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Match Reports


14 May 2023

Match Reports


14 May 2023

Mark Hughes’ Bantams will take a 1-0 advantage into next weekend's Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg, after a hard-fought victory over Carlisle United at the University of Bradford Stadium. 

Jamie Walker’s 18th-minute strike was enough for City to secure the triumph in the first of their two legs against the Cumbrians, ahead of the reverse fixture next Saturday. 

During what was a fast-paced, intense opening at Valley Parade, with a record attendance of over 20,000 inside, City held the majority of the early possession, keeping the away side in their own half for the majority of the opening 10 minutes.

Carlisle came close to opening the scoring, however, though a spectacular Joe Garner half-volley. The frontman’s effort from distance clipped the top of the crossbar, but the whistle had already gone for handball.

From the resulting free-kick, the Bantams went straight up the other end and hit the front through Walker. 

Harry Lewis’ long free-kick forward was flicked by Andy Cook onto Scott Banks, who played his fellow Scot through on goal. Walker made no mistake to thrash the ball through Tomas Holy's legs and put City in the driving seat. 

The Bantams continued to rally and came close to doubling their lead through their No.10 on the half-hour mark. After Cook’s cross was cleared, Walker pounced onto the loose ball and his effort skidded wide of the far post.

Hughes' side ended the half on top, and if not for a Holy finger-tip save from Scott Banks, would have gone into the break with a two-goal lead. 

The first chance of the second period came from Paul Simpson’s side through Corey Whelan, as they looked for a way back into the game. The defender's headed effort bounced around in the box from a corner until City’s No.1, Lewis, claimed the ball. 

Simpson's side side came close once again to levelling proceedings after Ryan Edmonson’s shot-cum-cross slid under Lewis, finding Armer in space at the far post, though his effort from a tight angle rippled the side-netting. 

As the second period wore on, the Blues began to find their rhythm and trouble City. Armer’s cross was met six yards out by Edmondson, but he could not direct his header on target. 

Roared on by a 20,575-strong crowd, City's highest ever in a play-off game and the highest in Sky Bet League Two Play-Off history, the Bantams held out to protect their 1-0 lead, which they will take to Brunton Park at 3.00pm next Saturday (May 20). 

CITY: Harry Lewis, Brad Halliday, Liam Ridehalgh, Richie Smallwood (C), Andy Cook, Jamie Walker (Emmanuel Osadebe 65’), Alex Gilliead, Scott Banks (Matty Platt 88’), Romoney Crichlow, Sam Stubbs, Adam Clayton (Matt Derbyshire 88’). Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Ryan East, Dion Pereira, Thierry Nevers.

GOALS: Walker (18’).

CARLISLE: Tomas Holy, Joel Senior (Jordan Gibson 85’), Jack Armer, Owen Moon, Paul Huntington (C), Callum Guy (Taylor Charters 69’), Omari Patrick (Kristian Dennis 58’), Corey Whelan, Ben Barclay, Alfie McCalmont, Joe Garner (Ryan Edmondson 58’) Subs not used: Michael Kelly, Jayden Harris, Jack Robinson.

ATTENDANCE: 20,575 (2,415 Carlisle supporters).

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