CITY had experienced an epiphany moment under Graham Alexander the last time they encountered Notts County.

Four down at half-time, the switch in tactics saw a different Bantams emerge that would go on to win the next six games.

But lightning rarely strikes twice.

Four months on and fresh from that horror show on Saturday, City fell to a third crushing home defeat in eight days to leave the Valley Parade mood as low as it has been at any point.

What a wretched run this has been since the false hope of Accrington.

Losing to a Notts County side who had previously won just once in 12 attempts in 2024 has slammed the lid on any play-off talk.

Now it is a salvage job to maintain some level of interest in an audience that continues to dwindle. That will be some challenge.

The script was all-too-familiar … an early goal and then another from a back-post header from a set-piece.

And then just one more kick when you’re already on the floor as Notts added a third in time added on – and those home fans who had stuck it out until the end let their team know exactly how they felt.

Right now, the season cannot end soon enough for City.

Graham Alexander had brought back Andy Cook and Brad Halliday after both had been surprisingly benched at the weekend.

The third change from Saturday saw Daniel Oyegoke come in as the third centre half for Jon Tomkinson, who is away with the US Olympic squad.

It was the Brentford man’s first league start since Mark Hughes’ final game in charge at Tranmere on October 3.

Calum Kavanagh was also missing on international duty with Republic of Ireland under-21s.

Tyreik Wright and Clarke Oduor dropped to the bench which also contained Matty Platt and Bobby Pointon.

Liam Ridehalgh was playing in the middle of the back three that morphed into a four when they didn’t have the ball.

But it was Notts County’s defence that nearly sprung an early leak trying to play out on the unpredictable surface.

Skipper Kyle Cameron’s stumble allowed Halliday to nick possession, Cook’s snap-shot was blocked and Alex Gilliead fired wide.

Richie Smallwood then forced keeper Luca Ashby-Hammond into a low save as City made a positive start.

But it was Notts County who then struck on 13 minutes from their first attack.

Jodi Jones took a pop from the left side of the box that deflected off Ridehalgh and into the path of Macaulay Langstaff to tap home his 25th goal of the season.

It was tough luck on the Bantams as they fell behind early for the third time in a row.

Character was again being tested and the wall had to stand firm to smother a Jodi Jones free-kick.

City looked to respond as Cook scuffed across goal from Smallwood’s through ball before flicking on Ciaran Kelly’s long pass for Tyler Smith to fire over.

Cook then dinked a lofted cross to the far post that was just beyond the stretching Jamie Walker.

While City went more direct, Notts were happy to persist with their passing approach and offered another warning just after the half hour, Aaron Nemane teeing up Lewis Macari, Lou’s grandson, for a curling shot that Sam Walker dived to his left to push away.

Jaden Warner’s nudge on Walker gave City a chance from a dangerous position outside the D. But Cook’s effort under the wall was tame and just about reached the keeper.

Sam Walker was called upon to save from Langstaff by his post before Lewis Richards blasted high into the empty Bradford end.

There were a few boos again when the half-time whistle blew but City’s performance had been okay, just lacking the poise of the visitors.

Notts looked to play on the counter-attack and Alassana Jatta nearly got through at the start of the second period.

And City’s first corner of the half saw the visitors break out through Dan Crowley. Nemane fed Langstaff and the striker was through on goal – but Walker pulled off an excellent save to keep him out.

Gilliead went down injured on halfway after pulling up as he tried to chase back for the counter-attack. He was replaced by Harry Chapman, who nearly made a sensational entrance.

Oyegoke burst down the right and Chapman met his cross with a diving header that hit the far post.

But having gone that close, City then fell further behind. Smallwood fouled Langstaff near the box and Jones’ free-kick was crashed home by Jatta.

Momentum had swung firmly back in Notts’ favour and Walker pulled off another crucial block to deny Sam Austin as the black-and-white shirts swarmed towards goal.

Walker was suddenly the busiest Bantam on the pitch, recovering from spilling Langstaff’s long-range drive to block Jatta’s follow-up.

But the agony wasn’t done as Jatta raced onto Ashby-Hammond's long clearance and blasted home a third goal in time added on.

Many in the stands had made an early exit by that point. Those who remained vented their anger as the campaign continues to collapse around them.