City boss David Hopkin was left frustrated after the Bantams lost out to Sunderland in controversial circumstances.
More than 46,000 fans – including over 2,300 travelling City supporters – packed into the Stadium of Light, where the Black Cats ran out 1-0 winners in the Boxing Day clash.
Jack Payne appeared to have equalised for the Bantams in the 82nd minute after his shot had beaten goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.
But referee Darren England ruled that the ball had not crossed the line and waved ‘play on’.
City manager Hopkin said: “Anybody in the stadium could see it had crossed the line. There were over 46,000 witnesses.
“The keeper has dived back across the line, so it is obvious it had gone in.
“David Ball was fouled in the area and we should have had a penalty, as well as a red card following a challenge on Nat Knight-Percival - and the goal which should have stood.
“The officials made mistakes and it ultimately cost us.
“Sometimes big crowds can affect the decision making of people, which I think is what happened with the referee.”
Aiden McGeady’s 31st-minute strike was all that separated the two sides at the break, following a mistake in the Bantams’ defence during the first half.
Despite luck going against City on the field, Hopkin believed his side’s gameplan was “well executed”.
Hopkin added: “People were saying this was a ‘free hit’ but I disagree. This was a game we thought we could have won.
“We went to Sunderland with a gameplan and we implemented it very well.
“Sunderland didn’t have many clear-cut chances and it took a mistake for us to concede.
“We created the better chances and had a goal and penalty disallowed for whatever reasons.
“We made one mistake and were punished for it, but I don’t think our play merited the final result.
“Everybody gave me every bit of effort they could, which is encouraging as a manager to see that.
“We came to a difficult ground and were backed fantastically, yet again, by our supporters.
“We should have come home with a point at the very least, but it wasn’t to be.
“The lads were brilliant again. We will now look for similar performances against Rochdale and Accrington.”
Supporters will be able to pay on the gate when we face Rochdale - on Saturday afternoon - at the Crown Oil Arena (kick-off 3.00pm).