MATCH REPORT: Bradford City 0 Fleetwood Town 1

Joey Barton
Joey Barton
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Paddy Madden ensured Fleetwood Town's quest to pick up their first back-to-back wins since October was successful with a 1-0 victory at Bradford City.

Town built on a 1-0 win over Charlton with another victory at Valley Parade.

Madden's 17th of the term saw Town record back-to-back wins in the league for the first time since they beat Doncaster Rovers and Shrewsbury Town.

Town lost 2-0 to Rochdale in the Checkatrade Trophy in-between those two League One clashes and thus this was the first time since they beat Oxford United and Crewe Alexandra on penalties in the EFL Cup that Town had picked up back-to-back victories in all competitions.

Town boss Joey Barton made three changes to the side that beat Charlton at Highbury.

Wes Burns picked up an ankle knock in that game and was not risked with Lewie Coyle returning from suspension.

Ash Hunter and Jack Sowerby came in for Ashley Nadesan and Jason Holt as Town went on to record a comfortable victory at relegation battling City and moved to within five points of sixth-placed Doncaster Rovers.

Bradford started brightly at Valley Parade but Fleetwood Town showed their ruthless side in the opening exchanges.

James Wallace did the damage with a touch of ingenuity on the right wing.

He whipped the ball into the mix and Paddy Madden was on hand at the back stick to give Town the lead.

That was Madden's 17th of the term as Town once again took an early lead.

The last time Fleetwood had won back-to-back league games was in October when they put Doncaster and Shrewsbury to the sword.

And they looked certain to end that duck with a solid first half performance.

They blunted Charlton's attack last weekend and limited Bradford to a handful of efforts in the first 45.

Lewis O'Brien's tempting cross flew across the face of goal and then he blasted the ball over Cairns' bar.

Hunter was booked for simulation having gone down in the box under pressure from ex-team mate David Ball.

The forward then fired an Evans centre over as Town looked to increase their lead.

Barton's side were rocked by an injury to James Wallace.

The midfielder limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury just after the half hour mark.

That dented Town's flow for the remainder of the half.

Jack Payne fired the ball straight at Cairns after a neat pass by Ball as Bradford finished the half strongly.

Paul Caddis saw his effort blocked by Hunter in the box but the home faithful's cries of handball were brushed aside by the referee.

Town looked solid once again in the second half but Jacob Butterfield nearly levelled in spectacular fashion as his long range effort just sailed over the bar.

Barton refreshed his forward pack on the hour mark sending the fresh legs of Nadesan on for Hunter.

Fleetwood allowed Bradford to keep possession but Town had a stranglehold on the hosts as they stopped them getting the ball into the box.

The odd times City did get into the Town box they were soon ushered out as Eastham and company smothered every attack.

But as the clock ticked down Bradford started to find their teeth.

The introduction of Eoin Doyle saw the Bantams bite back as he breezed past Husband on the right flank and fed Ball in the box.

The stage was set for the former Town man to level the scores but he fluffed his lines as he miss-timed his strike.

That chance gave the hosts hope and they got closer through Miller.

The Bradford attacker latched on to a long ball from the back but his first-time effort flew over.

He should have hit the target but Cairns' 100th Town appearance was another quiet affair.

The Town keeper was tested moments later as Nat Knight-Percival nodded a Billy Clarke set-piece towards goal but it was an easy save for the shot-stopper.

But despite their late pressure the Bantams did not look like they would spoil Cairns' milestone game with Town clinching a convincing 1-0 victory.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Souttar, Husband, R Wallace (Biggins, 81), J Wallace (Sheron, 31), Sowerby, Hunter (Nadesan, 62), Evans, Madden. Subs: P Jones, Taylor, Morgan, Garner.

Bradford: O'Donnell, Chicksen, O'Connor, Payne (Clarke, 70), Miller (Colville, 83), Butterfield, Akpan (Doyle, 59), Knight-Percival, Caddis, O'Brien, Ball. Subs: Wilson, Anderson, Wood, Devine.