League One - 1st Leg
Bradford1Fleetwood0

Bradford City 1-0 Fleetwood Town

Rory McArdle scores
Rory McArdle's only other goal this season came in a win at Oldham in January

Bradford City will take a narrow lead into the second leg of their League One play-off semi-final against Fleetwood thanks to Rory McArdle's header.

The defender powered home a Tony McMahon corner with 13 minutes to go to give the home side a vital goal.

Bradford went closest to scoring in the first half when Billy Clarke's low half-volley hit the foot of the post.

Uwe Rosler's Fleetwood side will need to improve in Sunday's return leg if they are to reach Wembley.

McArdle's header gave Stuart McCall's men, who went the whole regular season unbeaten at home, a win they richly deserved in a game they dominated throughout.

Bradford were able to make 10 changes to the team who had drawn 1-1 at Rochdale on Sunday and their added freshness certainly contributed to the win.

Bantams forward Charlie Wyke miscued from 10 yards after a sliced clearance dropped to him, Nicky Law tested visiting keeper Alex Cairns with a long-range effort and Clarke hit the post in a first half where the hosts had 72% possession.

In contrast the visitors struggled to create anything but were nearly gifted the lead when home keeper Colin Doyle mis-kicked to David Ball who chipped the ball over Doyle and the crossbar from 20 yards out.

Home midfielder Josh Cullen drew a fine save from Cairns with a 25-yard free-kick after the interval before home skipper Romain Vincelot hammered a clear chance over from 12 yards.

Just when home fans were starting to voice their growing frustrations McArdle thumped a header past Cairns to give Bradford what could prove to be a vital advantage.

Post-match reaction

Bradford City boss Stuart McCall: "First and foremost I'm pleased with the performance and the intensity but it was at the back of my mind that they still had a chance before we scored.

"To get the goal when we did, I'm delighted but it's only half-time.

"We wanted to play with a high tempo but it wasn't just battling and desire, there was a lot of quality in there and that was pleasing.

"We won't just go there to sit and try to defend. The best form of defence is attack and that's what we'll look to do on Sunday."

Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler: "You could see that they played with tremendous tempo and intensity in the first half but our keeper didn't have to make a save in the first half.

"There was nothing in the game in the second half so it was disappointing to concede from a set piece.

"It's set up 60-40 for the second leg, I'm very happy with our performance tonight."

Line-ups

Bradford

  • 1Doyle
  • 29McMahon
  • 23McArdle
  • 22Knight-Percival
  • 3Meredith
  • 7Marshall
  • 6Vincelot
  • 14Cullen
  • 4LawSubstituted forDiengat 88'minutes
  • 10B ClarkeSubstituted forHiwula-Mayifuilaat 69'minutes
  • 9Wyke

Substitutes

  • 2Darby
  • 8Dieng
  • 11Hiwula-Mayifuila
  • 12Sattelmaier
  • 17Penney
  • 18Gilliead
  • 26Kilgallon

Fleetwood

  • 21Cairns
  • 5Eastham
  • 6Pond
  • 37Davies
  • 2McLaughlin
  • 34Dempsey
  • 38SchwablBooked at 23minsSubstituted forGlendonat 45'minutes
  • 11Grant
  • 3Bell
  • 10BallSubstituted forBurnsat 81'minutes
  • 44ColeSubstituted forHunterat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Neal
  • 4Brannagan
  • 9Burns
  • 14Davis
  • 15Nirennold
  • 18Glendon
  • 22Hunter
Referee:
Oliver Langford
Attendance:
15,696

Match Stats

Home TeamBradfordAway TeamFleetwood
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home25
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away0
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home9
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Bradford City 1, Fleetwood Town 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Bradford City 1, Fleetwood Town 0.

Nathaniel Knight-Percival (Bradford City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ashley Hunter (Fleetwood Town).

Attempt missed. Nathaniel Knight-Percival (Bradford City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Timothee Dieng with a headed pass following a corner.

Corner, Bradford City. Conceded by Conor McLaughlin.

Substitution

Substitution, Bradford City. Timothee Dieng replaces Nicky Law.

Attempt missed. James Meredith (Bradford City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Tony McMahon with a cross.

Attempt missed. Nicky Law (Bradford City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila.

Offside, Fleetwood Town. Alex Cairns tries a through ball, but Ashley Hunter is caught offside.

Foul by Nicky Law (Bradford City).

Bobby Grant (Fleetwood Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Charlie Wyke (Bradford City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila.

Substitution

Substitution, Fleetwood Town. Wes Burns replaces David Ball.

Attempt saved. Mark Marshall (Bradford City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Nicky Law.

Goal!

Goal! Bradford City 1, Fleetwood Town 0. Rory McArdle (Bradford City) header from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Tony McMahon with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Bradford City. Conceded by Nathan Pond.

Foul by Charlie Wyke (Bradford City).

Ben Davies (Fleetwood Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Ashley Hunter (Fleetwood Town) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Charlie Wyke (Bradford City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila.

Attempt missed. Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila (Bradford City) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by James Meredith with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Josh Cullen (Bradford City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nicky Law.

Mark Marshall (Bradford City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Amari'i Bell (Fleetwood Town).

Substitution

Substitution, Bradford City. Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila replaces Billy Clarke.

Attempt missed. Ashley Hunter (Fleetwood Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Amari'i Bell with a cross.

Hand ball by David Ball (Fleetwood Town).

Substitution

Substitution, Fleetwood Town. Ashley Hunter replaces Devante Cole.

Attempt missed. James Meredith (Bradford City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Charlie Wyke.

Attempt blocked. Tony McMahon (Bradford City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nicky Law.

Tony McMahon (Bradford City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Devante Cole (Fleetwood Town).

Foul by Nathaniel Knight-Percival (Bradford City).

Devante Cole (Fleetwood Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Fleetwood Town. Conceded by Tony McMahon.

Attempt saved. Romain Vincelot (Bradford City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Tony McMahon with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Devante Cole (Fleetwood Town) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Amari'i Bell.

Attempt missed. Romain Vincelot (Bradford City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Bradford City. Conceded by Ben Davies.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sheff Utd4630106924745100
2Bolton4625111068363286
3Scunthorpe4624101280542682
4Fleetwood4623131064432182
5Bradford462019762431979
6Millwall462013136657973
7Southend4620121470531772
8Oxford Utd462091765521369
9Rochdale461912157162969
10Bristol Rovers461812166870-266
11Peterborough461711186262062
12MK Dons461613176058261
13Charlton461418146053760
14Walsall461416165158-758
15Wimbledon461318155255-357
16Northampton461411216073-1353
17Oldham461217173144-1353
18Shrewsbury461312214663-1751
19Bury461311226173-1250
20Gillingham461214205979-2050
21Port Vale461213214570-2549
22Swindon461111244466-2244
23Coventry46912253768-3139
24Chesterfield46910274378-3537
View full League One table

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