Town dominate but unlucky own-goal gives the visitors victory
Town: Dean Henderson, Ben Godfrey (Carlton Morris 74), Mat Sadler © (Lenell John-Lewis 90), Omar Beckles, Shaun Whalley, James Bolton, Bryn Morris, Jon Nolan, Alex Rodman, Aristote Nsiala, Stefan Payne
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Carlton Morris, Louis Dodds, Arthur Gnahoua, Lenell John-Lewis, Ebou Adams
Bradford City: Rouven Sattelmaier, Jake Reeves, Matthew Kilgallon, Romain Vincelot ©, Nicky Law (Tyrell Robinson 54), Charlie Wyke, Paul Taylor (Adam Thompson 76), Alex Gilliead, Luke Hendrie, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Tony McMahon
Subs: Lukas Raeder, Adam Thompson, Dominic Poleon, Shay McCartan, Daniel Pybus, Omari Patrick, Tyrell Robinson
Referee: Michael Salisbury
Assistants: Andre Hendly and Abbas Khan
Fourth Official: Marvyn Amphlett
Attendance: 7165 (1109)
Shrewsbury Town were left to rue missed opportunities as they were beaten 1-0 by Bradford City. Town had the best of the first-half, creating a number of shooting chances, but despite the dominance, they were only able to test the Bradford ‘keeper once. They were made to pay for that early in the second-half when Toto Nsiala was incredibly unlucky to divert Alex Gilliead’s cross past Dean Henderson who was wrong-footed. Town threw men forward in the latter stages, but Bradford had their ‘keeper to thank as Rouven Sattelmaier made some fantastic saves to keep out the likes of Shaun Whalley and Carlton Morris.
Paul Hurst makes three changes to the side that were disappointingly beaten 1-0 by Bury on Tuesday night. There’s a straight swap at right-back with James Bolton replacing Joe Riley. Alex Rodman returns from injury and comes in for Carlton Morris meaning Stefan Payne can lead the line with Rodman out on the left-wing. The other change sees Bryn Morris replace Louis Dodds as Hurst looks for greater solidity in the centre of the park.
Town made a flying start to proceedings and had their first effort on goal within the opening 30 seconds as they pressed down the right. James Bolton delivered a cross onto the head of Ben Godfrey, who was playing further forward than we have become accustomed to, but his header went well over the bar.
On Tuesday night, Town never really got going, but the same certainly couldn’t be said today and they ought to have taken the lead before the 10 minute mark when Jon Nolan’s scuffed shot found itself at Stefan Payne’s feet six yards from goal, but it seemed to take the Town top-scorer by surprise the ball ran away from him.
At the other end, Bradford looked dangerous on the break with the likes of Paul Taylor and Alex Gilliead both showing a turn of pace, but they didn’t manage to test Dean Henderson in the opening 15 minutes, despite forcing a couple of corners.
The next big chance fell the way of Shrewsbury just before the 20 minute mark. Stefan Payne won a free-kick 35 yards out and it allowed Town to bring the big men forward. Shaun Whalley took the set-piece and Ben Godfrey managed to get his head to it at the back-post, but it went about a yard wide.
Town seemed to have more balance with Rodman and Whalley back on the wings and the two almost combined for the opener when Whalley beat his man on the right and delivered a deep cross to the back-post. Rodman was there to meet it, but he was always stretching for it and his header went just over bar.
Whalley was causing Bradford left-back Luke Hendrie all sorts of problems and he went close when he cut inside, away from Hendrie and unleashed a curling left-footed effort, but it always looked to be going a yard over the top and so it proved.
Jon Nolan was the next to try his luck when Ben Godfrey expertly cushioned Mat Sadler’s cross into Nolan’s path and the ginger haired midfielder let fly from 20 yards, but the end product was the same as Whalley’s effort and Rouven Sattelmaier wasn’t tested in the Bradford goal.
Town had certainly had the best of the first-half chances, but it wasn’t until the 44th minute that they actually had a shot on target and Sattelmaier, who was deputising for the injured Colin Doyle, got down well to his right to keep hold of Stefan Payne’s low shot on the turn.
Town had ended the first-half on top and they started the second in similar fashion as Shaun Whalley brilliantly beat two men down the right hand side before cutting the ball back for Jon Nolan who looked to have an easy finish from 12 yards out, but his missed the ball completely and the chance went begging.
With 55 minutes on the clock Town went behind completely against the run of play. Alex Gilliead got away down the right and he looked to find Paul Taylor who was lurking near the six yard box. Toto Nsiala managed to get a block on the cross, but his block inadvertently diverted the ball past Dean Henderson who was already moving in the other direction.
Bradford then had the ball in the net again 10 minutes later when Charlie Wyke rose high in the penalty area to head past Dean Henderson, but luckily for Town Lineman Abbas Khan rose his flag and the goal was ruled out of offside.
The second-half hadn’t gone Town’s way and with 17 minutes remaining Paul Hurst turned to his bench for the first time. Ben Godfrey had been heavily involved in the first-half, but he hadn’t had as much joy in the second and he was sacrificed as Town went 4-4-2 with Carlton Morris joining Stefan Payne upfront.
Bradford manager Stuart McCall was clearly happy with his lot and they reverted to five at the back for the final 15 minutes as Adam Thompson replaced Paul Taylor. That substitution made it even more difficult for Town to breakdown a resolute Bradford defence, although Alex Rodman did test the Bradford ‘keeper with a curling effort from 25 yards, but Sattelmaier made a comfortable save down to his right hand side.
There was now only one side looking to score and Carlton Morris was the next to test Sattelmaier as he unleashed a powerful strike from a tight angle, but the Bradford ‘keeper tipped it over from a tight angle. From the resulting corner the German made an even better stop as Town took the corner short and Shaun Whalley hammered a shot towards goal from the corner of the box, but this time he leapt to his right to turn it round the post.
With less than a minute of normal time remaining Town went to three at the back by bringing Lenell John-Lewis, but despite a late goalmouth scramble it proved to be too late as Bradford held on for victory.