Having built up quite the head of steam following the appointment of managerial duo Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars back in December, the Bantams are now without a win in five matches and any hopes of mounting a late push for promotion look to be over.
Tuesday evening's 2-0 loss at Scunthorpe United sees City drop to 14th in the table, leaving them nine points shy of the division's final play-off berth.
A victory at Glanford Park would have kept them just about in the mix, but their chances of making a return to winning ways were dealt a huge blow within five minutes of kick-off.
Charles Vernam lost the ball on the edge of the United box and the hosts countered swiftly through the middle of the pitch.
Alex Gilliead showed good composure, delaying his pass to good effect and sending Abo Eisa clean through on goal with a perfectly-weighted through-ball.
And there was only ever going to be one outcome as the strode confidently towards goal before slotting past the advancing Richard O'Donnell.
City's response was fairly positive and they were very nearly back on terms within four minutes.
Vernam cut inside off the left flank and shifted the ball onto his right foot before unleashing a vicious long-range effort which beat Mark Howard but thudded against the cross-bar.
The Bantams went closer still just before the midway point of the opening period, Elliott Watt bending a delicious 25-yard free-kick beyond the Iron custodian, only to see the ball strike the inside of the upright and then bounce across the goal-line and to safety.
Bradford's play became a little disjointed from that point onwards, though Kian Scales managed to nip in-between two defenders and get himself on the end of a long ball over the top, but his first-time effort lacked control.
And, while they will understandably have felt rather unfortunate not to have been back on terms, the visitors could very easily have found themselves 2-0 down before half-time.
This time it was Eisa demonstrating an excellent weight of pass, playing a cute ball in behind for Devarn Green, who drew a good one-on-one save out of O'Donnell.
The second period began in similarly scruffy fashion to that which the opening 45 had ended, though the Bantams managed to create a glorious opportunity to restore parity within six minutes of the resumption.
Ollie Crankshaw delivered a hanging cross from the right which Andy Cook did well to nod down at the far post, only for Vernam to somehow drag his finish wide of the mark when it looked easier to score.
And that miss was punished moments before the hour-mark when the Iron showed their visitors exactly how it's done.
A deep delivery from the home right was met by Loft, who headed the ball back across goal for Green to finish first-time past O'Donnell.
City seemed deflated by falling further behind and it took a while for them to look like they might be able to force their way back into the contest, Cook slicing a shot well wide before seeing another back-post header easily gathered by Howard.
If anything, the evening's next goal looked more likely to arrive at the other end of the field and only two good stops by O'Donnell from Loft and then Gilliead kept Bradford in the game.
With the match opening up in the latter stages, Paudie O'Connor was presented with a golden chance to reduce the deficit, however the unmarked centre-half conspired to miss the target with a close-range header at an 83rd-minute corner.
Substitute Gareth Evans then saw a low free-kick from the left unconvincingly parried by Howard before the loose ball was somehow diverted behind for a goal kick.
And the growing sense that this was not going to be City's night was confirmed moments later, Scunthorpe surviving a huge scramble inside their penalty area with Evans looking to have a goal-bound effort cleared off the line during a frantic period passage of play.
O'Donnell then did well to keep out Olufela Olomola as United counter-attacked in stoppage-time, and their was still opportunity for Cook to be denied what looked a certain consolation strike by a last-ditch Myles Hippolyte block a couple of seconds before the final whistle.
Scunthorpe United: Howard; Howe (Rowe 87), Clarke, Bedeau, Brown (Hippolyte 54); Gilliead, Karacan (McAtee 86), Spence, Green (Beestin 76); Eisa, Loft (Olomola 86). Unused substitutes: Watson, Jessop.
Bradford City: O'Donnell; A O'Connor, P O'Connor, Canavan, Wood; Watt (Rowe 73), Sutton; Crankshaw (Stevens 89), Scales (Donaldson 89), Vernam (Evanas 73); Cook. Unused substitutes: Hornby, Foulds, Burrell.
Referee: T Nield (West Yorkshire).