A spirited performance was not enough for Bradford City this evening as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Cheltenham Town.
Bradford City Manager Stuart McCall made three changes to the side from the weekend one of which was enforced as Zeli Ismail was side-lined due to injury. Youngster Kian Scales got his first EFL start, Callum Cooke and Dylan Mottley-Henry also came into the side.
Cheltenham boss Michael Duff made three changes as well to his side with Joshua Griffiths, Will Boyle and Ellis Chapman coming into the side.
The first real chance of the game went to Bradford. A long free kick from Elliot Watt saw the head of Paudie O’Connor, his header was saved but parried by the keeper Griffiths into the path of Ben Richards-Everton who’s shot went into the side netting.
City had made a strong start and got their reward when a cross from Callum Cooke found the head of Clayton Donaldson who flicked on into the bottom left corner. That was Donaldson’s fifth of season in both league and cup making him City’s top scorer.
From the restart the Robins could have equalised, a cross from Liam Sercombe found Chris Hussey but his shot bounced off the crossbar and safely into the hands of Richard O’Donnell.
But just on the stroke of half time a deflected shot from Alfie May looped over O’Donnell and into the net. A real kick in the teeth for the Bantams.
The visitors could have doubled their lead if it wasn’t for the bodies on line defending from Bradford. First a save from O’Donnell to deny George Lloyd then a diving block to deny May.
So into the half time break the game went with the scores level, Certainly a real edge to the Bantams. Effort, Desire and Passion was all on display with the goal given away being real the disappointment.
Michael Duff utilised the recently added five substitution rule and made a half time change with Ellis Chapman coming off for Chris Clements.
Stuart McCall’s men started very slowly and had an early scare when a parried cross from O’Donnell forced the keeper to go walkabout but luckily City had men back in numbers to survive the pressure.
It took City time to grow into the game and a through ball from Elliot Watt fed the advancing Bryce Hosannah who went one on one with Griffiths but his chip was just wide of the far post.
Cheltenham reacted to that clear cut chance with one of their own a cross in from Hussey caused panic in the box but Richards-Everton headed over May’s shot from point blank range.
The endeavour and fight of Bradford City took another hammer blow after a trademark long throw from Ben Toner was launched into the box causing a melee in the box and the half time substitute Clements latched onto the loose ball and headed home. City who did lead now found themselves chasing the game.
Despite City’s attempt to throw the kitchen sink into the game the Bantams were condemned to their seventh league defeat of the league campaign leaving the Bantams 21st in the league.