The Bantams’ first 2022/23 pre-season outing at Valley Parade ended in defeat, as Derby County claimed a 2-0 victory on a sunny afternoon in West Yorkshire.
First-half goals from Craig Forsyth and Tom Barkhuizen were enough for the visitors to earn their first victory of their pre-season, as City proved unable to make any of their pressure count.
Mark Hughes’ men were put under pressure straight from kick-off, with the visitors creating a number of early chances.
Louie Sibley came closest for the Rams, as City were nearly made to pay for a stray backpass, but the Derby forward was unable to find the target, after he rounded Harry Lewis.
The Bantams soon created a chance of their own, with Richie Smallwood floating a tantalising ball into visitors’ penalty area. Lee Angol managed to connect with the cross, but his header did not test Joe Wildsmith in Derby’s goal.
Derby were soon back on the front foot, however, and they took the lead with 13 minutes on the clock.
The ball was well driven across the area by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and it found former City loanee Craig Forsyth, who slotted the ball home at the back post.
Following a short drinks break, the Bantams looked brighter, and on the stroke of half-time nearly equalised. Having the won the ball back high up the pitch, Jamie Walker attempted to lob Wildsmith, but the Scot’s audacious effort looped narrowly over the bar.
There was still time for more action, as the visitors managed to double their lead in the last action of the half.
Barkhuizen saw his initial effort blocked, but at the second time of asking, he bundled the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.
Hughes made four half-time changes, bringing on Matty Foulds, Kian Scales, Kian Harratt and Emmanuel Osadebe, who helped City put their visitors under pressure after the interval.
Nine minutes into the second half, two of these substitutions combined to create a good chance for the Bantams.
Foulds’ cross picked out Cook in the area, whose header had to be cleared off the line, with Derby managing to maintain their two-goal lead.
City continued to look bright in the second period, but were unable to create any clear-cut chances to threaten Derby’s two-goal advantage, and the game finished 2-0 to the visitors.
CITY: Harry Lewis (GK), Finn Cousin-Dawson, Reece Staunton (Matty Foulds 45’), Yann Songo’o (Oscar Threlkeld 64’), Matty Platt (Fiacre Kelleher 64’), Richie Smallwood (C) (Bobby Pointon 64’), Harry Chapman (Kian Harratt 45’), Ryan East (Charlie Wood 64’), Lee Angol (Andy Cook 45’), Jamie Walker (Kian Scales 45’), Jake Young (Emmanuel Osadebe 45’).
DERBY: Joe Wildsmith (GK) (Harrison Foulkes 72’), Eiran Cashin (Darren Robinson 45’), Tom Barkhuizen (Richard Stearman 45’), Max Bird (Jake Rooney 45’), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Haydon Roberts 45’, booked 56’, Will Grewal-Pollard 77’), Louie Sibley (Kevin McDonald 45’), Craig Forsyth (Carlos Richards 45’), Curtis Davies (C) (Osazee Aghatise 45’), Liam Thompson (Ryan Glover 45’), Jason Knight (Jack Stretton 45’), Kwaku Oduroh (Bartosz Cybulski 45’).
GOALS: Craig Forsyth (13’), Tom Barkhuizen (45+3’).
ATTENDANCE: 4,218 (including 1,336 Derby supporters).