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Match Reports

Report: Bradford 1-2 Wycombe

Mackail-Smith and Morris win it for the Chairboys.

25 August 2018

Wanderers secured their first win of the Sky Bet League 1 campaign with a well-deserved 2-1 victory at Bradford.

The visitors rattled the hosts with a dominant first-half display, pressing high, passing with style and attacking with pace, and were rewarded when Craig Mackail-Smith nodded home Joe Jacobson's excellent inswinging corner.

There was more of the same after the interval, and Bryn Morris opened his Wycombe account when he sidefooted home Dominic Gape's cross with the help of a deflection.

The three points rarely looked in doubt until Luca Colville pulled one back on the 90th minute, but Wanderers weren't to be denied and held on to make it four points in four days from two tough away trips.

Gareth Ainsworth made one change to the side that started in the 1-1 draw at Plymouth on Tuesday, and it was an enforced one, with Sido Jombati replacing the injured Adam El-Abd.

Both sides had sights of goal in the opening four minutes with Craig Mackail-Smith slicing a difficult chance wide from Joe Jacobson's throw, before Sherwin Seedorf met Eoin Doyle's low cross but the ball looped to safety via a deflection off Jombati.

Then Michael Harriman drilled over the top in the midst of a promising spell from the visitors, and Bryn Morris unleashed a spectacular first-time volley from Mackail-Smith's cross, seeing it whistle narrowly over the bar.

Pressure grew. Anthony Stewart's low pass started a move which set Randell Williams free down the left and his early cross evade the onrushing Harriman before keeper Richard O'Donnell clutched gratefully onto Mackail-Smith's header from another cross which ensued.

Wycombe were well on top and broke the deadlock courtesy of a phenomenal set-piece delivery from Joe Jacobson, whose powerful whipped corner from the right may have been flying straight in before Mackail-Smith helped it into the net with a bullet header from no more than a yard out.

The striker was almost presented with another clear-cut chance moments later, wriggling free on the edge of the box before being dispossessed just as he was set to pull the trigger, with Bradford floundering and struggling to keep the ball, much to the dismay of the home fans.

A rare chance from the Bantams came via Eoin Doyle's low shot from distance which was comfortably held by Ryan Allsop, but back came Wycombe, with Williams unable to find the power to beat O'Donnell with a shot from the edge of the box after more fine build-up play.

1-0 was how it remained at the interval, with the half-time whistle being met by boos from the Bantams fans who'd have expected a far smoother ride against the Chairboys before a ball had been kicked.

And the start of the second period followed a similar pattern, with Anthony Stewart shooting straight at the keeper after Wycombe kept the ball alive from a Jacobson corner.

Moments later, Mackail-Smith fed McCarthy with a fine ball down the right and the right-back was able to race onto it and burst into the box, unleashing a shot which was palmed to safety by the keeper.

The second goal was coming, and it duly arrived courtesy of Bryn Morris, who wandered unmarked into the box and was well-placed to meet Dominic Gape's cross from the right following more excellent football. His shot nicked off the defender and wrong-footed the keeper to bounce into the net for Morris' first goal in Wycombe colours.

It didn't take long for Bantams boss Michael Collins to decide enough was enough and make two changes, bringing on George Miller and Luca Colville, which prompted an upturn in performance and Allsop had to be alert to hold on to Eoin Doyle's near-post header from a deflected cross.

Jordan Gibson was Bradford's final change on 63 minutes, with the previously lively Sean Scannell departing with an injury, and Gibson's first involvement was to hit a swerving cross-shot which troubled Allsop but was parried to safety.

Then Morris bent an excellent shot at goal from 25 yards which was fisted behind the keeper, before Gareth Ainsworth introduced Adebayo Akinfenwa for Mackail-Smith, who'd worked his proverbial socks off for 70 minutes.

Nick Freeman followed soon after, in place of Randell Williams, but the Bantams almost halved the deficit when Eoin Doyle rose at the back stick to head the ball across goal and Allsop stuck out a hand to superbly divert it to safety with Miller poised to bundle it home.

Morris again let fly with a long-range effort which O'Donnell parried away on 77 minutes, before Sam Saunders came off the bench to take the place of Matt Bloomfield behind the strikers.

But as the board went up to indicate five minutes of added time, City gave themselves a lifeline, pulling a goal back through Luca Colville. Jordan Gibson's attempted shot was wayward but bounced kindly into the centre of the box for Colville to drill home from the penalty spot, giving Allsop no chance.

It sparked a frantic and nervy finale, and McCarthy blocked a last-gasp effort from Miller before the full-time whistle sounded to seal the Wanderers' first win of the season.

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