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Bradford City 1, Torquay United 0
Alan Connell was the second-half hero for City after climbing off the bench to finally break the stubborn resistance of 10-man Torquay with a brilliant winner.
The striker, an 80th-minute replacement for Carl McHugh, struck five minutes later with a sumptuous right-foot strike which flew into the net from 20 yards out.
The goal was created by the outstanding Nahki Wells and was just reward for City’s dominance on a largely frustrating afternoon.
Phil Parkinson’s men enjoyed a numerical advantage for 55 minutes after visiting captain Brian Saah was sent off for an off-the-ball challenge on James Meredith.
Torquay hit the post moments later when substitute Niall Thompson curled a 20-yard shot against the post but it was City who went on to dominate the game before Connell finally made it pay.
During the first half, James Hanson saw a header rebound off the crossbar and was then denied a penalty on the stroke of half-time after being hauled down by Aaron Downes.
Wells, who was a constant menace throughout, then saw a shot deflected onto the post by Torquay goalkeeper Michael Poke midway through the second half.
City fashioned numerous other half-chances but looked set to be left frustrated until Connell’s timely introduction.
The substitute’s strike gave the Bantams the win they craved ahead of Tuesday’s crunch Capital One Cup quarter-final with Arsenal.
“Bring on the Arsenal” was the chant from the Bantams faithful in the closing stages as Tuesday’s clash came into clear focus.
Hallelujah. Final score: City 1 Torquay 0.
"Bring on the Arsenal" is the chant from the City fans. Still 1-0.
Wells off, Naylor on... 2 mins left.
Nahki Wells, who created Connell's opener, then forces another fine save from Poke with a 20-yard shot.
GOAL!! Alan Connell scores a brilliant 20-yard right-foot shot!!!
Connell duly curls a shot wide from 20 yards.
City still pressing hard and Alan Connell is introduced at the expense of Carl McHugh. Less than 10 minutes remaining.
#BradfordCity were trending today, apparently. Shame we're expelled from FA Cup, we were on for 3 trophies and promotion this season! #CTID— @EmmaLev_trav 07 December 2012
#Bradfordcity you won't win your appeal. Just ask Yorkshire CCC. Rafiq was only an administrative error but still kicked us out of T20 cup.— @JJ_Ship 07 December 2012
70 - Poke tips a shot from Wells onto the post.
67mins - Atkinson slips in Wells, who beats another Torquay defender but sees his shot saved by Poke's legs.
66 mins - Nathan Doyle fires a left-footed shot straight at Michael Poke from 20 yards.
Brilliant piece of skill by Wells to outfox a Torquay defender and send in a low cross which is cleared.
62 - Blair Turgott on for Garry Thompson...
@RHannah10 scores again #bcafc— @city__gent 08 December 2012
#tufc start as they ended, dirty and fouling. Probably mug us late on to boot. #bcafc— @Ianhirst666 08 December 2012
50 - Wells cross from the left met by Thompson, whose shot is deflected out for a corner.
Nahki Wells having treatment after being hacked down. Now on his feet to warm applause.
City appeal for a penalty after James Hanson is apparently hauled down by Aaron Downes. The two men debate matters as they walk off at the end of the first half.
Three minutes of first-half added time. Garry Thompson heads over a cross from Gary Jones.
43 - Garry Thompson shot saved by Michael Poke.
42 - Wells picks out Hanson at the far post and the big striker heads against the crossbar. Closest City have come.
42 Low cross from Stephen Darby, James Hanson scuffs a low shot into Michael Poke's midriff.
38 - Atkinson cross, Thompson flashes a header wide.
Torquay sub Niall Thompson hits the post from 25 yards!
Momentum now clearly with City against Torquay's 10 men. But can they make it pay?
Torquay skipper Brian Saah sent off for an off-the-ball challenge on James Meredith, who is fit to play on after brief treatment.
Will Atkinson shot deflected out for a corner, which Gary Jones delivers and Rory McArdle heads over.
Gary Jones free-kick blocked, likewise with Nathan Doyle's follow-up.
Aaron Downes heads over the bar from inside the six-yard box from Nathan Craig's right-wing inswinging corner.
Nahki Wells runs at the visiting defence before blazing over from the edge of the 18-yard box.
22 mins - Gary Jones free-kick headed back by James Hanson amid home appeals for handball. The ball falls to Garry Thompson, who hooks it over the bar.
19 mins - Garry Thompson headed down a deep cross into the path of James Hanson, who fires straight at Michael Poke under pressure.
Low cross from Torquay's Daniel Leadbitter cleared for a corner.
Gary Jones and Nathan Doyle looking solid in the middle of the park. City still looking for a breakthrough.
Gary Jones hits one from 25 yards, deflected out for a corner.
Referee Darren Bond has changed his jersey colour to green. Phil Parkinson told to stay calm after contesting a free-kick which went against City.
Nahki Wells almost engineers his way through the Torquay defence before Torquay skipper Brian Saah does well to clear the danger.
After that early save from Poke, Torquay have gradually established a foothold on proceedings.
02 - Great move by City sees James Meredith and Nahki Wells combined for Hanson to head goalwards, only for Torquay goalkeeper Michael Poke to make a fine tip-over save.
City kick-off towards the TL Dallas Stand during the first half....
Torquay starting line-up: Poke, Nicholson, Downes, Saah, Jarvis, Howe, Leadbitter, Bodin, Easton, Stevens, Craig
Torquay subs: Rice (GK), Lathrope, MacDonald, Halpin, Cruise, Yeoman, Thompson
Phil Parkinson made eight changes to his starting line-up for today's League Two encounter at home to promotion rivals Torquay United.
Goalkeeper Matt Duke was recalled along with James Meredith, James Hanson, Will Atkinson, Gary Jones, Nahki Wells, Rory McArdle and Nathan Doyle.
That meant Jon McLaughlin was forced to make do with a place on the bench along with Ricky Ravenhill, Ritchie Jones, Craig Forsyth, Alan Connell, Tom Naylor and Blair Turgott.
There was no place for on-loan Newcastle defender Curtis Good among the substitutes despite impressive display in Tuesday's win at Port Vale in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
City line-up: Duke, Darby, McHugh, McArdle, Meredith, Thompson, G Jones, Atkinson, Doyle, Hanson, Wells
Subs: McLaughlin (GK), Ravenhill, R Jones, Forsyth, Connell, Naylor, Turgott.
Hines and Reid currently on VP pitch doing fitness drills #bcafc— @WYSDaily 08 December 2012
Looking forward to watching the new bad boys of English football this afternoon #bcafc— @alexbrowne83 08 December 2012
Feeling a big win today with big James bagging a brace! #bcafc— @JonnySmith94 08 December 2012