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BRADFORD CITY 0 GILLINGHAM 1
City slipped further behind the promotion pack after suffering a third successive league home loss against Gillingham.
While Wembley gets closer, the Bantams continue to stutter in League Two and have now picked up only two points from six games.
City were the better team in a first half of few chances. Gillingham, the away-day specialists, hardly got out of first gear.
The only real threat on goal came after 37 minutes. Stuart Nelson parried Gary Jones’ shot straight back out but then made up for it with a superb tip-over to deny Nahki Wells from the follow-up.
Gillingham stepped it up after the break and made the breakthrough after 64 minutes. It was a bad goal to concede for the home side as Matt Duke dithered coming for Deon Burton’s ball over the top, allowing Cody McDonald to nip round him and steer into the empty net.
Chris Whelpdale was inches away from a second before James Hanson missed a golden chance to level, powering a header wide from Kyel Reid’s inviting cross.
Duke came forward for a couple of late corners but Gillingham comfortably saw off the storm to clinch their tenth win on the road.
Throw-in right by corner flag.... but no time to take it. City lose 1-0 and suffer third home league defeat in a row.
Kop hide disappointment at imminent defeat with chorus of Wembley.
Wells falls down in box but nobody seriously looks for a penalty.
Gillingham get it away and Duke is way out. Weston has a pop at empty net from 40 yards but misses by a long way.
Another City corner and Duke still up there in the box.
Wells free-kick deflected off wall and City win corner. Duke's up for it!
Connel nudged over by Legge inside the Gillingham D. Chance for City...
Wells runs into a cul-de-sac and another opportunity is gone.
Four minutes of added time to salvage something.
Dickson combining neatly with Reid on left but quality of crosses has let City down most of game.
poor poor league form from city. #byebyepromotion #bcafc— @williamfstead 09 February 2013
Burton cuts inside Good but drives over the bar.
#bcafc we need to start winning in the league. Cup run is great but we need to turn it to winning points!— @mattlumsdenBCFC 09 February 2013
But it was hardly worth bothering with as short corner ends in a City throw.
And a third ...
And they get another ...
Gillingham win their first corner of the game after Reid lets Lee get past him far too easily.
Alan Connell comes on for Naylor with ten minutes left.
Another fan bites the dust, this time from the Kop.
Gillingham make their second sub replacing scorer McDonald with Lee.
Big chance! Reid cross is right on the money for Hanson but as VP prepares to celebrate, the big man's header crashes wide.
Obviously that means Dickson to left back instead of Good and Thompson wide on the right
Double sub from City. Thompson for Good, Dickson for Hines.
Feel like just crying #bcafc— @HairyGash 09 February 2013
We've been all over them how has that happened..come on bradford pick your heads up!! #bcafc— @JackTinge 09 February 2013
Whelpdale inches away from Gillingham second. Shot blocked by Nelson, ball sits up for him again and he drives rebound just wide of far post.
Jones corner comes back to him but he puts his cross straight into hands of keeper.
City respond with a corner. Need better delivery with this one.
Crowd is 10,887 with 327 from Gillingham, who are celebrating the prospect of a tenth away win.
1-0 to Gillingham. Long ball, Duke didn't come until too late, McDONALD takes it past him and knocks into empty net.
Darby tries his luck from "Burton" distance but flies wide into the Kop.
Crowd comes to life as City win a fifth corner. Reid's kick once again cleared by Legge.
Duke goal kick bounces right through for Wells but his shot is straight into the ground.
Gillingham showing more ambition since half-time.
Allen fails to recover from earlier knock and is replaced by Weston, who scored a good goal against City on opening day.
Confident run from Naylor to push deep into Gills territory. Reid down in a heap but ref unimpressed.
Whelpdale low shot through crowd of players saved by Duke. At other end, Hanson's glancing header from Wells cross lacks the power to trouble Nelson.
Burton lines up 30 yard free-kick but rattles it wide. No threat to Duke.
