ANDY Cook has been City’s hero so often this season - but for once he left his scoring boots at home in a feisty goalless draw at Crawley.

League Two’s leading scorer fluffed a couple of big chances he would have buried any other day.

That summed up a frustrating afternoon from the longest trip of the season - which ended with the Bantams down to 10 men after Matty Platt was red-carded.

Nobody from owners WAGMI United was in a directors’ box which did include 90’s pop star Rozalla.

To paraphrase one of her biggest numbers, City fans have still got to have faith in the power of Cook despite this rare off-day.

Mark Hughes had made one change after Grimsby with Harry Chapman dropping out.

Matt Derbyshire, so influential in that fightback, got the nod for his first start since Valentine’s Day when he damaged his thigh against Tranmere.

There were two changes on the bench as Ciaran Kelly and Tolaji Bola came in for Romoney Crichlow and Dion Pereira.

City and Crawley had shared the same Spanish training base in pre-season. But neither side were thinking about approaching holidays in exotic climes with so much still to play for during the run-in.

Hughes had warned about the danger of a Crawley side fighting for their League Two lives.

They had lost only one of the previous seven games at a ground where City had won just once in six visits.

The hosts certainly began at a brisk pace, forcing five corners in the first 10 minutes as the Bantams were forced on the back foot.

One-time City loan striker Aramide Oteh went closest with a fierce volley that deflected wide off Platt’s shoulder.

The City fans behind the goal were seeing far too much of the action as their team struggled to get any time on the ball.

But having weathered the early storm, the visitors began to hit their stride with Cook having a couple of sighters at goal - sending one effort straight at keeper Corey Addai.

A head injury to Crawley centre half Harry Ransom caused a lengthy delay and it was City who resumed the sharper.

Jamie Walker was wrestled to the ground 20 yards out by James Tilley. But Richie Smallwood’s free-kick was smothered by the six-man wall.

City were warming up and looked set to break the deadlock on 32 minutes as Derbyshire cleverly fed Andy Cook in the box.

The striker’s eyes lit up as he pulled the trigger from 10 yards out - but keeper Corey Addai was equal to it and superbly palmed away his angled blast with both hands.

Tempers flared when Rafiq Khaleel went in very late on Brad Halliday. Matty Platt then launched himself straight at Crawley - and the pair were both yellow-carded after a bout of push and shove.

Smallwood then followed straight into the book for a revenge hit on the home man. Seven added minutes added to the rising temperature with Kellan Gordon going to ground after an off-the-ball incident.

Hughes and Glyn Hodges were making their feelings known towards the fourth official while the home fans in the main stand vented their fury at the City management duo.

The first-half card count had reached five before Halliday wastefully crossed out of play after Scott Banks set him up in the box.

Oteh bamboozled City’s right back to create a decent chance for Crawley to start the second half. Ashley Nadesan stepped over his squared ball but James Tilley fluffed the shot.

Banks had lacked a bit of conviction in his play first half but looked more direct from the restart. He drifted one effort across goal and then warmed Addai’s hands with a well-struck drive.

Cook then wasted a huge chance as he dragged the ball horribly wide after Derbyshire’s flick found him in plenty of space.

Cook’s day wasn’t getting any better as he shanked another one off target to the bemusement of the loud support behind the goal.

That lifted the hosts and the crowd again but City survived a little flurry before Hughes made his first change, replacing Derbyshire with Dara Costelloe.

City again threatened as Cook and Walker broke through but a heavy touch from the centre forward saw the ball run away to Addai.

Harry Lewis pulled off an acrobatic save to keep Crawley out with 15 minutes left, pushing away a clipped volley from Ransom after the centre half met Jack Powell’s free-kick.

And City had to see out the closing stages down to 10 men when Platt’s earlier booking caught up with him as he clattered into substitute Tom Fellows.

Cook went down in a tangle in the box in stoppage time but the roar from the away fans was ignored as ref Rob Lewis waved play on.