Crewe 4 Bradford City 1: Bantams knocked out as Crewe reach final

Bradford City crashed out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but their Northern semi-final with League One Crewe Alexandra was far closer than the scoreline suggests.

City boss Phil Parkinson risked the wrath of the authorities by making eight changes to his side – more than the competition rules allow.

But his side more than held their own in the opening stages and went in front after 18 minutes when Kyel Reid fired home from 25 yards after Andy Gray had nodded down Curtis Good’s ball from the back.

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Crewe had the ball in the back of the net after 25 minutes but Mathias Pogba was offside when he nodded the ball back for Ajay Leitch-Smith to tap home.

And the home side had to wait until the stroke of half-time to level when Byron Moore raced forward down the right and his shot looped off the outstretched foot of Ryan Dickson into the net.

Jon McLaughlin ensured the sides turned round level when he saved well from Leitch-Smith in stoppage time.

Loan defender Dickson produced a stunning block to deny Leith-Smith on the hour mark but Crewe were in front with 14 minutes remaining when substitute Max Clayton headed home at the near post.

Carl McHugh was sent on to add height up front and went close to glancing home an equaliser from a Nahki Wells cross.

But Crewe made the game safe with two goals in the last three minutes, Brad Inman finishing coolly before Chuks Aneke fired home.

Crewe Alexandra: Martin (Phillips 46); Mellor, Dugdale, Davis, Tootle; Moore, Murphy, Osman, Inmam; Pogba (Aneke 71), Leitch-Smith(Clayton 64). Unused substitutes: Ellis, Robertson.

Bradford City: McLaughlin; Doyle, Naylor, Good, Dickson (McHugh 84); Turgott, R Jones, Ravenhill, Reid; Connell(Hines 66), Gray (Wells 66). Unused substitutes: Brown, Duke

Referee: N Miller (Co Durham).