MATCH REPORT: Bradford City 1, Peterborough United 0: Scrappy goal is enough to seal a defeat for toothless Posh

Marcus Maddison of Peterborough United takes on Nat Knight-Percival of Bradford City. Picture: Joe Dent
Marcus Maddison of Peterborough United takes on Nat Knight-Percival of Bradford City. Picture: Joe Dent

Peterborough United stumbled to a second 1-0 away defeat of the week as Bradford City claimed a victory that cemented their own place in the League One play-offs today (March 4).

A scrambled goal midway through the first-half - one that was eventually credited to Alex Jones - delivered the win the home side deserved.

Paul Taylor of Peterborough United gets away from Anthony McMahon of Bradford City. Picture: Joe Dent

Paul Taylor of Peterborough United gets away from Anthony McMahon of Bradford City. Picture: Joe Dent

Posh played as equals in the first-half, but struggled to get any momentum going after the break.

Manager Grant McCann recalled Craig Mackail-Smith and captain Chris Forrester to his starting line-up, but Posh once more found goalscoring opportunities hard to come by.

Both sides started with a 4-4-2 line-up - width was likely to be important on a dog’s dinner of a playing surface - but hopes of an all-out attacking thriller were soon dashed. The conditions would have tested the techniques of better players than those on show here.

Paul Taylor’s control and trickery were far superior to anyone else on show, but, and this is not the first time this sentence has been written this season, his bursts past defenders were ruined by an inability to pass accurately.

It was another frustrating day for Posh striker Craig Mackail-Smith. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

It was another frustrating day for Posh striker Craig Mackail-Smith. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh started okay, but once a couple of set-pieces were seen off, their threat lessened. They also finished the half on top, but failed to test home ‘keeper Colin Doyle.

Bradford enjoyed a 10-minute spell of first-half dominance, but they managed a goal, scored, one thinks, by Jones on 24 minutes.

Anthony Grant’s fine block of a shot on the edge of his own area was followed by Andrew Hughes winning possession, but over-running the ball, enabling one pass to free Mark Marshall.

His shot took a wicked bobble before Luke McGee saved it, the ball bouncing onto a post where Jones appeared to have bundled it over the line before Charlie Wyke arrived to make sure.

Home centre-back Rory McArdle had headed a corner just wide in the moments before the goal.

Chasing the game on such a difficult surface was always going to be tough, but Posh had their chance to level early on when a defensive slip was pounced upon by Mackail-Smith.

He did his bit by finding Nichols, but a hurried shot lacked the power or the accuracy to beat the one defender between the striker and the goal.

And that was as good as it got for Posh in a second-half the home side controlled.

City almost claimed a second goal when Grant and McGee got into a tangle and when Tony McMahon fired over from 12 yards and when substitute Timothee Dieng wasted a clearcut opportunity when racing through in the final stages.

A brave Bostwick header following a corner which looped over the bar was all Posh could muster in response until a frantic finale when Marcus Maddison’s pull-back was cleared just before Bostwick could get there.

Posh: Luke McGee, Michael Smith, Andrew Hughes, Ryan Tafazolli, Michael Bostwick, Anthony Grant (sub Brad Inman, 69 mins), Chris Forrester, Paul Taylor (sub Junior Morias, 76 mins, Marcus Maddison, Craig Mackail-Smith, Tom Nichols (sub Martin Samuelsen, 74 mins), Unused substitutes: Leo Da Silva Lopes, Mark Tyler, Jerome Binnom-Williams, Harry Anderson.

Bradford City: Colin Doyle, Tony McMahon, James Meredith, Rory McArdle, Nat Knight-Percival, Romain Vincelot, Josh Cullen, Alex Gilliead, Mark Marshall (sub Timothee Dieng, 80 mins), Charlie Wyke, Alex Jones (sub Jordy Hiwula, 63 mins). Unused substitutes: Rouven Sattelmaier, Kevin Toner, Timothee Dieng, Billy Clarke, Matthew Penney, Daniel Devine.

Goal: Bradford - Jones (24 mins).

Cautions: Posh - Nichols (deliberate handball), Hughes (foul), Grant (foul). Bostwick (foul), Samuelsen (foul).

Bradford - Knight-Percival (foul).

Referee: Brett Huxtable 7

Attendance: 17.220 (430 Posh).