goal came with twenty minutes to go through Jack Baldwin. The skipper latched onto Maddison’s uncleared corner to hit a shot into the bottom corner on the turn and City’s nerves were being put to the test after the surrender of a three-goal lead at Walsall a fortnight ago.
Anthony Grant was sent off for a second bookable offence for the hosts before Adam Chicksen saw the same fate; picking up a second yellow card for a needless challenge. Ten versus ten in the final minutes but City had enough in their locker to hold on for an excellent away victory.