THEY weren’t singing and dancing down Manningham Lane over City’s second home win.

It wasn’t one that will stick in the memory for much longer than the Bank Holiday session in the pub.

But the Bantams got what they needed when it was needed to settle everyone down a bit after Morecambe.

There are still many questions for supporters; plenty of concern about whether this team will really have what it takes to be up there competing again.

The final days of the summer window will be watched with keen interest and a critical eye.

City still feel short in areas - another forward is required, without a doubt, and a winger in the mould of a Scott Banks or Tyreik Wright who illuminated the market 12 months ago.

But for now, the job of restoring order from that mess on the west coast was achieved with relatively few alarms.

True, Crewe had large control of the first half when City were penned in their own half. But for the most part, the visiting possession was in front of them.

The feared moment that they would cut through the defensive ranks never materialised with the only efforts to test Harry Lewis coming from outside the box.

It took the hosts a long while to get going - too long in the eyes of a fidgety crowd depleted in numbers by the holiday weekend and the latest train strike.

But City refused to be derailed by the Railwaymen on this occasion. There may have been delays on the line but the required destination was reached in the end.

You also forgot for the most part that Darren Drysdale was the referee. And that’s a big compliment.

The official who has got up City’s noses more than most down the years - and annoyed Mark Hughes intensely last season with his refusal to award them a penalty on multiple occasions - was on his best behaviour with little incident worth grumbling about.

A first win in a game when he’s been the man in the middle for nearly five years should be seen as cause for celebration.

Hughes had made the big selection call, the one that fans had demanded but deep down probably didn’t expect, when he left skipper Richie Smallwood on the bench.

It was only the second time that the captain had not started in the league since his Valley Parade arrival - and the previous occasion against Mansfield in February was due to the birth of his child.

Hughes wanted Kevin McDonald in his starting line-up and had dropped some heavy pre-match hints. But it still sent out a powerful message to remove a name that had been engraved on the team sheet.

Smallwood, understandably not happy about it, reacted in the right way with a purposeful appearance for the final quarter of the action.

That and the unflustered, calm approach of the experienced McDonald justified his manager’s decision.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jamie Walker marked a lively return with City's winning goalJamie Walker marked a lively return with City's winning goal (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Hughes also got it right with recalling Jamie Walker, though his hand was forced to a degree by Clarke Oduor’s late withdrawal.

Walker had presented a decent case in training and backed that up with an influential return, adding that energy to the closing down and pressing that had been so woefully absent the week before.

The goal was an example of the Scot’s alertness and anticipation.

All Crewe eyes - and arms - were on Andy Cook when Daniel Oyegoke shuttled the ball back to McDonald on City’s right wing.

But as he swung in the cross, it was Walker nipping in from the blindside that was the target for a confident finish past keeper Harvey Davies.

That wiped out 42 minutes of previous nothingness from City as an attacking unit - leaving Crewe boss Lee Bell utterly bemused at how his side trailed in behind from a half they had bossed.

Not that Lewis had been unduly busy in that period.

Chris Long, the late match-winner that Hughes “had never heard of” in their last encounter in May, and Rio Adebisi both had a pop.

Lewis also saved sharply from Connor O’Riordan’s header immediately after Walker had struck.

But otherwise, he was not really called upon until late in stoppage time when his concentration was rewarded with an alert dive to prevent Joel Tabiner snatching a point.

City’s defence, for all the recent criticism, stood firm when tested to record the first clean sheet since the home play-off semi-final against Carlisle.

It was also, significantly, the first shut-out for the new system and there seemed to be more understanding between the three centre halves this time and fewer worrying holes.

Lewis Richards also looked a natural wing-back on his home debut, offering legs and enthusiasm as a left-sided outlet going forward.

Still, the arrival of Smallwood for the cramped-up Ciaran Kelly necessitated a return to a back four and the 4-2-3-1 that served them for the bulk of last season.

City just seemed more settled in the old shape, begging the question as to whether Hughes will revert to the tried and tested formula more often.

The Bantams boss has stuck with the wing-back approach since the first friendly at Bury. But he repeated after the game that the formation is not set in stone.

“It’s not a system we’re going to be wedded to all year,” said Hughes. “We just wanted to see and we’ve got personnel that can play it.

“We’ll change when we feel it’s appropriate and do something else if we feel it’s going to help against certain opposition.”

Hughes had earlier tinkered to help City wrestle the ball off their possession-happy opponents, dropping Walker a bit deeper to play as another number 10 alongside Alex Pattison behind the two up front.

That certainly bolstered the midfield area, cutting down the space that Crewe had enjoyed in the middle of the park and his side were able to create more from it.

But Cook’s quest to break his duck goes on. That is now six opportunities to get off the mark for one of only four City ever-presents and it is becoming a concern.

Cook’s confidence is understandably dipping and he appears to have lost that edge. His movement and timing looks laboured as the weight of wanting to score gets heavier.

One goal will change all that.

There was one promising moment early in the second half when it seemed it would come good.

Exchanging quick passes with Pattison, Cook found his spot in the box to pull the trigger.

But O’Riordan, who had marshalled him effectively, popped up at just the right moment to smother the shot at source.