Jake Reeves made his first City start in almost two years as the Bantams exited the Leasing.com Trophy following a 2-1 defeat to Rochdale.
Despite a quiet opening 10 minutes, the first goal of the game went to City, through Tyler French.
The defender flicked in after a free-kick from out wide was sent in by Reeves - inside the first 15 minutes.
City had a chance to make it two - seven minutes later - after Rochdale’s Aaron Wilbraham brought down Kelvin Mellor inside the penalty area.
Aramide Oteh stepped up but could not hit home, as the attacker saw his effort saved.
Despite City's penalty chance, Rochdale equalised in the 28th minute - courtesy of Rekeil Pyke.
The No.11 was gifted possession and lashed in, after Zeli Ismail was dispossessed on the edge of the 18-yard box.
With the first half coming to a close, Dale took the lead - six minutes later.
Harrison Hopper flicked it over the back-line, leaving Fabio Tavares one-on-one with George Sykes-Kenworthy.
The striker showed his composure and delicately chipped the ball in - making it 2-1 to Brian Barry-Murphy's men.
City had chances to equalise in the second period - through Ismail and Callum Cooke - but both opportunities came to no avail.
Confidence started to grow for Gary Bowyer's side as Daniel Devine joined in on the chances - in the 68th minute.
The second-half substitute was left free outside the box, before forcing a smart save from Dale goalkeeper Jay Lynch.
The Bantams pushed for an equaliser late on, but Rochdale held out as both sides bowed out of the competition.
CITY: George Sykes-Kenworthy; Jackson Longridge, Paudie O’Connor, Tyler French, Kelvin Mellor; Callum Cooke, Jake Reeves © (booked 39’) (Chris Taylor 61’), Jermaine Anderson, Zeli Ismail; Aramide Oteh (penalty missed 22’) (Daniel Devine 62’), Omari Patrick (Ben Richards-Everton 74’). Subs (not used): Richard O’Donnell; Hope Akpan.
GOALS: Tyler French (15’).
ROCHDALE: Jay Lynch; Rekeil Pyke (Kwadwo Baah 60’), Jimmy Keohane, Matthew Done, Aaron Wilbraham ©; Jimmy Ryan (Callum Camps 69’), Lewis Bradley (Louie Clarkson 78’), Matthew Gillam (booked 18’), Fabio Tavares; Harrison Hopper, Joseph Dunne. Subs (not used): Robert Sanchez; Ethan Brierley.
GOALS: Rekeil Pyke (28’), Fabio Tavares (34’).
ATTENDANCE: 761 (65 visitors).