Bradford City 3 (Knight-Percival 14, Lund 71, Wyke 90+5)
Portsmouth 1 (Pitman 61)
Tuesday 17th April 2018 | Sky Bet League One | Northern Commercials Stadium
The Bantams returned to winning ways with an excellent display against play-off chasing Portsmouth this Tuesday evening. City got off to a great start with Nathaniel Knight-Percival scoring his fourth goal of the season after Tony McMahon's free-kick was helped into his path by Matthew Kilgallon. The visitors equalised just after the hour-mark through a deflected Brett Pitman effort before substitute Matthew Lund edged City back ahead. Charlie Wyke put the icing on the cake in added time, scoring from close range after Luke McGee parried McMahon's free kick into his path.
It was always going to be a closely fought encounter, particularly judging by the reverse fixture at Fratton Park back in October. The first chance was a half chance and it fell the way of Kal Naismith; the winger helped Jack Whatmough's long-throw towards goal and Colin Doyle had to be switched on to make a low save at his near post.
With City's first chance, came the first goal of the evening. Tony McMahon's corner was helped on towards the far post by Matthew Kilgallon and in the right place at the right time was Nathaniel Knight-Percival to hammer the ball into the roof of the net despite Luke McGee's best attempts to keep it out.
Chances, in truth weren't happening too frequently with both sides doing plenty of battling in the middle of the park with Callum Guy shining once again. His direct opponent in the midfield for Portsmouth was Connor Ronan who looked bright and he saw a shot from distance pushed round the post by Colin Doyle.
Portsmouth's leading marksman Brett Pitman was kept quiet for long spells, particularly in the first half and after he saw a shot held by Doyle, one of the men who kept shackles on him, Matthew Kilgallon then saw an audacious attempt from distance go a couple of yards wide of the target.
The second half started in the same vein as the first with both sides cancelling each other out in the main but with the odd chance here and there for both sides. Guy saw a half volley sail a few yards over the bar after doing well to get into an advanced position inside the box.
Nathan Thompson did a great job at right-back up against Tyrell Robinson and he had a very good chance before the hour to level things up, but 15 yards from goal, he saw a swing with his weaker left-foot go comfortably wide of the target.
Portsmouth piled on the pressure after bringing Stuart O'Keefe and Oliver Hawkins off the bench and it paid off just after the hour mark when they found an equalising goal. Pitman tried his luck with a shot from distance and it took a slight but telling deflection off McMahon which took the ball past Doyle in front of almost a thousand travelling supporters.
Matthew Lund made his return from injury, coming off the bench for Kai Bruenker and he made a crucial impact. Shortly after seeing a goalbound shot blocked by Whatmough, he scored to edge the Bantams ahead. After latching onto Charlie Wyke's flick on, he battled his way past Matthew Clarke to get goalside of him before prodding the ball past a rooted McGee.
The evening was marred by an injury to Tyrell Robinson which left him having to be stretchered off after a tangle with Nathan Thompson and ultimately resulted in the fourth official adding nine minutes on at the end of the 90.
Portsmouth sensed an opportunity to score a late equaliser with the aerial threat of Hawkins asking a real question of the City back-line but Wyke scored in the fifth minute of added time to put the result beyond doubt. McMahon tried to catch McGee out with a shot at goal from a free-kick and the Pompey stopper could only parry the ball into the path of the Bantams' leading scorer who smashed the ball into the roof of the net. An excellent win for Simon Grayson's men who look to finish the season strongly. With five games to go, there is still plenty to play for.