Three City squad members made their return from injury and three apprentices broke new ground in their fledgling careers, as the Bantams were defeated by Oldham Athletic at the Northern Commercials Stadium in their second group game of this season's Checkatrade Trophy.
Club captain Josh Wright started for City against Oldham, while Joe Riley and Alex Jones featured from the bench.
Sixteen-year old duo Reece Staunton and Eliot Goldthorp joined Wright in the Bantams' starting XI for their maiden senior starts with the club.
Fellow scholar Raeece Ellington was given his first outing in professional football as a second half sub.
Another positive on the night for the Bantams was Kai Bruenker netting his first goal for the club after the restart.
Sadly for City, though, Oldham's scored twice either side of Bruenker's goal to give the game a final scoreline of 4-1 to the visitors.
Oldham, whose side featured far more experience than City's in terms of years in the game and league appearances, moved into a two-goal lead at the break thanks to efforts from Callum Lang and Mohamed Maouche.
Bruenker's headed goal from a Jack Payne corner gave David Hopkin's men some hope in the game, but a double from the impressive Sam Surridge after that sealed a resounding victory for the Latics.
Sherwin Seedorf, Jordan Gibson and Thomas Isherwood joined the likes of Bruenker, Staunton, Wright and Goldthorp in the line up as Hopkin made seven changes for the trophy match.
The Bantams began promisingly enough - Gibson and Seedorf both firing over from early chances - but the visitors were able to take a tenth-minute lead.
Surridge's low cross into the box found Lang and the Oldham attacker was able to finish from close range despite the best efforts of Gibson on the line.
Following a series of half-chances at both ends, Oldham managed to double their lead midway through the opening half.
Chris O'Grady beat Richard O'Donnell to the ball deep inside City's penalty area before squaring for Maouche to slot home into the corner.
City looked to response after this double blow, but they weren't quite able to take two decent chances to fall their way after the half hour mark.
Ball was played into space by Payne, who had seen an effort saved by Oldham shot-stopper Zeus De La Pez minutes earlier, but the striker's scuffed shot inside the box was deflected wide.
From the resulting Payne corner, Nathaniel Knight-Percival thumped a header narrowly over the bar.
At the other end, Dan Gardner was denied by O'Donnell after the City 'keeper made a smart save to push away the midfielder's strike from outside the box.
O'Donnell made another good stop shortly afterwards from a Lang diving header just yards out, but the Oldham man had already been flagged offside.
As half time approached, Oldham's two goalscorers looked to combine when Lang played Maouche into clear shooting space inside the box.
Just as Maouche went to plug the trigger, though, a recovering Staunton made a great last-ditch challenge to rob him of the ball.
There was still time in the half for Maouche to set up Surridge deep inside the box, but the striker's poke forwards from a tight angle rolled across goal before City could clear on the far side.
The Bantams engineered the first clear scoring chance after the break when Knight-Percival's header from a Payne corner was blocked by De La Paz. Samuel Edmondson then cleared behind.
That gave City another set-piece opportunity, and they didn't waste their second sight of goal in quick succession.
The following Payne corner delivery found the header of Bruenker and the German striker powered an effort past De La Paz.
The delight of Bruenker's face after scoring his first ever City goal was certainly clear to see.
Buoyed by that goal, Bruenker nearly had another opening minutes later but he was inches away from connecting with Gibson's long looping ball in behind.
Just as City were looking to build some momentum in the game, however, Oldham restored their two-goal advantage.
O'Grady's testing cross from the left was an inviting one, giving Surridge the simple task of heading past O'Donnell from deep inside the box.
Surridge could have grabbed another goal shortly afterwards but his header dropped past the post after Peter Clarke had flicked on an Oldham free-kick into the box from deep.
For the Bantams, Bruenker was continuing to keep himself in the action.
The German's header from another Payne corner just over twenty minutes from the end was deflected over.
From City's next meaningful attack, Bruenker was a whisker away from connecting with a teasing Gibson cross into the heart of Oldham's penalty area.
Thirteen minutes from the end, Riley was introduced into the action for Seedorf for his first action in City colours since late August.
Oldham grabbed a fourth of the night shortly after, the eye-catching Surridge claiming a second on the night.
Oldham's number nine turned away from Riley and Isherwood inside the box before firing low past O'Donnell by his near post.
As the game moved into the final ten minutes, Jones was brought on for Ball.
For the striker, it was his first action of the 2018/2019 campaign.
Minutes later, second year apprentice Ellington was given his first run-out with the senior squad after replacing the returning Wright.
With the game sadly seemingly beyond the Bantams going into injury time, Surridge enjoyed two chances to claim a hat-trick.
Firstly, Surridge saw a powerful half-volley from inside the box repelled by O'Donnell.
Surridge rounded O'Donnell from another Oldham attack soon after but his effort from a tight angle found the side-netting by the near post.
For match line-ups, stats and updates from the Oldham match, please click HERE.