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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

01 September 2018 Venue Highbury Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports


1 September 2018

The Bantams were defeated 2-1 by Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium this Saturday following Ashley Hunter's match-winner for the Cod Army early into the second period.

Hunter netted the game's decisive goal for the hosts when he converted from close range three minutes after the break from a Ched Evans cross.

Evans had headed Fleetwood into the lead of the match originally back in the twelfth minute, but Eoin Doyle levelled things up for Michael Collins' side from the penalty spot later in the half.

Fleetwood lost Wes Burns to a straight red card shortly before the interval after a lunging tackle on Adam Chicksen.

Collins made three changes to his side for the Fleetwood fixture, with Luca Colville, Kelvin Mellor and George Miller replacing Joe Riley and injured duo Sherwin Seedorf and Sean Scannell.

Recent loan signing Lewis O'Brien was an unused sub on the bench.

Evans had the ball in the net for Fleetwood in just the second minute when the forward headed in from a Hunter inswinging cross.

The goal was disallowed, however, with the former Sheffield United and Manchester City front-man cautioned for a barge leading up to the goal.

Fleetwood threatened again soon after from another Hunter cross, this time Ashley Eastham headed onto the far post.

City reacted in quick fashion, though, by hitting the woodwork themselves when Jack Payne crashed in a fierce drive from distance that rattled against Alex Cairns' crossbar.

A fast start to the contest saw Fleetwood take the lead just minutes later.

A cross from the left from the busy Hunter was headed in from close range by Evans.

A stretching Ryan McGowan tried to clear off the line but he could only fire the ball into the roof of the net.

As City searched for a way back into the match, Doyle looked to have a sight of goal when Colville played him clear but the Irish striker was halted in his tracks by the offside flag.

Doyle did get a chance to fire City level, however, midway into the opening period when Miller was tripped in the box by Jason Holt.

Doyle made no mistake from the spot, sending Cairns the wrong way to open his scoring account for the Bantams.

A competitive fixture saw three cautions given out in the space of ten minutes; Hunter booked for Fleetwood and Anthony O'Connor and Wright cautioned for City.

The yellow cards turned into a red one for Burns and Fleetwood minutes before the break.

The Fleetwood attacker was given his marching orders for a studs-up challenge on Chicksen as the pair contested a loose ball just inside the Bantams' half of the pitch.

City set off after the break in positive fashion, looking to make their one-man advantage count, but they were rocked by an early blow after the restart.

After Payne had lost possession in midfield, Fleetwood broke forward on the attack, with Hunter feeding Evans into a crossing position.

Evans' centre found Hunter in the middle and the winger was able to finish past Richard O'Donnell from close range.

With Fleetwood now back in the lead, City went on the attack to try and wrestle their way back into the contest.

Wright and Colville both tried their luck with efforts from just outside the box but the strikes failed to trouble Cairns.

The Fleetwood 'keeper was called into action just before the hour mark, though, when he made a superb reaction save to deny Mellor.

A flighted corner delivery by Colville towards the far post found the defender in a pocket of space but his side-footed effort was somehow repelled by the foot of Cairns.

At the other end, Lewie Coyle curled an impressive effort narrowly past the far post via a left-footed strike from a couple of yards outside the area.

Collins looked to force the issue for City in the sixty-second minute; bringing on Jordan Gibson and Connor Wood for Ryan McGowan and Wright.

The alterations saw City move to a back three and Gibson and Wood provide width from the right and left flanks respectively.

Gibson, in particular, looked a willing runner and able to cause problems to a Fleetwood side who were aiming to hang on and see the game out.

A third and final change for the Bantams fifteen minutes from the end saw the Bantams move to a front three when Kai Bruenker came on for Payne.

Fleetwood, in response, tried to eat up the time remaining by making three substitutions of their own in the closing stages.

Six minutes were added on at the end of the match, but City sadly couldn't find a way through the hosts' defences.

Miller headed at Cairns from a Gibson cross, while Gibson himself dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box in City's final meaningful attack.


Match stats, updates and team line ups from the Fleetwood game can be found via the Match Centre - HERE.

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