THREE wins in a row, three more goals – and an unwanted hat-trick emphatically swerved.

It made for a good night’s work all round in Gloucestershire for the bouncing Bantams.

After defeats at Sutton and Tranmere under their belts, nobody was taking another trip to a relegation struggler for granted.

But from the moment Matty Platt buried City’s opening corner, there was never a sense of another banana-skin encounter with an opponent at the wrong end of the table.

Instead, Graham Alexander’s side can continue looking upwards as they head into the free weekend in a much healthier state.

Alexander had rewarded Saturday’s performance against Accrington by sticking with the same side and subs. Again, there was no room for Bobby Pointon, although he did travel with the squad, or Adam Wilson.

Just over 250 City fans had made the midweek trek and the sparse crowd could not have felt more different to Valley Parade. It was an evening when mentality needed to be spot on with such a muted atmosphere.

And the Bantams quickly made their mark by taking the lead from the opening corner on nine minutes.

Jamie Walker, who had won it in the first place, crossed deep and Ash Taylor had all the space in the world to head back across the six-yard box. There was Platt rising to nod his second goal in the three games.

And Platt could – and should – have doubled his tally six minutes later.

Forest Green’s edginess was clear as they coughed up a cheap throw which City turned into a corner. Lewis Richards took it short to Walker, who stood up the cross for Platt again.

But this time the number five could not get the right contact and the header squirted past the post.

City, though, did not have to wait long to strike again.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ash Taylor was sent off at the end of a solid display Ash Taylor was sent off at the end of a solid display (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Andy Cook’s press caused panic in the home defence and the striker was bundled to the ground in the box by Jordan Moore-Taylor. Cook completed the job by sending James Belshaw the wrong way from the spot.

City were firmly in control and went close again before the half-hour mark. Richards’ long ball was well brought down by Cook and Tyler Smith’s flick with the outside of the boot just cleared the bar.

The visitors were getting forward at every opportunity, Platt summing up the mood as he won the ball from Teddy Jenks over halfway and fed Smith, whose drilled cross was just beyond Cook.

The gallows humour in the home crowd was getting louder – boos following a spell of frantic pressure when the ball ran harmlessly out of play.

Forest Green were enjoying more possession as half-time approached without troubling Harry Lewis. The pass, pass, pass philosophy was not going down well with the locals.

They did finally have a sniff a couple of minutes before the break after a loose pass from Jamie Walker. Jamie Robson teed up Tyrese Omotoye on the edge of the box but his finish sailed over.

Forest Green made a double change at the break with the towering Ryan Inniss brought on to contain Cook.

And the hosts were inches away from getting back into the contest six minutes into the half.

Richie Smallwood stretched to make a back pass from a tight angle but Omotoye got there ahead of Lewis, only to send his shot agonisingly past the far post of the unguarded goal.

A response then would have set up a potentially sticky second half. But having ridden their luck, City looked to respond as Cook clipped a ball onto the top of the net from Walker’s cross.

Lewis was called into action to turn behind Kyle McAllister’s deflected shot as Forest Green tried to have more of a go.

The ever-green Troy Deeney had to be watched but it was frantic stuff with little end product.

Alex Gilliead had another strong game in City’s engine room and got forward from Walker pass to warm Belshaw’s hands with a stinging blast.

Emmanuel Osadebe replaced Smith for the final 20 minutes and was straight into the action as Cook looked to play him through.

Cook had been engaged in a real arm-wrestle with Inniss but escaped his clutches to play a one-two with Walker before the Scot hurried his shot in the box.

Forest Green then came closest yet to halving the deficit when sub Callum Jones rattled the City bar from 25 yards.

Cook had put a real shift in but made way before the end for Clarke Oduor, Osadebe stepping up into striking duties in the closing moments.

Oduor and Osadebe were both involved as Walker snuffed out any lingering home of a fightback with a late third.

Oduor was denied by Belshaw from Osadebe’s cross but the ball broke for Walker to force in from close range.

There was a little bit of afters between Walker and defender Dom Bernard during City’s goal celebrations.

But there was a sour note to finish for City when Ash Taylor was sent off for a professional foul after dragging back Olly Sully.