City 1 Scunthorpe 2

RORY McArdle made a winning return as Scunthorpe inflicted more home misery on the Bantams.

This season is turning into a complete contrast to last with City, who were unbeaten on their own soil throughout the whole of the last campaign, now having lost five league games at Valley Parade.

McArdle was his usual solid self at the back and kept striker Charlie Wyke shackled for much of the game.

But it was Hakeeb Adelakun who proved City's undoing – and not for the first time.

The midfielder denied Phil Parkinson's team victory in 2014 with a late, late equaliser and he had a hand in both goals last night.

His free-kick was headed home by Cameron Burgess to provide Iron with an equaliser just before half-time and silence the home faithful, who moments earlier had been in raptures after another Paul Taylor special had given City the lead.

Then Adelakun got the winner with a free-kick which substitute keeper Rouven Sattelmaier – on for the injured Colin Doyle – should have saved.

McArdle was given a fantastic reception by the Valley Parade faithful – and rightly so after five years' fantastic service in which he played an integral part in City's resurgence under Parkinson.

Many fans might still wish he was wearing claret and amber this season rather than claret and blue of the Iron, who were wearing their away-strip green last night.

Having yet to score for his new Scunthorpe team, the fear was that he could well break his duck on his return, especially given City's prospensity for ending that sort of run.

Those famous headers – Aston Villa in the League Cup semi-final, Northampton at Wembley, Fleetwood in last season's play-offs – will remain etched in every City fan's memory.

And while he did not score from a set-piece, his solidity at the other end was a key to Iron's win.

Scunthorpe fired the first shot when Jordan Clarke had a speculative effort from long range which almost caught Doyle out, the keeper playing it safe by tipping the dipping shot over.

The Iron made the better start early on, playing the ball along the deck with confidence and looking like a side who had won four on the bounce in the league.

City's first attack brought a quiet Valley Parade crowd to life as Taylor's cross was met first time by Wyke, whose shot was pushed round the corner by keeper Matt Gilks.

The Bantams began to find their feet as Nicky Law and Alex Gilliead produced some good work down the right before the City winger outpaced Murray Wallace and put a dangerous ball into the box which was cleared for a corner by McArdle.

City continued to hold the upper hand as an intelligent ball from Jake Reeves into the box set up McMahon, whose powerful snap-shot produced a one-handed save from Gilks as he parried it for a corner.

It was a cagey affair but the Bantams were the ones asking the questions as McMahon's cross was met by Romain Vincelot, who could not get enough on his header.

The half looked as if it was dwindling into a half-time stalemate before another piece of magic from the enigmatic Taylor brought the Valley Parade crowd to life.

His strike against Oldham in September is already a candidate for goal of the season. This time the former Peterborough player served up another contender with a right-foot rocket from 25 yards that left Gilks with no chance.

It was another example of how dangerous this player can be on his day and further indication that he is becoming one of City's most useful summer acquisitions.

Yet thoughts that it would give Stuart McCall's men the advantage at the break were almost immediately dashed.

Scunthorpe won a free-kick down their left on the edge of the box. Adelakun put in a teasing ball and Cameron Burgess nodded home in a crowded box, leaving Doyle stranded.

Yet there was still time for City to almost regain the lead when Gilliead found himself clear in the box but blasted his shot over with just Gilks to beat.

Scunthorpe were first out in the second half, leading to a loud chorus of "oh Rory McArdle" from the kop.

There was also a surprise when keeper Doyle did not return from the changing rooms as Sattelmaier came on for him.

Opposite number Gilks was called into action early when Law produced powerful header after a cross from the right which the Iron shot-stopper did well to keep out.

City's German sub was tested himself moments later and showed safe hands to keep hold of a shot from Paddy Madden, who had come on for Lee Novak just before the break.

The game became nip and tuck again with little between the sides. But the Iron gained the upper hand and it was that man Adelakun who proved City's nemesis again.

His strong run down the middle was halted by Reeves before he got up and slotted the free-kick from just outside the box over the wall and into the bottom left-hand corner under the diving Sattelmaier.

It was an awkward one to handle on a skiddy surface but the German should have saved it.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of City as they were unable to make a strong initial response.

Luke Hendrie had a decent effort saved and Reeves' shot was deflected by Vincelot but Gilks was able to keep it out.

Sattelmaier went some way to redeeming himself when he pulled off a double save, including a superb block from a close-range Madden header.

McCall brought Dominic Poleon on and City's hero from their win at Wigan, Tyrell Robinson, with ten minutes to go but the Bantams could only huff and puff and were unable to create anything clear cut.

That was until another block-busting effort from Taylor down the left which Gilks did well to parry, before Wyke was unable to react quick enough from the rebound.

Sattelmaier came up for a corner in a last-gasp effort to steal a point but it was to no avail.