A stunning second-half performance saw Mark Hughes’ Bantams bounce back to winning ways away from home, coming from behind to beat second-placed Stevenage 3-2.
Carl Piergianni opened the scoring for Boro just before the half-hour mark, as Steve Evans’ side dictated the majority of the first-half.
However, a thrilling second-half display ensued, as Matt Derbyshire - who netted his first for the Bantams - and Andy Cook put City in control of the encounter.
Boro levelled the clash once more with 15 minutes remaining, but Jamie Walker’s cool finish meant City became only the second side to beat the hosts at the Lamex Stadium in Sky Bet League Two this season.
It was a cagey, scrappy opening in Hertfordshire, with neither side initially possessing much threat.
Michael Bostwick saw his 30-yard effort easily dealt with by Harry Lewis, moments before Matt Derbyshire was inches away from meeting Alex Gilliead’s inviting cross.
The hosts began to ask questions of the City defence as the half developed, and after half an hour, edged in front.
Piergianni rose highest to meet Jake Forster-Caskey’s corner and give Steve Evans' side the advantage, as they looked to control the remainder of the half.
Minutes later, Piergianni threatened once again from a set-piece, as his back-post header found Josh March in space, but his attempted volley was deflected over.
The Bantams looked to end the first half on a high note. Derbyshire found himself in behind Boro’s backline, but his half-volley caused Jokull Andresson no problems before Jamie Walker saw an effort sailed narrowly over the bar.
Taking their positive end from the first half into the second, the Bantams were much more threatening after the break, and levelled within minutes.
A long ball towards Derbyshire, on his first start for the Bantams, was brought down before he hooked his half-volley over the Boro stopper, to excellently net his first in City colours off the underside of the crossbar.
It was not long after that Hughes’ men found themselves in front. Matty Platt drew a foul inside the area, after Brad Halliday’s inviting free-kick, and referee Leigh Doughty pointed to the spot.
On hand was top goal-scorer Cook, who coolly converted from 12 yards to edge the Bantams in front, and they became the first side to be in a winning position against Boro in the league in 2023.
Well in the ascendancy, City’s No.9 did well to beat the offside trap, after Richie Smallwood’s through ball, but this time dragged wide of Andresson’s net.
The hosts were not out of the encounter for long, and continued to pose a threat from set-pieces.
March’s header was fantastically kept out by Lewis on the goal-line, before Sweeney rose highest to nod home another corner and pull the hosts back level.
Hughes’ men kept pushing for a winner, and five minutes before the end of normal time, were rewarded for their efforts.
From goal-scorer to goal-provider, Cook found Walker inside the box, and the Scotsman kept his composure to roll the ball past the Boro ‘keeper and to put the Bantams in the driving seat.
City’s dramatic winner was Walker’s first of the season, as the Bantams left the 700 City supporters travelling back to West Yorkshire with all three points.
STEVENAGE: Jokull Andresson, Luther James-Wildin (Jonathan Tomkinson 45’), Max Clark, Carl Piergianni, Dan Sweeney, Jordan Roberts, Alex Gilbey, Michael Bostwick (Jake Taylor 90’), Jamie Reid (booked 31’, Luke Norris 83’), Jake Fortser-Caskey, Josh March (Danny Rose 83’). Subs not used: Adam Przybek, Daryl Horgan, Josh Reid.
GOALS: Piergianni (26’), Sweeney (73’).
CITY: Harry Lewis, Brad Halliday (booked 74’), Liam Ridehalgh (Ciaran Kelly 76’), Matty Platt, Richie Smallwood, Andy Cook, Jamie Walker (Thierry Nevers 90’), Alex Gilliead, Matt Derbyshire (Vadaine Oliver 76’), Sam Stubbs (booked 34’), Adam Clayton (booked 7’). Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Ryan East, Vadaine Oliver, Harry Chapman, Abo Eisa.
GOALS: Derbyshire (48’), Cook (56’), Walker (86’).