City 2 Manchester City U21s 1

IT MAY not have been Bayern Munich or even Benfica – but Lukas Raeder can now say he has played against Manchester City.

The keeper with Bundesliga and Portuguese Primeira Liga experience on his CV last night made his bow in English football.

And it was a winning one as the Bantams eased their way past the Premier League's youthful wannabes in front of a sparsely-populated Valley Parade.

Such was the low-key nature of Raeder's introduction to the domestic game, you could almost have named the audience individually.

Man City had sold just nine tickets in advance and there were only 56 away fans in total. The rival attraction of their senior side in Carabao Cup action at home to Wolves was unsurprisingly a far greater lure.

For someone who had not played a first-team fixture in 21 months, the Checkatrade Trophy still represented a welcome opportunity – even in front of a crowd lower than any that had bothered to watch the same competition at Valley Parade last season.

Man City's ranks of gilded teenagers – none were older than 19 – featured a 16-year-old once described as an English Neymar and the grandson of an Argentina World Cup winner.

But the home crowd would have been more interested in the sight of former Bantams midfielder Gareth Whalley among their Academy coaching staff.

Yet for all Man City's neat and tidy footwork and technical ability, there was little cutting edge in the first half to ruffle Raeder.

At times, you sensed they were trying to create the perfect move like a human X-Box team.

The keeper's only moment of slight discomfort was self-inflicted when he got the ball stuck under his feet and just managed to clear before Wales under-21 striker Rabbi Matondo could swoop.

Instead, it was the development lads in the home shirts who took their opportunity – just as the watching Stuart McCall had hoped.

Tyrell Robinson and Jordan Gibson in particular caught the eye on the wings in their first starts. Both would try a trick but there was also an end product about their play.

Robinson's speed was a constant issue for City's young opponents and he signalled his intentions from the start by playing in Shay McCartan, who was foiled by a fine save from Swiss keeper Arijanet Muric.

In centre halves Nathaniel Knight-Percival and Adam Thompson, City had the physical advantage and it was no surprise that the opening goal should come from a corner.

Thompson steamrollered through to meet Robinson's set-piece and power his header past Muric – literally a man against boys moment.

Like the on-loan Bury defender, Alex Jones was looking to press his claims for more serious action after finding himself stuck on the attacking fringes in the opening months.

And he did his chances no harm with a smartly-taken second goal ten minutes before the break.

Gibson fed Luke Hendrie for the cross from the right, Jones bringing the ball down with his back to goal and swivelling on a cool finish into the bottom corner.

Robinson, who only made his senior debut at the weekend, had enjoyed himself. But he was switched to left back after the break as Hendrie was spared with Saturday in mind.

McCartan, another looking for a kick-start to his season, tried one of his trademark free-kicks and rattled the Checkatrade advertising hoarding just past Muric's right post.

Gibson also went close before the visitors reduced the deficit on 57 minutes, Taylor Richards sending Matondo clear midway inside the City half to round Raeder and score.

Buoyed by the goal, Matondo turned provider to set up Benjamin Garre but he could not summon the spirit of his World Cup-winning grandad Oscar and screwed the shot wide.

There was more about the young away side since the break and their build-up play started to test the Bantams backline, who lost full back Jacob Hanson 13 minutes from time when he hobbled off.

Jones looked to give them some breathing space with a rising 25-yarder that cleared the bar before Matondo was left holding his head in frustration after taking too long on a half chance at the other end.

But City saw it through to clinch a second group win – and guarantee their spot in the knock-out stages of the Trophy with a game to spare. Maybe that might encourage a few more to turn up in future.