KEVIN McDonald completed a perfect first week as City’s stand-in boss with a second consecutive win.

The Football League Trophy may not have a sponsor these days but the Scot continues to make a name for himself in the hot-seat.

But it was not without drama as match-winner Emmanuel Osadebe was sent off in a late skirmish.

Winning is a habit and another success for a much-changed Bantams outfit on the east coast helps to build the feel-good factor.

McDonald played most of it - his self-inclusion was one of nine changes from the side that gave it everything for him at the weekend.

Only Richie Smallwood and Bobby Pointon remained – with the likes of Harry Lewis, Andy Cook, Jamie Walker, Sam Stubbs and Liam Ridehalgh given the night off completely.

The absence of Lewis for the first game since he signed meant a rare outing for Colin Doyle.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Colin Doyle heads out for his first City game since 2018Colin Doyle heads out for his first City game since 2018 (Image: Thomas Gadd)

The big Irishman last played in May 2021 for Kilmarnock in a play-off against Dundee – his previous City appearance was just down the road at Scunthorpe in 2018 … a gap of 1,984 days between games.

With McDonald in the thick of it, Mark Trueman was on touchline duty.

It revived memories of the closed-doors campaign when Lee Novak scored that overhead stunner in an away win in his own interim reign just before Christmas that went a long way towards eventually landing the job full-time.

Daniel Oyegoke had looked sharp when he came on against Swindon and, starting on his natural right side, he created a big chance straight away.

Oyegoke got to the byline and cut back for Osadebe, who put a first-time effort wide of the far post. He should have hit the target.

There can’t have been too many occasions when a team’s captain and (caretaker) manager had played alongside each other in midfield.

Smallwood started where he left off at the weekend with a couple of pinpoint passes to pick out Tyler Smith and Lewis Richards on the attack.

The game came to life with two goals in two minutes.

City struck first after their opening corner was cleared as far as McDonald. The stand-in boss lofted an angled ball back into the box where Ash Taylor nodded down for fellow centre half Ciaran Kelly to stab home from close range.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ciaran Kelly jabs home City's opening goalCiaran Kelly jabs home City's opening goal (Image: Thomas Gadd.)

But Grimsby hit back straight away as Arthur Gnahoua collected Harvey Rodgers’ deep pass and crossed for Rekeil Pyke to chest into the net.

City suffered an injury blow on 27 minutes after Oyegoke went down in the centre circle and had to be replaced by Brad Halliday.

Smallwood produced another glorious ball to send Smith scampering away but the striker drilled an angled shot into the side-netting.

Doyle was called upon just before half-time to deny Pyke a second, palming the shot away after Gavan Holohan’s pass had separated the defence.

Pointon was here, there and everywhere once again and tested Harvey Cartwright with a low drive to open the second half.

And he then had a hand in the second goal on 48 minutes – a superb solo finish from Osadebe.

Osadebe picked up the ball on the touchline and danced his way across the edge of the box, exchanging passes with Pointon while evading a couple of half-hearted challenges before angling a shot back across the keeper into the bottom corner.

It was an impressive way to break his Bantams duck – and he celebrated enthusiastically in front of the band of travelling fans.

Chishom Afoka set up Smith as City hunted a third but Cartwright saved again.

It was open stuff with the Bantams clearly enjoying themselves as they looked to get forward.

McDonald got a booking for a foul on Arthur Gnahoua to prevent a home break before forcing the Grimsby keeper into more action from 25 yards.

Alex Gilliead’s breather on the bench ended on 73 minutes when he came on for Richards, who had made a solid return from his recent injury. Gilliead took over his slot at left back.

McDonald ended his night eight minutes later in a triple sub that also saw a senior debut for Freddy Jeffreys.

But the game finished in mayhem after Rodgers went in late on Afoka near the corner flag.

It was a nasty lunge from behind and sub Adam Wilson shoved the Grimsby man away before Osadebe waded in.

He wrestled with Rodgers as players from both sides converged in front of the away end. Referee Paul Howard booked Rodgers when the melee died down but then red-carded City’s goal scorer.