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Bradford City 0 Port Vale 1
City suffered their first home defeat of the season this afternoon against promotion rivals Port Vale.
Tom Pope’s ninth goal of the campaign – following a rare blunder by Gary Jones – proved the difference in an entertaining game.
Nahki Wells nearly celebrated his new contract with an instant goal after 20 seconds but Chris Neal blocked with his legs. Then James Hanson headed into the side-netting from the corner.
It was a start as bright as Vale’s away kit and Clayton McDonald just managed to recover in time after his slip almost let in Wells.
Hanson then wasted a great chance after 16 minutes. Nathan Doyle’s blast from outside the box cannoned off a defender into his path but the striker missed the target.
Another Hanson header was saved but the Bantams continued to play with pace and tempo. Vale were certainly the best side to visit Valley Parade but they remained under the cosh as Richard Duffy made successive blocks from both City strikers.
City also had a huge shout for hand ball waved away from right under the assistant’s nose.
But it was Vale who seized the lead eight minutes before half-time after a blunder by Jones. The skipper’s header back towards Jon McLaughlin fell well short and Pope intercepted to finish confidently.
McLaughlin then hung on to Pope’s header from a corner just before the end of an enthralling first half.
The City keeper made two more key saves soon after the break from wingers Jennison Myrie-Williams and Ashley Vincent.
City still pushed for a way back but there was a ragged edge to their play with promising build-ups let down by a poor final pass.
Nathan Doyle went close 12 minutes from time when his goal-bound drive was blocked in the six-yard box by McDonald.
And City were twice thwarted by Neal in stoppage time. He tipped over a Wells shot before clinging on to Hanson’s header from the corner.