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Match Reports


22 December 2018

Match Reports


22 December 2018

David Hopkin's Bantams gave City supporters the perfect early Christmas present by moving out of the Sky Bet League One relegation zone after claiming a comfortable home win over Scunthorpe United.

In City's final home match of 2018, first period goals from Jack Payne and Eoin Doyle (pen) saw Hopkin's men secure a 2-0 win against Scunthorpe at the Northern Commercials Stadium.

Payne gave City the lead in the tenth minute with his eighth goal of the season, with Doyle then doubling the Bantams' advantage later in the half from the penalty spot after George Miller was brought down by Scunthorpe 'keeper Jak Alnwick.

The eventual margin of victory for City could have been greater, but Alnwick - who spent a period on loan with the Bantams back in 2015 - denied Miller, Payne, Doyle and David Ball with good saves later in the match.

Scunthorpe substitute Cameron Burgess was dismissed after the break following two bookings in three minutes for the defender.

Coming on the back of last weekend's 4-0 victory over Walsall, City have now registered successive wins at Valley Parade in the space of just eight days to help the Bantams move up to twentieth in the League One table.

Hopkin was forced into two changes to his starting XI from that Walsall game.

Anthony O'Connor and Kelvin Mellor were both sidelined through injury, meaning Doyle and Ryan McGowan were brought back into the side.

In O'Connor's absence, Paul Caddis took over the captain's armband.

Ahead of the match, Scunthorpe manager Stuart McCall - a clear and obvious club legend at Valley Parade - was given a tremendous reception by the supporters in the home stands as he made his way out of the tunnel and towards the visiting dug-out.

McCall's side actually started the contest arguably the better of the two teams.

Iron midfielder Funso Ojo had two efforts on goal - both repelled by Richard O'Donnell - with less than three minutes on the clock.

Despite Scunthorpe's competent beginning to the encounter, however, it was City who claimed the vital early advantage.

After winning possession in Scunthorpe's half, Doyle raced forward towards the box before teeing up Payne.

Payne took aim from just inside the area and the attacker's low drive found the far bottom corner via the base of the post.

The goal was clearly a boost for the Bantams, but Scunthorpe did still remain in the contest.

Kyle Wootton saw a low strike from the edge of the box held by O'Donnell shortly after Payne's opener.

Minutes later, Lee Novak found George Thomas in the box and the attacker's clever lofted effort landed on the roof of the net.

Midway through the half, though, it was City who struck again.

The lively Miller snuck in on the blind-side of former City defender Rory McArdle to latch onto a ball into the Scunthorpe box.

Alnwick came out to try and deny Miller but the shot-stopper could only bring down the City striker.

Payne tapped the ball in seconds later but referee Carl Boyeson pulled the play back to award a spot-kick, booking Alnwick for the foul.

Doyle took responsibility for the resulting penalty, and the Irishman made no mistake with a well-struck spot-kick into the top corner.

Coming into this contest on the back of five straight losses, Scunthorpe's confidence levels seemed to visibly drop significantly as a result of that second City goal.

Hopkin's men sensed blood at this stage, and Miller came within inches of connecting with Caddis' delightful ball into the six yard box on the half hour mark.

The Bantams then went even closer seven minutes from the break.

As City broke forward on the counter-attack, Miller played Doyle in on goal inside Scunthorpe's penalty area.

Doyle's strike deflected up onto the crossbar via a touch off Alnwick, with McArdle then required to head behind to deny Payne a tap-in on the rebound.

With City aiming for a killer third goal ahead of the interval, Miller headed at Alnwick from a Payne cross soon afterwards.

Ball then found the side-netting by Alnwick's near post after driving into the box.

Miller was involved again shortly before the break when McArdle, who suffered a troubling afternoon on his return to Valley Parade, mis-directed a header from a big O'Donnell clearance forward.

The loose ball dropped to Miller just inside the box and the striker's effort on the half-volley had to be pushed behind by Alnwick.

McArdle was removed ahead of the second period by McCall as one of two changes in total made by the Scunthorpe boss at half time.

City started the second half with a curling effort from Ball that flashed just wide of Alnwick's far post.

Scunthorpe gave a reminder that they weren't completely out of the match a minute or so later, however, when Wootton volleyed over from a good position in the area following a Novak cross.

The Iron continued to try to push their way into the game, but Payne had a chance to possibly settle the contest.

On the counter-attack, Payne fizzed the ball across the six yard box but there was no-one in claret and amber in the middle quite close enough for the tap-in.

As the game moved past the hour point, half time sub Burgess - Scunthorpe's replacement for McArdle - was given his first caution after catching Miller in an aerial duel for the ball.

Burgess' afternoon was then ended after only twenty-one minutes in total when the centre half sent Lewis O'Brien crashing to the turf with a fierce challenge.

The mis-timed and strong tackle deservedly earned Burgess his second booking of the game to leave Scunthorpe a man light and City firmly in the driving seat for the remainder of the match.

A great flowing move from City soon after nearly resulted in a goal for Ball, but the attacker's shot on the turn from deep inside the box was brilliantly turned behind by Alnwick.

Lewis O'Brien was the next to test Alnwick minutes later with a strike from the edge of the box that was held low to his right by the custodian.

City continued to keep their one-time shot-stopper busy, with Payne forcing Alnwick into a smart save after another eye-catching move from the Bantams thirteen minutes from the end.

Sub Kai Bruenker then could have made it three for the Bantams within seconds of coming on.

As City lined up for an attacking corner, the striker jogged straight into position before heading over from only a few yards out following Payne's near post delivery.

Out of nowhere, though, ten-man Scunthorpe could have made things interesting with around ten minutes left.

Firstly, Ojo saw a strike from inside the box repelled by the legs of O'Donnell.

From Scunthorpe's next attack, Novak threatened as well but his looping header from sub Clayton Lewis' cross dropped inches past the far post.

That would be the closest Scunthorpe would come to mounting an unlikely comeback though.

Lewis fired not too far over with a strike from distance from a Scunthorpe free-kick, while Bruenker saw another close range header deflected past the far post via Jordan Clarke at the other end a minute or so later.

With City heading for victory, Hopkin gave appentice Eliot Goldthorp his league debut; the young midfielder replacing Doyle just before the end of normal time.

City saw out the four minutes of injury time that followed to claim a third consecutive home league win and boost confidence levels even further ahead of a mouth-watering Boxing Day clash against high-flying Sunderland.


Match line ups, updates and stats from the Scunthorpe fixture can be found via our Match Centre - HERE.

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