He's able to continue and the game restarts.
Play stops for a couple of minutes while Allen, the manager's son, receives treatment.
Last chance for City before half-time. Reid swings free-kick into box but Gills clear away again. 0-0 at the break.
Reid's low cross hits Barrett on backside in six-yard box but Hanson not close enough to get onto loose ball.
Hanson forces hurried clearance from Legge but Reid's shot is awful.
Martin Allen appeals to the fourth official as Legge goes down from Hanson push in box. Nobody else is impressed.
Andrew Davies comes out to warm up and greeted by loud applause and song from the Kop.
City claim for push on Hanson from corner but nothing is given. Good spell from the hosts.
Ball drops for Jones snap shot but Legge sticks out leg to block.
Jones shoots again, parried by Nelson who then tips Wells follow-up over bar. Excellent save
Hanson flick on drops to Wells but his shot on the turn clears roof of TL Dallas stand.
Reid powers past Fish and Allen but cross is too deep. City trying to play it around.
Gills fan being physically ejected by half a dozen stewards. Seems very reluctant to leave.
Hanson heads over bar, 26min.
Robinson flattens Hines but no action taken.
Good block from Nelson to charge down shot by Whelpdale.
Swansea 2-0 Wigan (Rangel) #SwanseaWatch #BCAFC— @SanjS87 09 February 2013
Crowd launch rousing chorus of Parkinson's Bradford army.
Gillingham not really settled into game. No chances to speak of so far but Parkinson will be happy with way things are going.
Martin Allen his usual animated self on the touchline. Doesn't look happy with his team's start.
Reid overhits it though and Robinson heads away from danger.
Another corner for City, their third of game with 14 min gone.
Another corner for City as Hines shot turned behind by Frampton. Gills clear but bright start from home side.
Duke fields McDonald shot from distance.
Hanson does well to cut ball back from byline, Wells helps on to Jones but shot smothered by Gills bodies.
Gonna be a tough one, but we do need to win this to stand a good chance of promotion come the end of the season #bcafc— @xnicholastx 09 February 2013
Important tackle from Gills skipper Adam Barrett thwarts Hanson as he looks to get on end of Reid long pass.
Reid corner whizzes across goal mouth but nobody gets a touch.
Hanson wins flick on and Hines nips in behind to win City corner after less than minute.
Naylor's loan is up after this afternoon's game. Could be his final outing for City.
Teams are out and right on cue the Wembley song begins
Great to see Davies back in the squad.They all want to be fit for Wembley. #bcafc— @KathCox2 09 February 2013
GILLINGHAM: Nelson, Fish, Legge, Robinson, Martin, Whelpdale, Frampton, Barrett, Allen, McDonald, Burton. Subs: Lee, C Davies, Birchall, Weston, Gregory, Muggleton, Forecast.
Great starting line up ... And Davis on the bench #bcafc— @dan_yeadon 09 February 2013
Never in my life did I think I'd see 30 fellas in the centre of Bradford pushing #bcafc cup final scarves. All rubbish but still, surreal.— @bantamsbanter 09 February 2013
There are some surprises in the City line-up this afternoon to take on away specialists Gillingham.
Phil Parkinson has made four changes from the side that started last week's 2-2 draw at Fleetwood.
Both wingers Kyel Reid and Zavon Hines start while Curtis Good comes in at left back and Tom Naylor at centre half.
Carl McHugh is not included in the squad so presumably has a knock after making his Republic of Ireland under-21 debut on Wednesday.
But there is a return to the bench for Andrew Davies, his first involvement since the injury at Burton in October. He only started full training again on Monday.
CITY: Duke, Darby, Nelson, Naylor, Good, Hines, Doyle, Jones, Reid, Wells, Hanson. Subs: Davies, Gray, Thompson, Atkinson, Connell, Dickson, McLaughlin.
Gillingham have lost only once away all season. But they haven't won a game when they've conceded the first goal.