MK Dons 1 Bradford City 2: Hanson absence absorbed as McLean and Clarke shoot Bantams into top six

Bradford City’s fine away form helped propel them to fifth in the League One table after a battling victory at Stadium MK.
City manager Phil Parkinson.City manager Phil Parkinson.
City manager Phil Parkinson.

The visitors’ chances received a significant blow just before kick off with the loss of their top scorer James Hanson in the warm-up.

But Bantams fans needn’t have worried, taking the game to Dons in fine style in a bright opening 45 minutes.

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David Martin was called into action from Aaron McLean’s double effort on seven minutes, and the Dons goalkeeper was also equal to Clarke’s solo effort five minutes later. But MK Dons were living on borrowed time.

McLean’s weak header on 26 minutes was strong enough to hand the visitors the lead, and while the punch-drunk hosts were still recovering the ruthless Bantams added another.

It was Hanson’s late replacement Billy Clarke who profited from the Dons’ defensive lapse, bearing down on Martin’s goal to lash a shot into the top corner.

Dean Lewington took advantage of Jordan Pickford’s inexplicable fumble by hammering home before the break but it was a lifeline MK Dons failed to take.

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MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, McFadzean, Baldock (Hitchcock, 77), Kay, Alli, Potter, Powell, Carruthers (Afobe, 53), Reeves (Bowditch 62), Grigg. Unused substitutes: Flanagan, Spence, Randall, McLoughlin.

Bradford City: Pickford, Darby, Meredith, Routis, McArdle, Yeates, Kennedy, Knott (Morais, 74), Liddle, Clarke (Bennett, 78), McLean (McBurnie 63). Unused substitutes: Urwin, Wright, King.

Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).