Big-match verdict: Bradford City 2 Chesterfield 0: Alex Jones on a mission to lead the Bantams back up

Mark Marshall gets past Ian Evatt and Jon Nolan.
 (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
Mark Marshall gets past Ian Evatt and Jon Nolan. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
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STRIKER Alex Jones is happy that it will no longer be the ‘One Show’ now that he has signed for Bradford City.

The 22-year-old also believes taking a step down will only be a short-term thing as he aims to prove a point to Birmingham City.

Jordy Hiwula celebrates scoring Brasdford's second goal.
(Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Jordy Hiwula celebrates scoring Brasdford's second goal. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Jones scored 10 goals in 21 games on loan for Port Vale before opting to join the Bantams’ quest for promotion by signing a two-and-a-half-year deal last week.

He feels he should have been given a chance to impress at St Andrews but believes he has joined a club with just as much potential even though they are in a division below.

It is 13 years since City were in the second tier but after completing a second successive double with victory over strugglers Chesterfield, they look sure to at least make the play-offs.

Jones believes he is the man to solve their scoring drought even though he failed to net on a debut which came after just one training session with his new colleagues.

Alex Jones and Ian Evatt challenge for the ball.

Alex Jones and Ian Evatt challenge for the ball.

He would have been on the bench had James Hanson not damaged a calf in training but Jones is convinced he can take advantage of the chances set up by his new colleagues.

Jones, without any self-conceit, says most of his goals at Vale came largely through his own efforts but is looking forward to the service which City’s midfield can now provide.

The slightly-built predator explained: “One of the main reasons behind me coming here was because the club is challenging for promotion. They create so many chances and put teams on the back foot and that was a big factor.

“At Port Vale, we played 4-3-3 so it’s slightly different but I prefer the system here because there’s so many bodies up front with you which makes it easier to link up. I was a bit frustrated towards the end at Vale playing out wide because I am a striker. It was nice to play down the middle and get used to that position again.

“At Vale, most of the goals I scored were kind of by myself but here they create a shed-load of chances each game. Hopefully, I can start to put a few of them away. That was a big reason coming here, knowing how good the side is and how many opportunities they create. That is a great feeling to have as a striker.”

Jones missed Vale’s previous two games through illness and it was no surprise he tired and was replaced later on.

But of his ambitions, he continued: “It would be great to be part of a team that goes back up. You can see it is a Championship/Premiership club just by the amount of fans who turn up every week.

“It was probably the most frustrating time of my career at Birmingham. Last season, I was doing all I could in the Under-21s. I was top goal-scorer, was playing well and thought it was going to be only a matter of time before I was given an opportunity.

“That didn’t happen so I’ve come out on loan this season, managed to do okay and show what I am about.

“At this stage of my career, I want to come out and play games. A two-and-a-half-year deal helps me settle down. I don’t have to worry about contracts, I can just get my head down and concentrate on my football which is the most important thing.

“Bradford already get similar crowds to what Birmingham get in the Championship and that just shows how big this club is.”

Jones was denied a first-half penalty after a challenge from goalkeeper Ryan Fulton inside the six-yard area, so it was left to the pair who scored the goals in the win at Northampton to do the trick against Chesterfield, who had been sunk earlier in the season by a goal from the injured Billy Clarke.

Mark Marshall, who came off the bench to score the equaliser before setting up the winner for Jordy Hiwula against the Cobblers, struck the 22nd-minute opener, drilling the ball home after speeding down the channel midway through the first half after being given a starting role on the right.

Huddersfield loanee Hiwula knocked in the important second on the stroke of half-time after City’s defence had been ruffled by Chesterfield’s lone frontman and a one-time target of the Bantams, Ched Evans.

It brought a welcome home win for City, who moved up to fourth after three consecutive Valley Parade draws.

Manager Stuart McCall believed they had played better during some of those draws and was disappointed that they failed to turn pressure into goals after the break, though he hailed it as a ‘fantastic’ victory.

Nicky Law was the chief culprit after the interval, spurning three great opportunities which would have capped a dominant display in midfield alongside Josh Cullen.

Hiwula, teed up by Cullen’s lovely cross for his goal, also hit the side-netting when he should have scored and a weaving run almost brought Marshall a second.

There was little else to concern the City fans apart from the threat of Evans, who gave central defenders Romain Vincelot and Nathaniel Knight-Percival a torrid time and who was denied at the start of the second period by a smart block by goalkeeper Colin Doyle after striking the post before the break.

Bradford City: Doyle, McMahon, Vincelot, Knight-Percival, Meredith; Marshall, Dieng, Cullen, Law; Hiwula, Jones (Darby 71). Unused substitutes: Sattelmaier, McArdle, Devine, Webb-Foster, Kilgallon, Hudson.

Chesterfield: Fulton, O’Neil (Ariyibi 63), Anderson, Evatt, Donohue; Hird; Mitchell (Gardner 83), Liddle, Nolan, Simons (Wilkinson 68); Evans. Unused substitutes: Allinson, Dimaio, Maguire, Morrison.

Referee: T Kettle (Rutland).