Josh McPake’s late winner gave Bradford City’s play off hopes a sucker punch in the Yorkshire Clash.
It was West Yorkshire versus North Yorkshire at Wetherby Road. Last time Harrogate grabbed a 1-0 victory at Valley Parade.
There were four changes to the City side from Tuesday’s defeat at the hands of Crawley Town. Clayton Donaldson, Andy Cook, Billy Clarke and Levi Sutton returned to the starting 11. Niall Canavan missed out due to injury.
The hosts named two former Bantams in their starting 11. Former City academy player Joe Cracknell and John Stead, who was part of the squad who got the FA Cup Quarter Final, started in the Harrogate side.
Within 2 minutes City came close to opening the score. Clayton Donaldson directed Billy Clarke’s corner towards the bottom left corner, Cracknell dived low to deny the veteran.
The visitors from West Yorkshire had started brightly and again could have opened the scoring through Finn Cousin-Dawson, His audacious over head kick bounced off the bar.
Andy Cook almost got in for City, he latched onto Connor Hall’s back pass towards Cracknell, His shot however was well defended by Harrogate and hurled away.
Against the run of play the hosts took the lead. Jack Muldoon was allowed to get in behind the City defence and slotted home into the bottom left corner.
After the goal City seem to lose the early momentum, Harrogate on the other hand seem to grow in confidence. They almost doubled their lead when John Stead had a sight of goal and looked certain to score but Cousin-Dawson last ditch tackle denied the former Bantam.
Half Time: Harrogate Town 1-0 Bradford City
Town started the second half very brightly and came close when George Thomson was played in by Muldoon, his effort struck the bar.
Muldoon had the chance to double Harrogate’s lead and to get his second of the game, but Cousin-Dawson denied him with a goal saving challenge.
Clayton Donaldson had City’s first chance of the second half. He came close from a free kick but saw his header go well over the bar.
City managers Mark Trueman and Connor Sellars made two substitutions and one of them made an impact straight away.
Ollie Crankshaw, who came on for Charles Vernam, picked up the ball in midfield, he drove at the Harrogate defence and fed Andy Cook who curled into the far right corner.
City had a spring in their step after the equaliser, and again Crankshaw was at the centre of the attack, this time he set up Donaldson who tried a dink towards the back post which almost snuck in for the striker.
Connor Wood came close for the Bantams, he carried the ball from his own half and unleashed his effort which Cracknell parried but gathered at the second attempt.
The impact sub for City had his chance at goal, He drove again at the Harrogate defence and took himself past Ryan Fallowfield but dragged his shot wide of the mark.
Despite City’s push and surge of confidence, Harrogate got their second, Josh McPake’s strike from the edge of the area nestled in the bottom right corner.
In added time City came close through Crankshaw again, He latched onto Kian Scales cross but his effort was tipped over the bar by Cracknell.
Full Time: Harrogate Town 2-1 Bradford City
A much better second half from City wasn’t enough to secure the points this time around but once they paid the price for a slow start to the game.
The EFL new boys get the double over the Bantams this season. They stay mid table in 16th on 53 points. City on the other hand stay on 58 with the gap still at 4 points between them and the play offs.
Man of the Match: Finn Cousin-Dawson