Harrogate Town 3 Bradford City 0: Bruised Bantams suffer a bloody nose as Harrogate inflict more anguish

ONE of the match officials suffered a nosebleed on derby day which caused a lengthy first-half stoppage.

At the end, it was beleaguered Bradford City who suffered a bloody nose as they suffered another bruising defeat at Wetherby Road.

Harrogate Town had fun at their near-neighbours expense, not for the first time en route to an emphatic victory in front of a record league attendance of 3,905.

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For the Bantams, an forgettable season is going from bad to worse.

Harrogate Town players celebrate after Josh March's opener versus Bradford City. Picture: Tony Johnson.Harrogate Town players celebrate after Josh March's opener versus Bradford City. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Harrogate Town players celebrate after Josh March's opener versus Bradford City. Picture: Tony Johnson.

It was an occasion when their followers directed chants against owner Stefan Rupp and chief executive officer Ryan Sparks with their season starting to become toxic.

Another some rough times on home soil this term, Harrogate made hay for once.

After a 3-1 victory over Doncaster in January, here was another Yorkshire scalp.

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It started with a milestone goal for Josh March, who scored his first goal in his 25th appearance for Town.

Bradford went nowhere for much of the remainder of the game.

A fortunate looking penalty award enabled top-scorer George Thomson to seal victory on 73 minutes. But there was nothing lucky about the merit of Harrogate’s win with the hosts ultimately managing the game much better against poor visitors, who are lacking in confidence, quality and belief.

An own goal from Daniel Oyegoke compounded matters.

Harrogate drew first blood to secure a precious interval advantage, with City - after being the more threatening in the early exchanges - losing their way after their 21st-minute concession.

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March made light of his goal drought by getting in front of his marker to plant a fine header past Sam Walker from Warren Burrell’s dangerous cross, with the Harrogate stalwart allowed far too much space to send over his delivery from the right.

The goal, from their first attack, settled Town, who had struggled in the teeth of a stiff wind in their faces before that and hardly mustered a few passes together.

City had a fair bit of the ball, but were tepid in front of goal, with their best chance coming straight after March’s opener.

Kevin McDonald, who came into the side for the injured Alex Gilliead, saw his low shot parried by James Belshaw. The rebound fell invitingly for Tyreik Wright, but the home custodian made a key block. From the resulting corner, Daniel Oyegoke stabbed wide.

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Half-chances saw Matty Platt - another returnee for the Bantams - see his header float off target, while Jamie Walker’s free-kick was easily saved, while Sam Walker grasped George Thomson’s set-piece at the other end.

The big chance for a second goal went to the Sulphurites when Matty Daly’s first time volley almost caught out Sam Walker after Liam Ridehalgh’s loose header, with the effort clipping the far post.

It was another frustrating half for City followers, with a loud chant in support of Bobby Pointon, a local lad on the substitutes’ bench arriving before the half was over.

Harrogate fired the first second half salvo with Thomson’s angled shot from distance being held by City keeper Walker, with Belshaw routinely saving Smallwood’s free-kick at the other end in the visitors first moment of second-half threat.

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Alexander had to do something with a triple change on 63 minutes and a change of formation.

City fans got their wish with Pointon entering the arena along with Adam Wilson and Ciaran Kelly.

Things would descend further for the visitors.

Thomson slammed in a penalty after a soft looking handball against Halliday and Oyegoke’s own goal after slicing Muldoon’s cross into his own net put the tin lid on another rough day for City against Harrogate.

Harrogate Town: Belshaw; Burrell, O’Connor, R McDonald, Foulds; Sutton, Dooley (Muldoon 66); Thomson, M Daly, Sivi; March (Odoh 90). Unused substitutes: Oxley, Abu, Falkingham, Cornelius, Odoh, Bloxham.

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Bradford City: S Walker; Oyegoke, Platt (Kelly 63), Ridehalgh (Wilson 63); Halliday, Smallwood, McDonald (Wadsworth 86), Richards; J Walker (Pointon 63), Cook, Wright (Chapman 78). Unused substitutes: Doyle, Smith.

Referee: S Purkiss (London).

Attendance: 3,905.

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