Bradford City 3 Stevenage 1: Shay McCartan bags double as Stuart McCall’s Bantams battle back for victory

Shay McCartan. Picture Tony Johnson.
Shay McCartan. Picture Tony Johnson.
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SHAY McCartan bagged a brilliant brace as battling Bradford City came from behind to avoid a shock defeat at home to basement boys Stevenage.

McCartan scored two goals in the space of five minutes to turn this contest on its head at the Utilita Energy Stadium, with Lee Novak on target in stoppage time.

Midfielder Charlie Carter fired Boro into a 26th-minute lead, but having been booed off by some home supporters at the break, Stuart McCall’s resurgent side responded after the restart.

And they were ahead thanks to McCartan’s brilliant brace inside nine minutes.

His first was a drilled shot into the bottom corner, before adding a second from close-range soon after to make sure of maximum points and maintain the club’s play-off push.

Carter hit a shot straight at keeper Richard O’Connell as early as the first minute as the visitors started with purpose.

Dylan Mottley-Henry went close for the Bantams but his shot was blocked by shot-stopper Paul Farman, before Novak had a shot charged down. But it was Borough who took the lead when Carter fired home.

Mottley-Henry, one of four changes to the hosts’ starting line-up, blasted over and McCartan also failed to hit the target from a good position.

Farman thwarted McCartan a minute before the break with a smart save. But McCartan was determined to make his mark – and his two goals after the break made the difference.

Novak scored in the fourth minute of injury time to cap a fine comeback for McCall’s men.

Bradford: O’Connell, Richards-Everton, A O’Connor, Reeves, Novak, McCartan (Taylor 86) , Akpan (Pritchard 69), Henley, Wood, Guthrie (Connolly 73), Mottley-Henry. Unused substitutes: McGee, P O’Connor, Donaldson, Middleton.

Stevenage: Farman, Digby, Cuthbert (El-Abd 45), Soares, Carter, Carroll (Cassidy 84), Dabo, Nugent, Denton, Kemp, Parkhouse (Folami 72). Unused substitutes: Bastien, Iontton, Parrett, Lakin.

Referee: P Wright (England).