Bradford City secured promotion as they thrashed Northampton Town in the League Two play-off final.

James Hanson headed the Bantams ahead in their second Wembley appearance of the season and Rory McArdle nodded in Nathan Doyle's cross to make it 2-0.

The Bantams completed a dominant opening 30 minutes as Garry Thompson's second assist set up Nahki Wells to score his 26th goal of the season.

City held firm after the break to secure their place in League One.

Their victory and subsequent promotion back to the third tier of English football after a six-year absence will more than make up for the heartache of losing 5-0 Swansea in the League Cup final back in February.

And the crowd of 47,127 was the third-highest for a League Two final.

The match was Bradford's 64th of a season which saw them only just make the play-offs by finishing seventh, and there was a lot riding on the outcome for a club which was in the Premier League as recently as 2000-01 and eager to start climbing up the leagues once again.

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson

Bradford's promotion celebrations

However, their recent experience of playing at Wembley appeared to work in their favour as they looked sharper from the outset and far more comfortable on the grand stage against a Northampton side minus leading scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa, who was left on the bench by boss Aidy Boothroyd.

Wells had the Bantams' first attempt at goal, direct from a free-kick, but his shot flew over the bar.

Bradford's top scorer then headed over from a corner before Northampton's Ben Harding had to have his head bandaged as the Cobblers looked to attack at the other end.

City took the lead after Northampton failed to clear a loose ball and Thompson's chipped cross found the head of former supermarket worker Hanson, who nodded in his 15th goal on his 59th appearance of the season.

Phil Parkinson's side continued to press and within five minutes had doubled their lead when Doyle's cross to the near post found the head of McArdle and he diverted the ball into the bottom corner.

Wells then had a shot on the turn easily saved by Lee Nicholls before the Cobblers managed their first clear chance when Clive Platt headed Ben Tozer's long ball wide.

No joy for Cobblers

  • Northampton have failed to beat Bradford on five occasions this season.
  • The Bantams won twice in League Two, 1-0 both times.
  • The two sides also met in the FA Cup first round, drawing 1-1 and then 3-3 in the replay before Bradford won 4-2 on penalties.

But they were again found wanting at the back soon afterwards as Kyel Reid's cross from the edge of the area found Thompson, who headed down into the path of Wells and the striker was free to score.

With the Bantams continuing to bombard the Northampton defence, Reid then went close with a header that was expertly tipped over by Nicholls.

Town began to make some inroads towards half-time, but skipper Clarke Carlisle headed wide of Jon McLaughlin's goal and that was as close as they came to finding the net.

Northampton started the second half in more positive fashion, but they were fortunate not to fall further behind as Carlisle almost turned James Meredith's long throw into his own net.

Thompson then fired wide from the edge of the area before Akinfenwa, finally introduced in the 55th minute to try and rescue the game, had his first attempt of the afternoon.

The 17-goal powerhouse, who came on for fellow striker Platt, found space to turn in a crowded penalty box, only to fire his shot past the upright.

Reid then had a good chance to widen Bradford's margin of victory when he fired wide, before superb link-up play with Meredith gave Wells a shot at goal that was well saved by Nicholls.

Akinfenwa jumped clear of the Bradford defenders late on, but his header was wayward as the City fans took to their feet to begin the promotion celebrations.

It meant boyhood Bradford fan Boothroyd's Northampton side would have to settle for a fifth season in League Two since being relegated in 2009.

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Saturday, 18 May 2013

League Two

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Bradford 3-0 Northampton FT
(HT 3-0)Bradford are promoted
  • Hanson 15
  • McArdle 19
  • Wells 28

    Bradford

    • 01 McLaughlin
    • 02 Darby
    • 03 Meredith
    • 05 Davies
    • 23 McArdle
    • 07 Reid (Atkinson 78)
    • 11 Thompson
    • 18 Jones
    • 24 Doyle yellow card (Ravenhill 87)
    • 09 Hanson yellow card
    • 21 Wells (Connell 85)

    Substitutes

    • 12 Duke,
    • 16 McHugh,
    • 22 Nelson,
    • 04 Ravenhill,
    • 14 Atkinson,
    • 17 Connell,
    • 20 Hines

    Northampton

    • 21 Nicholls
    • 06 Collins (Widdowson 53)
    • 12 Tozer
    • 15 Cameron
    • 30 Carlisle yellow card
    • 04 Guttridge
    • 07 Demontagnac (Hornby 70)
    • 08 Harding
    • 11 Hackett
    • 09 Platt yellow card (Akinfenwa 55)
    • 28 O'Donovan yellow card

    Substitutes

    • 13 Snedker,
    • 02 Johnson,
    • 03 Widdowson,
    • 05 Langmead,
    • 22 Hornby,
    • 10 Akinfenwa,
    • 17 Robinson
    Ref: StroudAtt: 47,127
    BRADFORD
    NORTHAMPTON

