HARRY Chapman’s first goal of the season was well worth the wait – and could be worth its weight in gold for City.

Chapman’s fabulous free-kick saw off Doncaster at Valley Parade and fired Graham Alexander’s men into the semi-finals of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy for the first time in club history.

Victory banked the Bantams another £50,000, taking their prize pot in the “ugly duckling” competition up to £140,000, and within touching distance of a potential trip to Wembley in April.

The season still has a purpose after the driest of Januarys in League Two.

Given their league woes, this was almost a desperation derby between two teams trying to keep their campaigns relevant.

City’s day had begun with a completely unsubstantiated claim on social media that Alexander’s position was already under threat – something that was immediately rubbished at every level.

The non-story was taken down and a public apology issued by the authors. But the fact that some in the fanbase had been taken in by it illustrated the brittle mood currently around the club.

Alexander was not on the touchline but that was down to the third yellow card he picked up at the weekend. That consigned him to a watching brief from the press box.

He made seven changes from City’s woeful weekend showing – including handing a first start to Jake Young. Chapman joined him in the front three alongside Andy Cook.

Kevin McDonald replaced the suspended Richie Smallwood with Alex Gilliead taking the captain’s armband.

Ciaran Kelly was the only member of Saturday’s back three to keep his place – with Colin Doyle once more assuming goalkeeping duties for his fifth Trophy outing.

Cook’s volley was held by Louis Jones in the first minute before Doncaster twice threatened from Luke Molyneux corners, Joe Ironside lunging wide and James Maxwell’s close-range jab held by Doyle.

There was a decent atmosphere generated by both sets of fans underlining the higher stakes at this stage of the competition.

Young, waiting for lift-off in a City shirt, met Chapman’s pull back with a crisp first-time effort but it was straight at Jones.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jake Young started his first game back at Valley ParadeJake Young started his first game back at Valley Parade (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Young had done okay amid the mire at the County Ground and looked lively again as he burst into the box but was unable to keep his cross in play.

He had three bites at the cherry in a City flurry but all were blocked.

McDonald was using the ball well and his diagonal pass picked out Brad Halliday lurking at the far post. But the right back was denied his third goal since Christmas as Jones beat his close-range shot away.

It was the best opportunity in a competitive and even opening half hour.

But Doncaster carried a threat from their right-wing corners. Richard Wood’s header from Ben Close’s kick was blocked but the loose ball fell for Jon Taylor who whipped a low cross-shot through the six-yard box and just past the post.

Taylor had come on for the limping Molyneux and the visitors were forced into a second injury-enforced change right on the break when Conor Carty had to be carried down the touchline after a heavy challenge.

Doncaster had not done much to worry City from open play but Ben Close nearly changed that at the start of the second half with a 25-yard blast that the diving Doyle turned away.

City had a chance of their own at the other end as Halliday’s cross flew through to Lewis Richards who took a touch to steady himself before firing towards the near post where Jones bundled it behind.

As the Bantams looked to up the tempo, Cook thrashed a shot high into the Kop and then headed wide from Richards’ cross.

The breakthrough came just before the hour after Gilliead was pulled back by Jay McGrath. Chapman stepped out outside the Doncaster D to bend the free-kick over the wall and beyond Jones into the bottom corner of the net.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Andy Cook was sent off in the closing minutes for two yellow cardsAndy Cook was sent off in the closing minutes for two yellow cards (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Joe Ironside glanced a header over but City had the bit between their teeth as Chapman made way to a deserved standing ovation at the three-quarter point of the contest.

Time was ticking away for the visitors as Wood glanced a header wide from another corner. Then Halliday did enough with a sliding block to deny Jack Senior bearing down on goal.

But City had to see off the closing moments down to 10 men after Cook was sent off for two daft challenges in the matter of minutes.

McDonald sent Gilliead scurrying away with another raking pass. His low cross came to Jon Tomkinson but the American could not get enough power on the shot to register his first goal.

Doncaster had midfielder Close stretchered off after a challenge with Gilliead as the game extended into seven added minutes before the final whistle confirmed City’s progress.