Ten-man City were made to settle for a point at the Utilita Energy Stadium, with a 1-1 draw against high-flying Tranmere Rovers.
Jamie Walker’s early goal was the reward for a flying Bantams start, but Elliot Watt’s dismissal shortly after made life difficult for the home side.
A determined performance almost secured Mark Hughes’ first home win had it not been for Callum McManaman’s 89th minute equaliser dividing the points.
A positive start from City earned them the lead inside the opening 20 minutes. Luke Hendrie’s floated cross found Walker unmarked in the box, allowing the Scot to head home his first goal at Valley Parade.
Despite the early lead - and strong display - City were reduced to 10 not long after their goal. Elliot Watt received two yellow cards in the space of two minutes and was dismissed.
City did not lie down despite the red card, and Walker looked to double his tally for the day with a long-range strike, but Joe Murphy was alert enough to tip the effort over his crossbar.
Josh Dacres-Cogley’s delicate cross was diverted goalward by Tranmere top goal-scorer Elliot Nevitt, but to City’s relief it drifted safely behind, sending the hosts into the break ahead.
Rovers had a golden opportunity to level the scores just after half-time when Chris Merrie received the ball in acres of space, but lashed his effort over the bar.
Dion Pereira’s mazy run opened space for the winger to shoot just wide of the mark from 25 yards out, as City looked to put the game to bed.
It would be the visitors however who escaped from West Yorkshire with a point thanks to a late strike from substitute Callum McManaman, who cut inside and found the bottom corner just a minute shy of the 90th.
The action was not over there, though, as returning Lee Angol came inches away from snatching the points right back when he broke free of the Rovers defence.
City’s No.19 looked to outwit Murphy at his near post, drilling a shot hard and low but his effort agonisingly struck the upright and the game ended level.
CITY: Alex Bass (booked 56’); Liam Ridehalgh, Paudie O’Connor ©, Yann Songo’o, Andy Cook (Lee Angol 70’); Jamie Walker (booked 66’, Gareth Evans 78’) , Alex Gilliead, Charles Vernam (Callum Cooke 70’), Elliot Watt (booked 26’, dismissed 28’); Luke Hendrie, Dion Pereira. SUBS (not used): Richard O’Donnell, Matty Foulds, Fiacre Kelleher, Caolan Lavery.
GOALS: Jamie Walker (19’).
TRANMERE: Joe Murphy; Josh Dacres-Cogley, Tom Davies, Chris Merrie, Jay Spearing (Callum McManaman 45’); Kane Hemmings, Sam Foley, Lewis Warrington, Elliott Nevitt (Nicky Maynard 62’, booked 67’); Lee O’Connor (Josh Hawkes 45’), Peter Clarke ©. SUBS (not used): Ross Doohan, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Charlie Jolley, Josh McPake.
GOALS: Callum McManaman (89’).
REFEREE: Carl Boyeson (Humberside).
ATTENDANCE: 17,527 (including 1,507 Tranmere supporters).