Fleetwood Town 1 (Sowerby 21)
Bradford City 2 (Gilliead 56, McCartan 63)
Monday 1st January 2018 | Sky Bet League One | Highbury Stadium
The Bantams began the New Year with a superb come-from-behind victory on their travels at Fleetwood Town. The hosts started the game on the fornt foot and midway through the first half went ahead through a Jack Sowerby strike. The strong wind and intense pressure applied by City meant that Fleetwood had a tough task in the second half and two excellent goals in seven first half minutes through Alex Gilliead and Shay McCartan meant the Bantams headed back to Yorkshire with three points in the bag.
Town went in search of an opening goal from the first whilst and inside the first minute, they almost scored the opener. Jordy Hiwula's reverse pass gave Kyle Dempsey the chance to shoot and his shot from inside the box was beaten away by Rouven Sattelmaier before Devante Cole spurned the opportunity to hit the target when the ball came his way.
Hiwula had an opportunity of his own shortly afterwards after providing for Dempsey but after the midfielder's flick fell kindly into his path after Cole's neat flick, the forward who spent last season on loan at Valley Parade curled a shot across goal and in the end, comfortably wide of the target.
Dempsey was loooking the bright spark for Uwe Rosler's side in the early stages and he had another opportunity to get onto the scoresheet. After turning away from Timothee Dieng, he fired an effort towards goal but Rouven Sattelmaier was equal to it and and held onto the ball well.
The hosts got their goal a bright start deserved approaching the midway mark of the first half. After Hiwula had turned away from Tony McMahon and darted towards the edge of the box, he kept his composure to slip the ball through to Jack Sowerby and he lashed the ball across goal and into the far corner to give his side the advantage.
City began to have opportunities of their own after falling behind and Charlie Wyke, fresh from avoiding suspension, flicked a Paul Taylor cross wide at the near post shortly after Chris Neal had kept out Timothee Dieng's ambitious 25 yard attempt.
Shay McCartan was in the side to start again just a couple of days after scoring in the victory against Oxford United and he capped a promising run with a shot that didn't quite match - summing up a frustrating anf ultimately disappointing first half at a bitter Highbury Stadium.
The Bantams were a different side in the second half and controlled large parts of it. The first chance came after hard-work and persistence forced Cian Bolger into surrendering possesion and then the shot came from McCartan but from 15 yards out he couldn't get on the scoresheet with Neal equal to a relatively tame strike.
The equaliser came for the Bantams and it was Alex Gilliead who notched his first league goal of the campaign. The lively winger carried the ball forward and found Taylor who gave him the ball back and the Newcastle United loanee lashed a low drive into the bottom corner from 20 yards out. Tails were well and truly up attacking towards the travelling army of City supporters.
Taylor himself saw a dipping attempt from 30 yards out land on the roof of the net before McCartan put the Bantams ahead in style. McMahon's corner to the far post was nodded down by Wyke and the Northern Irish forward was there to produce an acrobatic volley which bounced through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner.
Wes Burns and Conor McAleny were brought on from the bench as the hosts looked for a way back into the game in the latter stages and the two inadvertently combined to create a decent opportunity with seven minutes left on the clock. Burns saw a shot deflected into the path of McAleny and the former Everton man couldn't keep his cool as he lashed the ball wide from a tight angle at the far post.