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Match Reports


28 October 2017

Match Reports


28 October 2017

City defender Matthew Kilgallon's second goal of the season ten minutes from the end of normal time helped the Bantams get back to winning ways with a hard-fought victory at Portsmouth this Saturday.

Following a run of one draw and two losses previously in the league, Stuart McCall's men claimed victory once again when Kilgallon thumped home a header from the fit-again Tony McMahon's wide free-kick at Fratton Park.

In truth, McCall's side had to withstand several periods of pressure throughout their game against Pompey, with the hosts going close on more than one occasion.

City stood tall, however, to pick up a welcome clean-sheet to go with the morale-boosting three-point haul.

McMahon's return to the side was one of four changes made by McCall from their last league fixture for City's visit to Hampshire.

Romain Vincelot, who missed last weekend's match with Charlton Athletic due to suspension, took over the captain's armband once again, while Adam Thompson - fresh from his goal in Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy win over Manchester City U21s - lined up in central defence alongside Kilgallon.

After shaking off a recent rib injury, Paul Taylor was partnered together with Charlie Wyke in attack.

The Bantams impressively had a thousand of their own supporters in an official attendance figure of over 18,000, but it was Portsmouth's fans who were on their feet in the early stages.

With the hosts making a bright start to proceedings, Jamal Lowe forced an early save out of Colin Doyle following a bright burst forward from Pompey.

Former Bantams loanee Kyle Bennett then fired narrowly wide while in space ten minutes in with a low drive from the edge of the box.

City managed to enjoy a greater foothold in the match as the first period continued but Bennett was still able to go close again for Portsmouth near the half hour mark.

The lively Matty Kennedy found Bennett in a good position inside the box with a clever cross-field pass but the Pompey attacker fired over with a shot on the bounce.

Shortly afterwards, Kennedy then curled narrowly over from just outside the box.

City's greatest sight of goal in the opening period arguably came four minutes from the break when Vincelot sent a looping header just over following a McMahon free-kick into the box from wide.

Following a fairly lacklustre first half showing from City, McCall will have been looking for better from his players after the interval.

Just four minutes after the restart, however, the Bantams survived a huge let-off.

Pompey 'keeper Luke McGee's huge kick forward bounced away from Thompson, leaving Bennett with a clear run on goal.

Bennett, who enjoyed a loan spell with City in the second period of the 2013/2014 campaign, rounded the on-rushing Doyle but he could only find the side-netting with a shot from a tight angle inside the box.

The Bantams responded with an opening of their own after that near-miss, an unmarked Wyke seeing a free header repelled by McGee following Taylor's cross into the box.

A lurking Nicky Law looked to pounce on the rebound but, like Bennett earlier, he too could only hit the side-netting from an awkward position in the area.

Sadly for City, Wyke's chance did not change the overall flow of the second period, with Portsmouth continuing to look the more likely scorers.

Just over twenty minutes from the end, Doyle had to be alert to quickly deny two Pompey players in quick succession.

The Irish shot-stopper firstly blocked out an effort from Ben Close after the midfielder had burst into space inside the box.

Seconds later, Doyle was involved again, this time stretching up to tip over Kennedy's rising drive from just outside the area.

Fifteen minutes from the end, McMahon, who had already been involved in a couple of altercations during the game, was booked by referee Mr Dean Whitestone for a spot of verbals.

The caution - McMahon's fifth of the season - means the right back is now scheduled to miss next Saturday's Emirates FA Cup first round tie with Chesterfield through suspension.

Fellow full-back Dion Donohue went into the book soon after for Portsmouth's first booking of the day after the former Chesterfield defender felled a surging Alex Gilliead down City's right flank.

From the resulting free-kick into the box, City would crucially take the lead.

With McMahon's delivery, as usual, on the money, Kilgallon rose highest to power a header into the far corner past a rooted McGee in the Portsmouth goal.

Kilgallon and his jubliant City team-mates celebrated with their impressive away following behind the goal, but McCall's men knew the job wasn't done just yet.

Aided by the introduction of Timothee Dieng off the bench, City had to see out the remaining ten minutes of normal time, plus the four minutes shown up on the fourth officials' board.

In the final seconds of injury time, City did endure a moment of concern when Kennedy's ball into the box dropped into the path of Pompey substitute Conor Chaplin but the midfielder's goal-bound shot was blocked away.

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