Bantams sink Crawley with flurry of second half goals

Bradford score their first goal

Bradford score their first goal

First published in Sport
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Crawley’s perfect start to the season came to an end as they went down 3-1 at home to Bradford City.

Reds had kept clean sheets in their opening three games of the season but their defence was breached three times in the space of 27 second half minutes.

James Hanson gave the Bantams the lead in the 50th minute when he finished off a counter attack by firing into the roof of the net.

Crawley responded with a fine glancing header by Joe Walsh but goals from Billy Knott and Mason Bennett secured the points for Bradford.

Crawley boss John Gregory made just one change to the team which beat Swindon 1-0 on Saturday with Bobson Bawling coming in for his full league debut at the expense of Conor Henderson.

Bawling was involved in Crawley’s first opportunity of the match. The 18-year-old won a free kick on the left and Jimmy Smith’s delivery skimmed off the head of Gary Liddle and forced Jordan Pickford into a full length save.

Reds had not conceded a goal in 300 minutes of football this season but had a scare when Lanre Oyebanjo’s back-header almost caught Brian Jensen out. The Dane initially spilled the ball but recovered in time just as it looked like Aaron McLean would roll the ball into an empty net.

Bradford began to get on top without really threatening Jensen in the Crawley goal and it was Reds who almost nicked the lead on the stroke of half-time.

First Pickford had to race off his line to make a sliding tackle on Edwards with referee Carl Berry rightly waving away appeals for a penalty.

Then Pickford got down well to block a shot from Joe Walsh on the turn after the ball had fallen to him at a corner.

Crawley’s defence was breached for the first time in 350 minutes of football this season as Bradford took the lead early in the second half.

Lanre Oyebanjo gave the ball away in the Bantams half to allow Filipe Morais to charge forward on the counter attack. The Reds defence were still trying to get organised when Stephen Darby played the ball in from the right and Hanson sidestepped his marker to fire into the roof of the net.

Crawley responded immediately and were on level terms within five minutes. Ryan Dickson whipped over a corner from the right and Walsh met it with a glancing header which flew over the man stationed on the far post.

Having kept clean sheets in his opening three games Jensen was picking the ball out of his net for the second time in the space of 12 minutes as Bradford regained the lead.

There was nothing Jensen could do as Knott caught a perfect half volley 20 yards out which flew in off an upright.

It was almost 3-1 in the 71st minute when Alan Sheehan’s low drive into the box was deflected against the bar by Jason Kennedy.

The third goal did arrive six minutes later, substitute Mason Bennett shrugging off his marker before dinking the ball over the advancing Jensen.

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