Carlisle United triumphed over Bradford City at Valley Parade, for the first time since 1951, in a league fixture. A 56th-minute goal from prolific defender, Rhys Bennett meant the Cumbrians won their second game on the bounce to move up to fourth in the table.
Unfortunately, due to Bradford being in tier three, no fans could be at Valley Parade to witness the game, but those watching would’ve on IFollow would’ve been pleased by the early energy shown by both sides.
The first sight of goal came for Bradford on the fifth minute when Elliot Watt, the former Carlisle United loanee, swung in a delicious cross from a free-kick but it was a little high for Anthony O’Connor who could only head up and wide of the target.
Carlisle came closer through former Bradford man, Omari Patrick whose low half volley was saved by Richard O’Donnell, after Josh Kayode’s long throw had found the United Winger.
Patrick looked inspired, as he came close again on the 20th minute. The pacey winger cut in from the right-hand side but he could only scuff a low shot, but this seemed to trouble O’Donnell who parried wide.
Omari Patrick again tested O’Donnell, forward Lewis Alessandra had his shot blocked on the edge of the box, but Patrick couldn’t beat the Bradford stopper with his follow up.
Bradford really should’ve been one-nil up through Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee striker, Austin Samuels after another Elliot Watt cross was nodded across to him by Anthony O’Connor. However, the striker could only volley the ball into Aaron Hayden which cannoned back off Samuels for a Carlisle goal kick. Both teams went into the break at a stalemate.
United came out the traps with emphasis and came very close with centre back, Aaron Hayden. Alessandra put a ball in from a free-kick, which was flicked on by Kayode, but Hayden could only head the ball straight at O’Donnell for an easy save.
The Cumbrians finally broke the deadlock through the ever fantastic Rhys Bennett. Dean Furman miss-hit a cross into the area, which Anthony O’Connor missed allowing Bennett to ghost in at the back post to score in back to back games.
Carlisle almost killed Bradford City off on the break in the 76th minute, with Kayode striding forwards, he played the ball off to Mellish, but he was indecisive and chose to lay off Patrick instead. Patrick struggled to get any real pace on his shot which was pushed away by O’Donnell.
Patrick then showed why Chris Beech refused to sign Elliot Watt in summer, by completely outpacing the midfielder on the left. Concerns had previously been raised about Watt’s athleticism. Patrick then cut in on his right foot but was again denied by the man in the Bradford goal.
Another United player who had a point to prove was a local lad, Danny Devine. Kayode played the neat midfielder a gentle pass, but his shot was parried by O’Donnell.
Kayode had a curling shot saved by O’Donnell after Patrick again, powered down the left and slipped the ball to the Republic of Ireland under 21 international. His low curling effort looked to be creeping in the bottom corner, but O’Donnell matched it to save.
Some clever footwork from Alessandra on the edge of the Bradford box saw him beat two men, he then slid the ball into Mellish. The United midfielder slipped as he shot and the ball went flying over the bar.
Carlisle brought on the mercurial Frenchman, Gime Toure to try and close the game out. He was set free by Kayode’s through ball in the 92nd minute, but a poor touch led to him pushing it past the keeper and with no support ended up fouling Connor Wood.
Another solid performance by the Cumbrians, sees them win two in two which will frighten Stevenage as they travel to Brunton Park next Saturday afternoon. Bradford will be worried, as they now lie second from bottom in League Two. Questions may be asked of Stuart McCall as a club of Bradford City’s stature should not be performing so poorly. They travel to fellow strugglers, Oldham next Saturday.