Northampton Town 1 Bradford City 2: Harry Lewis and Andy Cook the stars as Romoney Crichlow goal wins it for Bantams

A top-class goalkeeper and a prolific striker can cover a multitude of sins.

Bradford City spoilt Northampton Town's promotion party with a 2-1 win that keeps their automatic promotion hopes alive.

Draws have been the curse of the Bantams' season, but when the board went up to show a minimum of five added minutes, they would probably have been glad of one.

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Instead, in the last of them, Andy Cook nodded Richie Smallwood's deep free-kick across goal for Romoney Crichlow to touch in at the far post.

SILENCER: Bradford City goalscorer Andy Cook responds to the home fansSILENCER: Bradford City goalscorer Andy Cook responds to the home fans
SILENCER: Bradford City goalscorer Andy Cook responds to the home fans

The Huddersfield Town loanee had ludicrously received death threats after his performance in the midweek draw with Gillingham but there was no questioning his hero status at full-time.

But the biggest reasons Bradford won a game where the Cobblers were threatening to give them a good shoeing were Cook and goalkeeper Harry Lewis, who made a string of important second-half saves.

With Sam Hoskins hitting the bar they had a bit of luck too – not to mention a favour from neighbours Harrogate Town, who beat eighth-placed Mansfield Town.

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It means the Bantams go into the final week of the season in the final play-off place but if – IF – they can win at Crewe Alexandra on Wednesday they will move two points behind third-placed Northampton on the final day of the season.

In the first half at least, the game did not live up to its atmosphere although in fairness that would have been a tall order at Sixfields, where 948 away fans played their part and with all seats sold, there was a small crowd on the bank behind the opposite goal.

Bradford, though, were the away team. Their job was not to entertain, just to win.

And you do not need many chances when you have a striker of the quality of Cook.

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The look on Bantams' manager Mark Hughes's face when he was asked pre-match about Cook missing out on the League Two player of the year award during the week was priceless. It is fair to say the Welshman was not the only one bemused to see his targetman miss out to fellow forward Hoskins, surprisingly used as an attacking right-back by injury-hit Northampton.

His team, never mind Cook himself, had barely had a sniff at goal when Scott Banks whipped over a 30th-minute corner shortly after Hughes had made a rare appearance from the dugout to castigate his team. The striker climbed highest at the back post and headed in his 30th goal of the season, the first Bradford player to the landmark since Bobby Campbell 40 years earlier.

It was his 50th goal for the club.

But if Bradford had few chances, they managed to keep the Cobblers at bay too with Brad Halliday leading the way defensively with some meaty tackles.

It was 21 minutes before there was any goalmouth action of note and it came for the home team but Shaun McWIlliams put his free-kick into a crowd of dark blue shirts, and Louis Appere stabbed a shot wide.

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By the time a Hoskins shot nearly fell to the centre-forward, who had a shot blocked shortly afterwards, his side was behind.

Scott Banks might have added to the lead, but Lee Burge beat his shot away.

Lewis made the first of a string of good saves in the 56th minute when he came off his line to deny Kieron Bowie, cleverly played through. The attacker would soon head a good chance wide.

But Bradford's weakness at set pieces would be their undoing, Sam Sherring in too much space to head a deep cross back for Max Dyche, son of Everton manager Sean, to nod in for a 64th-minute equaliser.

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It was a surprise there was not a second as the home team dominated the second half.

Lewis tipped over from Harvey Linnott at a corner, and touched a dipping, deflected effort over.

His best save of the lot came in the 83rd minute, at full stretch to keep out Sherring's header.

Four minutes later Hoskins put a half-volley into the ground and it bounced onto the crossbar.

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So for Bradford to steal the win from there was a big surprise.

Dyche was booked for climbing all over Cook. Smallwood played the free-kick deep, Cook played it across and Critchlow applied the decisive touch.

Northampton Town: Burge; Hoskins, Sherring, Dyche, Haynes; Pinnock, Leonard, McWilliams (Hylton 83), Hondermarck; Bowie; Appere (Lintott 63).

Unused substitutes: Norman Jr, Felix-Eppiah, Osew, Yengi, King.

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Bradford City: Lewis; Halliday, Stubbs, Crichlow, Ridehalgh; Smallwood, Gilliead (Clayton 90); Banks, Walker (Derbyshire 79), Nevers (Costelloe 58); Cook.

Unused substitutes: Platt, Bola, Osadebe, Doyle.

Referee: M Edwards