Peterborough United 2 Bradford City 1
A 35 yard wonder goal from Kgosi Ntlhe and a tidy finish from Britt Assombalonga in the first half set Peterborough on their way to victory over The Bantams in the last fixture before Christmas. City produced a spirited second half performance and did pull a goal back through substitute Andy Gray for his first goal in his second spell as a Bradford player.
There were chances for both sides in the early stages of the game and after Lee Tomlin had seen a shot blocked in the goalmouth it was Garry Thompson who almost turned the ball in after Nahki Wells had broken away out wide and aimed a cross towards him.
Lee Tomlin was proving to be a dangerous player for the hosts and he came close once again to opening the scoring when he fired a shot narrowly wide of the target from 18 yards out after bursting into space.
On the 18th minute Peterborough did take the lead; looking well out of harm’s way Kgosi Ntlhe took aim from the best part of 35 yards out with a speculative shot that, perhaps wind assisted, dipped right into the top corner leaving McLaughlin with little chance of keeping it out.
Six minutes later things got worse for City as the hosts doubled their lead; Britt Assombalonga received a pass just outside the area and with a neat turn he escaped his marker before rifling a shot into the bottom corner.
United were well on top at this stage and could’ve and perhaps should’ve scored a third goal. Tomlin escaped the attentions of a couple of markers in the area and dinked a chip pass through to Assombalonga who could only cushion a shot marginally wide of the target on this occasion.
Gary Jones came close to getting City back into the game when he met Wells’ pull back with a firm first time shot that went straight at Bobby Olejnik, either side of him and it’d have surely been a goal.
The two best Peterborough players on the day Assombalonga and Tomlin could’ve scored their sides’ third goal before the interval. Assombalonga hit a half volley a yard wide after connecting with Jermaine Anderson’s cross and Tomlin ended a powerful run with a shot that went wide of the post.
Into the second half Tomlin linked up with Assombalonga but the latter saw his shot from a tight angle kept out well by McLaughlin.
The introduction of Kyel Reid as a half time substitution definitely made City more of a threat going forward and after beating Mark Little down the left hand side his low cross fell to Gary Jones who saw a goal-bound effort blocked by Ntlhe.
Bobby Olejnik was busy at one end making a smart save to keep out Wells’ fierce strike before McLaughlin kept out Tomlin’s effort after he’d weaved towards goal inside the area.
The Bantams did get back into the game when the impressive Kyel Reid produced a near post cross that was turned in by Andy Gray who was making only his first appearance of the season.
City almost turned the game on its head two minutes later when Yeates produced a superb turn to get into the area but his shot was kept out by Olejnik and Gray’s follow up was blocked by Bostwick.
The next chance came from a set piece as City chased an equaliser; a short corner was worked to Jones who saw a shot blocked and the ball came out to Doyle who sliced a rising drive comfortably over the bar from 20 yards out.
Assombalonga spurred two chances to extend Peterborough’s advantage in injury time when he fired a shot wide before hitting another one wide after he was initially denied by McLaughlin from close range.