    Possession

    • Bradford 55%
    • Northampton 45%

    Attempts on target

    • Bradford 11
    • Northampton 3

    Attempts off target

    • Bradford 4
    • Northampton 10

    Corners

    • Bradford 8
    • Northampton 3

    Fouls

    • Bradford 13
    • Northampton 16
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:34 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
    • 90:00+3:12 Unfair challenge on Chris Hackett by Ricky Ravenhill results in a free kick. Ben Harding delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Jon McLaughlin makes a comfortable save.
    • 90:00+1:57 Joe Widdowson delivers the ball.
    • 89:43 Garry Thompson takes a short corner.
    • 88:53 Unfair challenge on Andrew Davies by Adebayo Akinfenwa results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jon McLaughlin.
    • 88:04 Direct free kick taken by Lee Nicholls.
    • 88:04 Booking Booking for James Hanson for unsporting behaviour.
    • 87:49 Free kick awarded for a foul by James Hanson on Nathan Cameron.
    • 87:15 Headed effort from inside the area by Roy O'Donovan misses to the right of the target.
    • 86:31 Substitution Ricky Ravenhill on for Nathan Doyle.
    • 85:46 The ball is sent over by Joe Widdowson, clearance made by Gary Jones. Ben Harding takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by James Meredith.
    • 85:15 Foul by James Hanson on Nathan Cameron, free kick awarded. Lee Nicholls restarts play with the free kick.
    • 84:00 Chris Hackett delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing.
    • 84:00 Substitution Alan Connell is brought on as a substitute for Nahki Wells.
    • 84:00 Booking Nathan Doyle receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • 83:34 Nathan Doyle gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joe Widdowson.
    • 82:42 The ball is sent over by Ben Tozer, Andrew Davies manages to make a clearance.
    • 81:44 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Garry Thompson from the left by-line to the near post, Adebayo Akinfenwa makes a clearance.
    • 81:06 Foul by Luke Guttridge on James Meredith, free kick awarded. James Meredith restarts play with the free kick.
    • 79:34 Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Adebayo Akinfenwa misses to the left of the goal.
    • 76:52 Substitution Will Atkinson replaces Kyel Reid.
    • 76:52 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joe Widdowson by Garry Thompson. Free kick taken by Ben Harding. Shot from just outside the box by Ben Harding goes over the target.
    • 73:48 Nathan Doyle fouled by Adebayo Akinfenwa, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Stephen Darby.
    • 71:33 Luke Guttridge takes a shot. Save by Jon McLaughlin. Luke Guttridge sends in a cross, save made by Jon McLaughlin.
    • 70:54 Handball by Nahki Wells. Lee Nicholls takes the direct free kick.
    • 69:14 Substitution Ishmel Demontagnac goes off and Lewis Hornby comes on.
    • 68:34 A cross is delivered by Chris Hackett, Ishmel Demontagnac concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephen Darby. Direct free kick taken by Jon McLaughlin.
    • 67:52 Chris Hackett delivers the ball, Rory McArdle manages to make a clearance.
    • 67:19 Ishmel Demontagnac delivers the ball.
    • 66:48 Effort from 12 yards by Nahki Wells. Save made by Lee Nicholls.
    • 66:13 Kyel Reid restarts play with the free kick.
    • 66:13 Booking Clarke Carlisle is booked.
    • 66:01 Clarke Carlisle challenges Kyel Reid unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 65:30 Effort from 20 yards by Luke Guttridge. Blocked by Gary Jones.
    • 64:56 Ishmel Demontagnac has an effort at goal and missed to the left of the target.
    • 64:13 Gary Jones concedes a free kick for a foul on Luke Guttridge. Free kick taken by Ben Tozer.
    • 63:48 Adebayo Akinfenwa challenges Rory McArdle unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jon McLaughlin restarts play with the free kick. Nahki Wells is ruled offside. Nathan Cameron takes the indirect free kick.
    • 62:57 Kyel Reid produces a volleyed left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 61:01 Garry Thompson has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Roy O'Donovan by Andrew Davies. Free kick taken by Chris Hackett. Shot from 20 yards by Ben Harding. Effort from the edge of the box by Adebayo Akinfenwa goes wide of the right-hand upright.
    • 60:16 James Meredith challenges Chris Hackett unfairly and gives away a free kick. Luke Guttridge takes the free kick.
    • 54:24 Jon McLaughlin takes the indirect free kick.
    • 54:24 Substitution (Northampton) makes a substitution, with Adebayo Akinfenwa coming on for Clive Platt.
    • 54:24 The assistant referee flags for offside against Clive Platt.
    • 53:42 Kyel Reid sends in a cross, save by Lee Nicholls.
    • 52:56 Foul by Nathan Doyle on Ben Harding, free kick awarded. Ben Tozer takes the direct free kick.
    • 52:18 Substitution (Northampton) makes a substitution, with Joe Widdowson coming on for Lee Collins.
    • 51:10 James Hanson takes a shot. Brilliant save by Lee Nicholls. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Kyel Reid from the right by-line, comfortable save by Lee Nicholls.
