Bradford City Under-18s secured a hard-fought win in the group stages of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup, defeating Chesterfield Under-18s 1-0 on home soil to extend their unbeaten run to five games.
Captain Jeremie Milambo bagged the all-important goal moments before half-time, as chances proved rare during the opening period.
Connor Shanks came closest for the Bantams after feigning the opposition right back, taking the ball into the box, with his curled effort only just evading the top-left corner of the net.
Shanks again came close after good link-up play between Milambo and Eddy Prata. Prata’s control on the edge of the area set the ball up for Shanks to strike at goal, but his shot was over the bar.
The goal came just seconds before the break, giving City a deserved lead. Matt Birchall’s ball into the area allowed left-back Jeremie Milambo to take the ball forward before striking low and hard past the keeper.
But the visitors had the best chance just after the second half began.
Spirites midfielder Jack Holmes was fortunate to have a rebounded effort off Reece Staunton fall flat at his feet. His second attempt crashed against the crossbar, only for the Bantams to clear.
The Bantams enjoyed a handful of chances to seal their success during the closing stages but were unable to convert them.
A Matt Birchall pass to Christian Farrar on the right edge gave the striker a chance on goal but could only fire over the bar.
And just two minutes later the same play happened again.
Raeece Ellington’s interception in the middle spurred another counter. Birchall’s repeat ball to Farrar again gave him the same chance but it was a recurred finish high over the bar.
City’s next opponents in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup are Wigan Athletic.
However, Mark Trueman’s side will travel to Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United this week for friendly matches.
Hartlepool United lie in wait, next, in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
BANTAMS: Alfie Darke; Hayden Smethurst, Jorge Sikora, Reece Staunton, Jeremie Milambo; Jake Maltby, Raeece Ellington, Matt Birchall; Connor Shanks, Eddy Prata (Christian Farrar 61’), Kielen Adams (Wade Ripley 70’).
GOALS: Milambo (45)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jeremie Milambo