The Bantams fell to their first defeat of the season at the hands of Peterborough United this afternoon.
In a hugely-eventful game which resulted in nine minutes additional time at the end of the 90, Kyle Vassell’s 57th minute strike proved to be enough to reward the visitors with all three points. City didn’t look quite up to the pace and quality that had seen them record 3 wins from the opening 4 games of the season and despite digging in later on, couldn’t break down Posh’s defensive barrier.
City made just a single change to the side that started in the 3-1 mid-week victory at Crawley Town with Derby County loanee and scorer of the third goal at Crawley, Mason Bennett coming in to start ahead of Aaron Mclean up front alongside James Hanson.
Peterborough began the game on the front foot using the pace at their disposal to cause some problems amongst City’s back line. Despite the visitors enjoying some bright moments in the final third in the early stages it was in fact The Bantams who had the first real chance of the game; after Ricardo Santos had been penalised for a handball on the edge of the area next to the by-line Alan Sheehan had chance to deliver a free kick. Sheehan’s free kick towards McArdle at the near post came out to Filipe Morais who rifled a fierce shot inches wide of the target from just inside the 18 yard box.
The visitors had done well to find pockets of space in City’s half and after Jermaine Anderson had claimed a loose ball he teed up Conor Washington for a rising drive that sailed a couple of yards over the bar not really troubling Jordan Pickford.
A few minutes later and the visitors fluffed a real chance of taking an early lead in the game; the pacey Washington found space for a shot which was saved well by Pickford and as Kane Ferdinand looked to latch onto the rebound, sponsor’s man of the match Jason Kennedy made a great sliding tackle to deny him the opportunity.
The Bantams seemed to be struggling to get a grip of the game, and although Billy Knott was looking as busy in the middle of the park as usual, City just couldn’t carve many openings. Washington was looking a threat alongside Kyle Vassell and he tried his luck once more when after turning away from Rory McArdle he saw a shot deflected behind for a corner kick.
In the space of a few moments shortly before half time, the visitors were unfortunate not to take the lead; Ricardo Santos beat Pickford to a cross before heading against the post. Joe Newell delivered a cross back into the area a matter of seconds later and Santos, unmarked at the far post glanced wide of the target.
Billy Knott produced City’s best attempt of the first half when his low drive from 25 yards had to be alertly pushed away by Ben Alnwick and Mason Bennett’s low cross from the follow up was blocked behind for a corner; claims for handball against a man in a blue shirt were waved away by the referee Graham Salisbury.
The Bantams lost Andrew Davies ten minutes into the second half to what eventually appeared to be a nasty looking shoulder injury. Following a collision with Pickford, Davies went down in agony and at one stage it looked as if he’d to be stretchered off but he ended up walking off to be replaced by James Meredith who slotted in at left back, Sheehan stepping in at centre half.
To rub salt in the wounds, the visitors took the lead two minutes later. Michael Smith rode a challenge from Stephen Darby to get into the area, he squared to Kyle Vassell who had time and space to pick his spot and fire a shot into the top corner from 10 yards out; a goal that had perhaps been coming.
With City on the ropes, Smith found space again but he opted to try his luck with a rising shot from 25 yards that went a yard or so over the bar. Billy Knott had been arguably the best player in a Claret and Amber shirt on a frustrating afternoon but he uncharacteristically surrendered possession to allow Joe Newell the opportunity to burst forward and force a very good save out of Pickford with a shot that looked destined for the top corner.
Another stoppage for injury arose when Posh centre half Shaun Brisley went down with a head injury, he eventually went off to be strapped up and came back on around 5 minutes later. Play had been broken up a lot in the early stages of the second half to add to the frustration of City being a goal down and struggling to break Peterborough’s defensive ranks down.
Goalscorer and eventual match winner Kyle Vassell blew a good chance of doubling his goals tally for the afternoon and his side’s lead when he curled a free kick harmlessly over the bar from just outside the 18 yard box, a real chance to test Pickford wasted.
City’s best effort of the half came from James Hanson, picking up the ball wide on the right hand side he cut infield before forcing Alnwick into a smart save with a vicious, swerving, left footed drive that was certainly goal bound.
Substitute Aaron Mclean saw a header from Darby’s hanging cross held comfortably by Alnwick, Mclean’s attempt lacked real power to test Peterborough’s stopper.
Nine minutes were added on at the end of the 90 minutes and City huffed and puffed but ultimately couldn’t break down the visitors’ defensive ranks.
There was half a chance the final minute of injury time; James Meredith’s long throw found the feet of McArdle in the area and he teed up Mark Yeates who prodded a shot over the bar.