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Match Reports

REPORT: First Half Double Sinks Spireites

7 January 2017

First half goals from Mark Marshall and Jordy Hiwula were enough to see off the Spireites despite having plenty of opportunities.

The game was evenly contested for large parts but Bradford were the more clinical in the final third. After falling behind on 22 minutes, Danny Wilson men reacted well with Ched Evans hitting the post but their momentum was killed after conceding just before half time. 

They could have had a penalty in the second half when the Welsh striker went down in the area but ultimately a poor final ball and two lapses in concentration cost Chesterfield a result. Bradford City had the better of the opening stages of the game and had the first opportunity courtesy of defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival who headed Tony McMahon’s free kick just wide of the target. 

Chesterfield grew into the game though as Evans got more involved with some good runs. The Spireites first attempt came after 14 minutes when Rai Simons picked up the ball from deep and ran towards Bradford’s box, he played a one-two with Reece Mitchell on the edge of the box and launched a powerful first time shot when he received the ball back but it was just over the bar. 

They came close again three minutes later when Ian Evatt towered over the Bantams defenders to head Jon Nolan’s corner and force Colin Doyle into making a decent save. 

Just as the Spireites were getting a foothold they were caught on the break after Liam O’Neil gave the ball away cheaply. Mark Marshall found space down the right and ran towards the box. He eased past Dion Donohue and arrowed his shot across goal and into the bottom corner of the net to give City the lead, Ryan Fulton having no chance. 

Chesterfield should have drawn level on 35 minutes after two brilliant chances. The first came on the break as Evans showed great strength to burst through the middle and the Spireites were two v one in their favour. Evans slipped in Mitchell who then tried to square the ball across the six yard box but it was just too heavy and crept away from Evans. 

The striker then carved another chance out for himself, this time he picked up the ball on the right, darted towards the box and fired and found space for the shot which took a nick off the post and Bradford’s blushes were spared. 

Marshall was a constant threat out wide for the Bantams. He showed good skill to get past O’Neil and let fly but Fulton did well to get down and make the save on the stroke of half time. 

That wasn’t enough to see the Spireites into the break with just the one goal deficit though. Chesterfield tried to play offside but were caught outnumbered as the flag stayed down and debutant Alex Jones was free on the right and he played a low, early ball across to give Hiwula a simple tap in. On the balance of play, it was harsh that the Spireites. 

The Spireites started the second half strongly and quickly searched for a route back into the game. Evans made another good run on the right and his cross was saved by the feet of Doyle and the ball fell to Reece Mitchell who tame shot was blocked by the defender when it looked like he’d smash the ball home. 

Chesterfield had appeals for a penalty themselves on the hour when Evans outmuscled Romain Vincelot to get on the end of a ball over the top. He went down just as he got into the area under Vincelot’s challenge but the referee shook his head and waved play on. With Wilson and Chris Morgan didn’t hold back in showing their frustration at the decision. 

The game became very open and both sides were vulnerable to the counter attack. Bradford could have killed the game once and for all but Nicky Law’s effort from a tight angle trickled just wide of the post. 

Marshall, who was the best player on the pitch, produced another breath-taking run as he danced his way into the Spireites penalty area, skipped past three defenders only to be denied by another good save from Fulton who had another fine display despite conceding two. 

Gboly Ariyibi and Conor Wilkinson came on and both tried to make things happen but the final ball wasn’t there for the Spireites, which ultimately was the story of the afternoon and its now four league games without a win for Wilson’s men. 

Bradford City: Doyle, Meredith, Law, Vincelot (C), Marshall, Dieng, Hiwula, Cullen, Jones (Darby), Knight-Percival, McMahon.

Subs not used: Sattelmaier (gk), Darby, Devine, Webb-Foster, Kilgallon, Hudson

Chesterfield: Fulton, O'Neil (Ariyibi), Evatt, Anderson, Donohue, Hird, Liddle (C), Nolan, Mitchell (Gardner), Simons (Wilkinson), Evans.

Subs not used: Allinson (gk), Dimaio, Maguire, Morrison.

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