    • 47:14 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nahki Wells by Clarke Carlisle. Free kick crossed by Gary Jones, save by Lee Nicholls.
    • 46:11 The ball is sent over by Ben Tozer, Header by Clive Platt from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
    • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+4:50 The half-time whistle blows.
    • 45:00+4:26 Header by Clarke Carlisle from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
    • 45:00+3:29 Ben Tozer fouled by James Hanson, the ref awards a free kick. Ben Tozer restarts play with the free kick.
    • 45:00+2:16 Shot by Nahki Wells. Nathan Cameron gets a block in.
    • 45:00+1:42 Luke Guttridge takes a shot. Nathan Doyle gets a block in.
    • 43:34 The ball is sent over by Roy O'Donovan, save by Jon McLaughlin.
    • 42:57 Chris Hackett sends in a cross, clearance made by Rory McArdle.
    • 42:07 Chris Hackett produces a cross, Header by Roy O'Donovan from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
    • 38:57 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Jones by Ishmel Demontagnac. Rory McArdle restarts play with the free kick. The referee blows for offside against James Hanson. Lee Nicholls takes the free kick.
    • 36:38 Corner taken by Ben Harding from the right by-line, Jon McLaughlin makes a save.
    • 35:52 Rory McArdle challenges Clive Platt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Chris Hackett, Andrew Davies manages to make a clearance.
    • 33:56 The ball is crossed by Stephen Darby, clearance made by Ben Harding.
    • 32:51 Nahki Wells takes a shot. Lee Nicholls makes a comfortable save. The ball is crossed by Roy O'Donovan.
    • 31:24 Kyel Reid takes a shot. Brilliant save by Lee Nicholls. Kyel Reid takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Clive Platt.
    • 29:50 Gary Jones crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, save by Lee Nicholls.
    • 29:50 Booking Roy O'Donovan goes into the book.
    • 29:21 Roy O'Donovan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kyel Reid.
    • 27:23 Assist on the goal came from Garry Thompson.
    • 27:23 GOAL - Nahki WellsBradford 3 - 0 Northampton Goal scored by Nahki Wells from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Bradford 3-0 Northampton.
    • 26:39 Volleyed right-footed shot by Nahki Wells. Save by Lee Nicholls. Gary Jones decides to take the corner short. Gary Jones crosses the ball, Clarke Carlisle manages to make a clearance.
    • 25:21 The ball is sent over by Roy O'Donovan, Clive Platt has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
    • 24:27 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jon McLaughlin by Roy O'Donovan. Jon McLaughlin takes the free kick.
    • 23:22 Kyel Reid produces a cross, Clarke Carlisle makes a clearance. Nahki Wells takes a shot. Lee Nicholls makes a comfortable save.
    • 22:55 The ball is swung over by Nahki Wells, blocked by Lee Collins.
    • 22:10 Inswinging corner taken by Ben Harding from the right by-line, James Hanson manages to make a clearance.
    • 20:13 Jon McLaughlin takes the direct free kick. James Hanson challenges Nathan Cameron unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Lee Nicholls.
    • 20:13 Booking Clive Platt goes into the book.
    • 20:08 Clive Platt gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Davies.
    • 18:41 Assist by Nathan Doyle.
    • 18:41 GOAL - Rory McArdleBradford 2 - 0 Northampton Rory McArdle finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Bradford 2-0 Northampton.
    • 18:33 A cross is delivered by Kyel Reid.
    • 18:00 Centre by Garry Thompson. Short corner taken by Gary Jones.
    • 17:28 Foul by Clarke Carlisle on Nahki Wells, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Nathan Doyle.
    • 16:51 The ball is swung over by Ishmel Demontagnac, James Meredith makes a clearance.
    • 14:34 Assist by Garry Thompson.
    • 14:34 GOAL - James HansonBradford 1 - 0 Northampton James Hanson finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Bradford 1-0 Northampton.
    • 13:21 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Kyel Reid from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Clive Platt.
    • 12:42 Foul by Clive Platt on Nathan Doyle, free kick awarded. Jon McLaughlin takes the direct free kick.
    • 11:38 Nahki Wells concedes a free kick for a foul on Nathan Cameron. Lee Nicholls takes the direct free kick.
    • 9:47 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrew Davies by Roy O'Donovan. Free kick taken by Jon McLaughlin.
    • 9:03 Centre by Garry Thompson.
    • 7:38 Lee Collins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Garry Thompson. A cross is delivered by Kyel Reid, Nathan Doyle takes a shot. Nathan Cameron gets a block in.
    • 3:53 The ball is delivered by Gary Jones, Header from close range by Nathan Doyle clears the bar.
    • 3:21 Short corner worked by Kyel Reid.
    • 1:30 James Hanson fouled by Nathan Cameron, the ref awards a free kick. Nathan Doyle has an effort direct from the free kick.
    • 0:00 The referee gets the match started.

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