Bradford City 2 Swindon Town 1: Stuart McCall hails ‘superb’ Wyke

Charlie Wyke celebrates his late brace for Bradford.  Picture Tony Johnson.
Charlie Wyke celebrates his late brace for Bradford. Picture Tony Johnson.
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TWO late goals from Charlie Wyke kept Bradford on course for at least the play-offs after they had been caught by a sucker-punch by relegation-threatened Swindon at Valley Parade.

Promotion-chasers Bradford dominated the game but Swindon broke in the 75th minute and Nicky Ajose slotted home. Wyke came to the rescue and kept City’s unbeaten home record intact by heading home 10 minutes later and netting the winner in the 90th minute.

Stuart McCall made just one change to the side which had drawn 1-1 at Charlton in midweek, striker Jordy Hiwula replacing Billy Clarke, who was consigned to the bench alongside fellow forward Alex Jones, who had been struggling with a dead leg. Midfield man Nicky Law was again missing with a knee problem.

Lawrence Vigouroux, who missed the midweek 4-2 defeat to leaders Sheffield United due to club disciplinary breaches, returned in goal for Swindon, who were seeking to complete the double over the Bantams after a 1-0 win in November.

Mark Marshall was taken out inside 15 seconds on the touchline and Swindon’s Nathan Thompson was laid out at a corner early on before Ben Gladwin drove wide for the visitors.

Rory McArdle, who had headed over from the first corner, stuck out a foot to connect with a whipped in free-kick from Tony McMahon but the ball went for a corner off the goalkeeper and McArdle again headed over from the flag kick.

City went close again when Marshall went down the left and chipped the ball across for Charlie Wyke to head against the far post.

Swindon had earmarked Marshall for special treatment and Gladwin went in the book for flooring him in the centre circle.

An error by Romain Vincelot almost let in Gladwin but McArdle came to the rescue with a last-ditch challenge.

James Meredith went in the book for a foul on Thompson but Swindon could not capitalise on the ensuing free-kick.

McMahon was booked for blocking Jonathan Obika on the corner of the area and John Goddard curled the free-kick narrowly wide of the far upright.

Fankaty Dabo was next to see yellow for hauling down Marshall and Vigouroux did well to beat away Nat Knight-Percival’s diving header from the free-kick before catching the follow-up from McMahon.

It remained goalless at the break.

City were unchanged for the second period but Swindon brought on Bradley Barry for Dabo.

McArdle again went close, meeting McMahon’s deep corner with a fine header but Vigouroux’s reflex save saw it pushed over the bar for another.

City made a double substitution in the 62nd minute, replacing Hiwula and Timothee Dieng with Jones and Clarke.

Dion Conroy went in the book for a foul on Jones but the visitors cleared the free-kick as City struggled to break through in front of the Kop.

Jones went close with a shot on the turn before Swindon sent on Luke Norris up front as Obika dropped back into midfield for Ben Gladwin.

The move paid trumps as Obika broke through the middle and fed Ajose to sidefoot past Colin Doyle from inside the area in the 75th minute.

Wyke glanced wide a header from Clarke’s chip as City looked for the equaliser.

Jones then scuffed his chance as McMahon’s corner dropped to his feet inside the six-yard area.

The equaliser finally came in the 85th minute when McMahon fed Marshall and his cross from the right was headed powerfully home by Wyke, despite Vigouroux getting a hand to the ball.

Marshall was again the provider for the winner, zipping down the left and hitting a low cross for which Jones made the initial challenge, allowing Wyke to force home with the goalkeeper prostrate.

McCall said: “That’s probably the most I’ve celebrated a goal for the last five years – since Motherwell scored in the 91st minute at Aberdeen to finish second!

“When you go 1-0 down, there wasn’t much more we could do than keep putting pressure on and putting crosses in.

“But the desire of the players was fantastic with the backing of the crowd. There was some great entertainment, good football and most importantly a great result – a happy day all round.

“Charlie got his two goals but even if he hadn’t scored, I thought his all-round performance was superb.”