Bradford City’s unbeaten run came to an end as the Bantams were beaten by Exeter City 3-2.
Interim Managers Mark Trueman and Connor Sellars made three changes from the 2-1 win over Barrow. New signings Charles Vernam and Ollie Crankshaw started in place of Danny Rowe and the injured Billy Clarke. Jordan Stevens also got his first start for Bradford City in place of Gareth Evans.
Exeter manager Matt Taylor made 4 changes from their Tuesday night victory over Stevenage. Robbie Willmott made his full debut for the Grecians.
Exeter started the game really brightly and almost took the lead early on but Anthony O’Connor blocked a close range header which was goal bound.
Despite the game being all Exeter in the early stages it was City who took the lead. Some lovely skill from Callum Cooke who weaved his way into the box. His shot was blocked but the ricochet fell to Charles Vernam who smashed home from close range to get his first goal for his new club.
Anthony O’Connor was called into action again, he made another key block to smother Jake Taylor‘s outside of the box shot.
The Grecians pressure would soon pay off though and spoil the Bantams good defensive work as from a corner Pierce Sweeney had a free header at the back post and headed home to level the score.
However a couple of minutes after a miscommunication at the back saw the ball roll free which Ollie Crankshaw latched onto, he took it round the keeper and slotted home to give City their lead back.
The goal was the last action of the half. City resolute defending had paid off as they took the lead into half time.
Half Time: Exeter City 1-2 Bradford City
The away side came out of the blocks early and were pressing with more urgency and forced Exeter into a mistake which saw Vernam see a sight at goal but his shot deflected wide.
Jordan Stevens then set up Callum Cooke who burst into the box but he ruffled the side netting.
The home side earned themselves a corner and in similar fashion to the goal for the Grecians, Sweeney connected with the ball but headed well over the bar.
However on 60 minutes, Exeter levelled. A cross into the box from Willmott found an unmarked Ryan Bowman who headed home to make it 2-2.
Again from a corner Exeter threatened but Bowman’s header at the near post was over the bar.
But 12 minutes before the end a long ball over the top saw Bowman run in on goal, keeper Sam Hornby came running out and caught Bowman resulting in a penalty for the Grecians and a booking for the City keeper.
Matt Jay stepped up and rolled the spot kick home. For the first time in the game the home side were in front.
It was the Grecians the took the three points and City made the long trip home empty handed
Full Time: Exeter City 3-2 Bradford City
A resolute defensive display was not enough for the Bantams. It was always going to be a tough test and a test of character for the Bantams and the defensive efforts of the away side were good. The continued pressure of Exeter proved too much to handle. The absence of Danny Rowe was sorely missed and City lacked a vocal point up front. Whilst Vernam did his best, he couldn’t match the presence and power of Danny Rowe.
Man of the Match: Ollie Crankshaw
Crankshaw looked bright in the City attack and certainly looked threatening when he came forward. He certainly had the drive to take on players and cause problems and was calm when his opportunity came to snatch his first goal.