Match report: Bradford 0 Chesterfield 1

Byron Harrison takes the plaudits from teammates after his first goal for Chesterfield. Picture: James Williamson
Byron Harrison takes the plaudits from teammates after his first goal for Chesterfield. Picture: James Williamson

Byron Harrison was an unlikely hero for Chesterfield as he scored the only goal of the game to sink cup kings Bradford.

Harrison, a January capture from Cheltenham, bagged his first goal for Chesterfield as Paul Cook’s side moved into the League One play-off places.

Harrison wasn’t even supposed to be playing at Valley Parade, but an injury for Armand Gnanduillet in the warm-up meant he got his chance as Chesterfield secured a fifth win in seven games.

They looked confident in the early stages, so much so that Gary Roberts tried an audacious early chip from all of 45 yards that just dropped over the crossbar.

There was then a spell of probing as both sides tried valiantly to get to grips with Valley Parade’s notoriously poor pitch, before the visitors were next to go close again in the 24th minute.

This time Paul Cook’s men produced some neat build-up play ahead of Harrison teeing up strike partner Clucas, who volleyed narrowly wide.

The Bantams’ faithful were becoming increasingly uneasy at the lack of noteworthy creativity from their team, but they did carve out an opportunity when danger-man Jon Stead fired in an acrobatic volley that Tommy Lee saved comfortably.

Clucas and Harrison were causing no end of problems for the Bradford back four, and just past the half-hour mark the late replacement slid in desperately to meet a cross from his side-kick, though he couldn’t quite stretch enough to make a connection.

Just when it looked as though the first half was set to end goalless, the Spireites pinched the lead in stoppage-time. And it had to be that man Harrison, who pounced on a mis-directed back header from Gary MacKenzie before rounding ‘keeper Ben Williams and slotting home.

Sam Hird thought he’d doubled the Spireites’ lead minutes after the restart, only for a linesman’s flag to deny the defender a possible second goal in as many games after he had knocked in a rebound from close range.

The hosts responded by going close to a leveller just before the hour mark. Stead headed a dangerous ball across goal, and ‘keeper Lee was extremely brave in denying Rory McArdle as he slid in menacingly.

The Spireites performed heroically in restricting Bradford to few sights of goal in the final 20 minutes. Chris Routis drilled narrowly over the top from 18 yards as the visitors held on for three precious points.