A STAT recently published on social media showed City in the top five of clubs with the most defeats this century.

With over 400 league losses since 2000, stoicism has become a crucial element of every Bantams follower. There are no glory hunters at Valley Parade.

Disappointment comes with the territory; let-downs are part of the landscape at BD8.

The first Saturday home game since mid-November was a case in point. It sure felt like a defeat even if the scoreboard may have suggested otherwise.

Late equalisers have that effect, stoppage-time spoilers sucking the joy out of anything you had witnessed before.

There had been so much to like about City’s play; the goalscoring return of the rejuvenated Andy Cook; Alex Gilliead playing like his superhero brother as captain; Adam Clayton bossing midfield like the guv’nor; Tolaji Bola showing off goalline gymnastics.

But then Mansfield scored barely seconds into the seven minutes of additional time - and sent the mood into despondency once again.

The squashed nature of the League Two table reflected the “if only” feeling. Instead of jumping up to sixth and right back in the play-off mix, City dropped a place to ninth.

Very much in contention but still on the outside trying to make up ground - and with that daunting trip to second-placed Stevenage next.

It wouldn’t have hurt so much if this was a nasty one-off. But you can add Mansfield to Crawley and Swindon earlier in the campaign where City have been mugged by last-gasp equalisers.

Add those extra six points that have been tossed away and the Bantams would be breathing right down the neck of Carlisle in the third automatic slot. Fine margins and all that but it is becoming an expensive habit.

Mark Hughes accused Mansfield of “celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup” as Nigel Clough and Co spilled on to the pitch after Alfie Kilgour’s goal.

But this was a significant outcome for the visitors, who had overcome the adversity of losing three injured players in the first half. That shows a spirit willing to dig deep for their team-mates.

City had similarly got stuck in during a contest that had the proper feel of a promotion ding-dong. If only they could have seen it out.

It was an occasion made for the likes of Clayton, who clearly relished his first Valley Parade appearance in claret and amber.

There was no Richie Smallwood, absent because of a family matter, but the midfield really rose to the occasion.

Ryan East was the most surprising name on an eagerly-anticipated team sheet and he didn’t disappoint.

East could feel hard done by to lose his place after such a good performance at Salford in October.

Four months on, and straight after a transfer window when his potential availability had been circulated, opportunity finally came knocking again and he delivered another technically-tidy and efficient effort.

Jamie Walker’s return after his rush of blood at Wimbledon gave the diamond an edge, setting the tempo with his closing down and harrying defenders.

And then there was Gilliead. What a transformation an armband can make.

So often the fall guy with fans, he was the universal choice as man of the match.

Gilliead set the tone after just five minutes when he charged through two tackles on halfway that he had no right to win and raced on deep into Mansfield territory before setting up a big chance for Abo Eisa.

On this evidence, he showed exactly why Hughes has always been firmly in his corner despite the misgivings of the crowd.

There have been plenty of misgivings over the manager’s decision to keep Cook benched through the new year as City struggle for goals.

Again, it was the top scorer alone getting on the scoresheet while Eisa missed that early opening, Walker fired wide from another decent opportunity and sub Harry Chapman choosing completely the wrong option from a late break that could have put the game beyond Mansfield’s reach.

Credit Stags keeper Scott Flinders too for an excellent reflex block to deny a deflected effort from guess who that would have doubled the advantage on the hour.

Cook, as we know, loves playing against Mansfield - and any of his former clubs. That’s now six goals this season, over a third of his total tally, against teams he previously played for.

The noisy 1,850 travelling section, complete with the odd pyro-lobbing numpty, had given Cook some stick in the first half hour as he struggled to get into the game.

They should have known better.

Clayton, on corner duty in Smallwood’s absence, put the ball on the money and the big man produced enough power on the header to beat Flinders despite the keeper managing to get both hands on it.

Cook then typically ran in front of the seething section of the Midland Road stand with ears cupped before seeking out a much warmer reception from the halfway line.

You wonder whether he might have been tempted to make a beeline for the technical area as well for a “told you so” response to his gaffer after his five-game stretch on the bench.

In the other dug-out, the manager who had pushed him out at Mansfield must have feared they would be punished again - particularly at a time when his own players were falling like flies.

The visitors were forced into using all five subs by the restart with no leeway for any changes in the second half.

But throwing more and more men forward, they wrestled the initiative from City.

Bola, looking much more assured at left back after a rusty debut at Stockport, somehow kept the ball out from James Perch’s goal-bound flick past Harry Lewis.

Hughes replaced Walker and East with Chapman and Thierry Nevers - but rather than shoring things up, City lost impetus after the changes.

Kilgour gave warning of what was to come with a header that clipped the bar.

Then, having stayed forward following a long throw, the January buy from Bristol Rovers struck his second goal in consecutive games for his new club.

A touchline kerfuffle, which saw a time-wasting ball boy removed from his post, deflected the concentration of the crowd as the game hit added time.

City certainly switched off to the danger of the extra man still lingering at the far post as Elliott Hewitt whipped in an inviting cross for the unmanned Kilgour to bury with a diving header.

And another two points had slipped through City's fingers.