Blades FT: Bradford City 2 Sheffield United 0

Match Report: Bradford City 2 Sheffield United 0
Match Report: Bradford City 2 Sheffield United 0

Nahki Wells’ record-breaking brace proved enough to settle this entertaining clash at Valley Parade.

The centre-forward became the first Bradford City player to score in eight consecutive matches when he threaded a low shot past George Long’s outstretched palm and just inside his far post during the closing stages of the first-half.

Harry Maguire impressed for United

Harry Maguire impressed for United

Sheffield United, making their fourth League One outing under the tutelage of David Weir, enjoyed several openings themselves.

But Wells condemned them to defeat when he converted again with only three minutes of normal time left.

City, who reached the Capital One Cup final last season before sealing promotion via the play-offs, are a club whose fortunes are on a steep upward curve.

A racous crowd, swelled by United’s equally impressive support, cranked-up the decibel levels when the two teams emerged from the sanctuary of the dressing rooms.

Lyle Taylor battles with ex-Blade Mark Yeates

Lyle Taylor battles with ex-Blade Mark Yeates

And it was the visitors who made much the stronger start when Taylor, scampering back to thwart a City attack, sent Murphy scampering through after only three minutes of what was to prove an absorbing first-half.

The former Motherwell winger should have scored but McLaughlin predicted he would try to curl the ball inside his far post and produced a fine reaction save.

Davies, the City centre-half, was forced to clear when Brandy crossed as Taylor and Murphy again combined while, in the 11th minute, McLaughlin gathered a McMahon free-kick.

While Taylor, Murphy and Brandy threatened for United, Meredith emerged as City’s most dangerous player during the early skirmishes.

Indeed it was his cross which presented Wells with the opportunity to score for the eight successive game after a quarter-of-an-hour.

Long, though, proved equal to the task and batted the Bermudan’s snap-shot away.

United responded with a neat interchange which ended with Brandy, who in the 29th minute appealed strongly for a penalty following McArdle’s last ditch tackle, testing McLaughlin’s handling skills again.

Long scrambled a looping effort from Wells clear as the cut and thrust continued.

McLaughlin hacked away under pressure from the onrushing Taylor and Long denied Yeates from a set-piece.

Then, with 41 seconds of the half remaining, WELLS wrote his name into the City record books after bearing down on Collins and engineering enough space to thread a low drive beyond Long.

Had they been more clinical in front of goal then United, who introduced Flynn for McFadzean at the start of the second-half, would surely have trooped down the tunnel on level terms.

Weir was forced to make a second, albeit enforced change, four minutes later when Brandy limped-off injured and Ironside entered the fray.

A low centre from Thompson, which evaded both defenders and attackers alike, caused some jitters among United’s rearguard as City attempted to consolidate their grip on the contest.

The visitors, however, applied some pressure of their own with both Doyle, Flynn and Ironside hunting down loose balls on the edge of McLaughlin’s box.

Maguire was wrestled to the floor as he attempted to escape his marker at a corner but referee Foy remained unmoved. McMahon swept a high ball into City’s area just past the hour but Flynn could not connect.

The sight of United winning four corners in a 10 minute spell confirmed their superiority in terms of territory and possession after the interval.

But while Wells continued to probe on the counter-attack, Weir’s charges continued to search for a cutting edge.

McLaughlin acrobatically tipped over a spiralling shot from Flynn, which seemed destined to spin inches beneath the bar.

City, though, were only a whisker away from doubling their advantage midway through the second period when Hanson flung himself at Thompson’s centre but, like Flynn, found it impossible to get a touch.

The United substitute remained at the heart of the action.

In the 71st minute, he breathed a sigh of relief when Thompson went down far too easily under his challenge and Foy correctly refused to award a spot-kick.

Then, almost immediately, Flynn popped-up at the other end of the pitch.

He diverted the ball towards Ironside but the youngster could volleyed wide from just outside the six yard box.

With a quarter-of-an-hour left, Magure nodded just past the foot of the post after rising to meet McMahon’s free-kick.

McLaughlin bravely smothered at the feet of Taylor as United continued to try and break City’s resolve. Davies, a much-maligned figure during his spell in South Yorkshire, had been instrumental in helping ensure they were kept at bay.

Maguire, his opposite number, also impressed but was cautioned with eight minutes remaining for a foul.

Porter was summoned from the bench with eight minutes remaining, but Wells made sure it was City who claimed all three points late on.

Substitute De Vita crossed, Long parried, Hanson headed down. Typically it was Wells who reacted first, and duly scrambled the ball across the line.