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Match Reports


28 February 2023

Match Reports


28 February 2023

Mark Hughes’ Bantams extended their unbeaten run away from home as Richie Smallwood’s header and a thrilling solo goal from Andy Cook secured a 2-0 win over Gillingham.

Smallwood’s third goal in City colours, as well as a spectacular strike from Cook after the break - his 21st of the season in all competitions - sent City back into the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.

The Bantams saw out the three points comfortably, to become the first side to leave the MEMS Priestfield Stadium with all three points this calendar year.

However, the hosts began the brighter in Kent, as Dom Jefferies sent a low effort goalwards, but Harry Lewis saved comfortably. 

Minutes later, the Bantams began to cause problems in the Gills’ half, as Jamie Walker and Dara Costelloe both found space on the right of the 18-yard box, but neither chance threatened Gills No.1 Glenn Morris.

The Bantams made their increasing foothold on the game count just before the half-hour mark, as Hughes’ men edged in front.

After patient play around the hosts' area, Brad Halliday’s looped cross was met by Smallwood, who beat Cheye Alexander in the air and crashed a header home to put his side in the driving seat.

Hunting for a second before half-time, Walker unleashed a thunderous effort goalwards, after he drove menacingly at the Gills defence, but Morris did well to push behind for a corner.

After ending the first half strongly, City started the second period in a similar vein, as Cook attempted an acrobatic effort, which flew wide, moments before he was denied a one-on-one opportunity by Max Ehmer.

But it was not long after that the Bantams’ leading marksman would get the better of Ehmer, as in the 49th minute, the visitors doubled their lead.

Cook won the ball back high up the field off the German defender, and skilfully passed Conor Masterson, before coolly, calmly, lifting a delicate shot over Gillingham’s No.1 and netting his 21st goal in all competitions.

Maintaining their confidence, the Bantams tested the defence once more, as Costelloe watched his 25-yard strike sail narrowly over the net.

Minutes later, the Irishman tested Morris again, as his curled snapshot almost fell to Cook.

The No.9 continued to provide a threat inside the penalty area, as he once again turned a Gills defender before attempting to slot past Morris, but saw his half-volley well saved.

Neil Harris’ side rarely asked any questions of the Bantams, as City saw the game out with ease - sending over 350 travelling supporters back to West Yorkshire with six points from their last two games.

GILLINGHAM: Glenn Morris, Cheye Alexander, David Tutonda (booked 65’), Max Ehmer, Shaun Williams (Ethan Coleman 70’), Stuart O’Keefe (C, Tom Nichols 54’), Dom Jefferies (Haken Adelakun 70’), Conor Masterson, Oli Hawkins (Tristan Abrahams 87’), Aiden O’Brien, George Lapslie. Subs not used: Jake Turner (GK), Will Wright, Joe Gbode.

CITY: Harry Lewis, Brad Halliday, Liam Ridehalgh, Matty Platt, Richie Smallwood (C), Andy Cook, Jamie Walker (Romoney Crichlow 70’, Alex Gilliead (Emmanuel Osadebe 83’), Dara Costelloe (Scott Banks 89’), Sam Stubbs, Adam Clayton. Subs not used: Colin Doyle,  Scott Banks, Ryan East, Harry Chapman, Ciarán Kelly. 

GOALS: Richie Smallwood (27’), Andy Cook (59’).

ATTENDANCE: 6,273 (363 travelling Bantams).

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