Town 1 Bradford City 0Town: Leutwiler, Riley, Nsiala, El-Abd © (36), Sadler; Rodman (92), Ogogo, Deegan, Brown; Dodds (60); Ladapo
Subs: Halstead, Whalley (60), O’Brien (36), Smith (92), Jones, Anderson, Barnett
Bradford: Doyle, McMahon, Vincelot ©, Knight-Percival, Meredith (91); Marshall, Dieng (76), Cullen, Law; Hiwula (67), Jones
Subs: Settelmaier, Darby, Hanson (67), Gillihead (76), McArdle (91), Devine, Kilgallon
Ref: Charles Breakspear
Assistants: John Farries, Natalie Aspinall
Fourth Official: Joe Hull
Attendance: 5590 (924)
Shrewsbury Town secured their first win of 2017 with a hard fought and thoroughly impressive 1-0 victory over Bradford City.
An opportunistic goal on the counter attack by new boy Freddie Ladapo late in the first half was enough to secure all three points for Paul Hurst’s side.
Bradford – the 4th placed team in League One prior to this meeting – dominated for large periods but like many visitors to the Greenhous Meadow since Hurst’s arrival, they struggled to break down a solid Town defence.
Louis Dodds looked most likely to provide inspiration for Town with a couple of efforts, but Bradford looked equally lively going forward early on.
Mark Marshall’s lightning pace was causing Town problems but the Town back line, including Aristote Nsiala on his home debut, quickly shut down any opening.
Just as the away side looked to be establishing a foothold, Town created their best chance of the half.
Louis Dodds and new signing Ladapo – on-loan from Crystal Palace – combined delicately on the edge of the box to set the latter through on goal, but Bradford keeper Colin Doyle read the strike and reacted with a good save.
Town were dealt a setback just moments later as they lost Adam El-Abd to injury.
Despite the absence of their captain, Town took advantage of a Bradford error four minutes before half time to take the lead.
The away side failed to deal with a routine clearance that came to the half way line and Dodds was set through on goal, and whilst his shot was saved by Doyle, Ladapo was on hand to complete the breakaway and score on his home debut.
Bradford looked for an instant response just before the break and it was the lively figure of Marshall that was again causing havoc in the Town area, but it came to nothing and the home side went into the interval in the lead.
Half Time: Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Bradford City
The second half settled into a pattern early on as the away side searched for an equalizer and Town were made to soak up the pressure to hold onto their lead.
Town also had another injury blow to deal with on the hour mark as Dodds was withdrawn and replaced by Shaun Whalley.
The substitute – a direct replacement for Dodds in the No.10 position – could’ve made an early impact but his curling effort went over.
Bradford continued to control the game but despite their dominance, they were being reduced to shots from distance, including a couple of free kicks; first from Marshall and then Tony McMahon.
Town then came close to doubling their lead with an outrageous effort on the counter attack.
Ladapo chased a seemingly lost cause down the left channel and floated a glorious ball towards Whalley at the back post, but the substitute could only cushion his effort just wide of the target.
The away side continued to earn a splurge of free kicks on the edge of the area as Jim O’Brien was booked for a foul but again the strike was off target.
Desperate Bradford attacking came in the final 10 minutes, but it was met with heroic defending from the hugely impressive Nsiala, Mat Sadler and others as the clock ticked to 90.
But they couldn’t find a way through, and Town held on for another important 3 points.
Full Time: Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Bradford City