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Burton Albion 1 Bradford City 0
Ricky Ravenhill was sent off and City lost both centre halves with injuries on an afternoon to forget at Burton.
Ravenhill was controversially dismissed by Andy D’Urso after a set-to with Lee Bell. Then both Luke Oliver and Andrew Davies had to quit the action early with problems. City’s ten men got to within nine minutes of hanging on to a point before Calvin Zola capitalised on a moment of misjudgement from keeper Jon McLaughlin.
City made a sluggish start and struggled to get going in a scrappy opening quarter. There were few chances but Rory McArdle almost turned Billy Kee’s low cross into his own net.
There was none of the snap about City’s play that they had shown at Northampton four days earlier and they could not keep the ball well enough. But the problems really began after 32 minutes when Ravenhill was shown a straight red card after a clash with Bell. The pair squared up following a tackle and the Burton midfielder fell to the ground after what appeared slight contact.
To add to City’s difficulties, Oliver then limped off five minutes later forcing Phil Parkinson into a double switch. It did mean a first outing for Gary Jones, who was back in the squad for the first time in five weeks.
James Hanson saw a header deflected wide from a corner but it looked like a backs-to-the-wall effort was needed now.
Burton threatened right on half-time when Damien McCrory got to the byline but his cutback was side-footed wide by Kee.
City’s troubles increased when Davies failed to appear for the second half, presumably because of an injury. Carl McHugh came on for his league debut.
Burton predictably stepped it up and were close to a breakthrough in a 55th minute flurry. Jacques Maghoma’s cross-shot hit the bar, Kee’s follow-up was blocked and McLaughlin was off his line in a flash to superbly deny Zola.
Kee nodded wide from Jordan Chapell’s cross but City’s resistance was broken with the end tantalisingly in sight.
McLaughlin was caught in no man’s land after starting to come for Nathan Stanton’s through ball and Damien McCrory fired across the unguarded goal for Zola to finish with a diving header.
Jones volleyed well wide in stoppage time but there was no way back from a game when nothing went right for the visitors.