THIS wasn’t in the script.

City have forgotten what it’s like to get beaten, especially in the first game of the new year. That had not happened since 2016.

But a Crewe side without a win in their previous seven did the job from their only shot on target.

It was a frustratingly fruitless trip for the Bantams, who felt they had grabbed a late point with an Andy Cook header that the officials decided had not crossed the line.

There was plenty of effort but a lack of quality when it mattered – and a lack of concentration in the moment that ultimately decided it and sent the eight-match unbeaten run packing.

Graham Alexander had kept with the same side – and subs – from the Stockport stalemate on Friday.

Lewis Richards and Jamie Walker remained out of contention while Alex Pattison faces another frustrating stint on the sidelines.

The bulk of the starting line-up had a score to settle after that injury-time loss on the last visit in May which killed off any lingering automatic promotion hopes.

But after an even start, there was a depressingly familiar feel as Crewe took a 13th-minute lead from the penalty spot.

It was Chris Long who had scored their late, late spot-kick winner on City’s last visit before angering Mark Hughes with his excessive celebrations after the final whistle.

And Long once again punished the Bantams from 12 yards after his run behind the defence ended with a clip from Jon Tomkinson.

He sent Harry Lewis the wrong way with the penalty to leave City trailing early for the third time in the four holiday matches.

Alexander’s men had responded on both previous occasions against Doncaster and Morecambe and looked to clear their heads quickly, forcing a couple of corners before Alex Gilliead drew a low save from Tom Booth.

Clarke Oduor had the home keeper stretching to tip away one in-swinging corner and Richie Smallwood tested the Crewe rearguard with another.

Oduor then fashioned a decent chance for the Bantams but the stretching Tyler Smith could not divert his drilled cross into the far corner.

Cook spooned a half-chance over the bar from another City corner and Booth spilled an Oduor shot but Crewe were able to tidy up before a white shirt could pounce on the rebound.

City had to be watchful of Crewe’s threat to get in behind – as had happened with the penalty – but Platt stood strong to prevent Shilow Tracey wriggling clear.

Harry Lewis tipped away a home corner as half-time approached and then beat away Luke Offord’s low drive at the near post.

City finished the half in Crewe territory, where they had played most of it, winning a seventh corner but still missing that cutting edge to get back into the contest.

They had dominated all the stats at the break except the one that mattered.

The second period began in similar fashion but there were always plenty of red shirts back to mop up any ball into the box.

Alexander made his first change on the hour as Smith made way for Matt Derbyshire’s first appearance since a late run-out against Barrow nearly two months earlier.

Smith had looked as if the exertions of the hectic schedule had caught up with him. Jake Young’s imminent return could raise an interesting selection call for next weekend.

Cook did have the ball in the net from a header on 68 minutes but the City cheers were instantly stifled by the sight of the assistant’s raised flag for offside.

Neither keeper had been troubled as City made another double swap with 15 minutes left. On came Bobby Pointon for his first league action in over five weeks and Vadaine Oliver.

Crewe did at last fashion something as substitute Elliot Nevitt worked room from Tracey’s cross but skied his effort into the stand.

Oliver then timed his leap to meet Tomkinson’s angled ball but the header flew comfortably wide.

But there remained little punch to City’s play. Cook was muscled to the ground on several occasions, centre halves Lewis Billington and Mickey Demetriou both going into the book for dragging him back, while Smallwood had his pocket picked after Derbyshire led a promising break.

City thought they had salvaged it as the game headed into added time.

Cook met Pointon’s cross with a firm header that smacked the underside of the bar and bounced down – the striker claiming it was over the line.

But referee Peter Wright waved away the protests and Alexander was yellow-carded for voicing his frustration at the fourth official.

Nothing was going City’s way – and Booth denied them a last-gasp leveller when he made a superb sprawling stop to claw away another Cook header.