Chesterfield 0 Bradford City 1: Spireites well beaten by wasteful City
Had Bradford City brought their shooting boots, Chesterfield might well have been on the end of a shellacking rather than a 1-0 defeat.
The Bantams presented a strong case for the title of ‘best side seen’ at the Proact this season with a dominant performance.
Going forward Stuart McCall’s men were an ever present threat, Nicky Law and Mark Marshall terrorising the Spireites full-backs, Billy Clarke and Jordy Hiwula both lively and Tomothee Dieng a real force in the middle.
Danny Wilson’s Chesterfield simply met a better side and were unable to create much more than half chances.
The statistics tell the tale, Bradford racking up 19 shots at goal, their hosts just five.
Mercifully for Town, most of those Bantams efforts were either well off target or well dealt with by Ryan Fulton between the posts.
Not so the winner, an unstoppable drive from Clarke after a clever quick corner routine, Chesterfield defenders only able to stand and watch as the goal happened around them.
Up until the goal Bradford had bossed the possession and threatened without really creating a golden chance.
Makeshift left-back Laurence Maguire kept Mark Marshall quiet for the first 25 minutes, but when he was beaten for the first time by the winger Chesterfield suddenly looked in real trouble.
A minute later Clarke struck the winner.
Had it not been for a sublime piece of goalkeeping by Colin Doyle, the Spireites would have levelled within five minutes however.
The Bantams stopper clawed a 30-yard Kristian Dennis free-kick out of his top corner and was rarely troubled for the remainder.
Fulton had to be sharp at the other end, beating away a fierce drive from Marshall and diving full length to ensure Law’s curled effort went past the post.
A show of strength and pace from Gboly Ariyibi, a rare moment of joy for the winger, led to a penalty shout, his ball into the middle striking the hand of Romain Vincelot, referee Darren Bond unmoved.
Bradford retained their stranglehold on the game after the break, at least initially, Fulton instinctively blocking Hiwula’s flick after Law and James Meredith had linked brilliant - a theme of the afternoon.
The Bantams were brimming with confidence, neat interplay forcing Chesterfield to chase shadows and defend desperately.
It wasn’t quite one-way traffic, Maguire’s free-kick headed to the back post by Tom Anderson for Sam Hird who nodded down tamely, Doyle collecting.
Bradford weren’t as fluid in the second half but still carried menace, Dieng finding the run of Meredith with a reverse ball, the left-back firing inches wide.
A late chance for the hosts came and went, the unmarked Ariyibi’s ball across the six-yard box met with an offside flag rather than a finishing touch.
And then Meredith should have ended the contest when he ran onto a long ball, blasting high and wide in a moment that summed up most of this encounter.
Chesterfield: FULTON 8, Graham 6, Maguire 6, Hird 7, Anderson 6, Ariyibi 5, Mitchell 5 (O’Shea 46) Liddle 6, Nolan 6 (German 76), Wilkinson 6, Dennis 6 (Dimaio 63). Subs: Parkin, Evatt, Gardner, Humphreys.
Bradford City: Doyle 7, Darby 7, Vincelot 8, Knight-Percival 8, Meredith 8, Marshall 8, Cullen 7, Dieng 8, Law 8 (Morais 78), Hiwula 7, Clarke 8 (Vuckic 78). Subs: Sattlemaier, Rabiega, McArdle, Devine, Kilgallon.