Outclassed Cobblers beaten again as dominant Bradford secure Sixfields success

A wretched second-half showing saw the Cobblers succumb to another late defeat on Saturday when Jordy Hiwula's goal secured a 2-1 comeback victory for Bradford City in front of a audibly frustrated Sixfields crowd.

Monday, 2nd January 2017, 5:13 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:01 pm
Sam Hoskins battles for possession during the Cobblers' defeat to Bradford City (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

In a similar story to recent weeks, Northampton initially began well and even held sway at half-time when Alex Revell's well-taken header brightened an otherwise dull first-half.

But a relatively even opening 45 minutes then made way for a totally one-sided second as Bradford battered their hosts who were penned back and unable to get out of their own penalty area.

Inevitably, that pressure yielded results as Mark Marshall sweet finish brought them level on 73 minutes before City sealed all three points when Hiwula converted from close-range.

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Alex Revell and Paul Anderson celebrate the Cobblers' goal against Bradford

It was nothing more than the Bantams deserved for their utterly dominant second-half showing against a Northampton side that lacked ideas and energy and spent most of the game defending.

The full-time whistle was greeted by boos around an unhappy Sixfields with an increasing number of fans growing frustrated with the seemingly negative approach and tactics adopted by Rob Page, whose side drop a place to 16th.

Somewhat surprisingly, Page opted to keep with the same XI which started at Bramall Lane just 48 hours earlier, although there was a place on the bench for new boy Greg Wylde while fellow loan signing Hiram Boateng missed out having not gained Premier League clearance.

Neither Bradford nor Northampton came into this game in the greatest of form and that was reflected in a edgy start that was short on quality and goalmouth action.

The Cobblers celebrate their goal against Bradford, but the team went on to lose 2-1

A wicked Matty Taylor cross caused problems while both Sam Hoskins and Paul Anderson failed to get the required power on their respective shots.

With the Cobblers seemingly content to sit deep and play on the break, Bradford bossed possession without overly troubling Adam Smith as Timothee Dieng blazed over from 20 yards for the visitors, prompting ironic cheers from the travelling fans who were growing frustrated by their side's lack of goal threat.

At the other end, a sneaky free-kick from Taylor almost caught Bradford napping, the visitors only saved by goalkeeper Colin Doyle who reacted smartly to keep out a low header from an unmarked Marc Richards.

Neither side had done enough to really warrant a goal but, nevertheless, that didn't stop Revell from giving Town a lead five minutes prior to half-time.

Rob Page and Bradford boss Stuart McCall

The goal was created by good work from Anderson who worked space on the left and delivered an inviting cross that was excellently headed home by Revell to end his 15-match goal drought.

That was sufficient to send Northampton into half-time with a lead but they were indebted to Smith for keeping them ahead within two minutes of the restart when he saved well from Jordy Hiwula.

That set the tone for the second-half and Bradford continued to press for an equaliser with Taylor hacking a header off the line while Gabriel Zakuani twice blocked at the crucial moment.

Page attempted to stem the tide by introducing Greg Wylde for his Cobblers debut but that did little to prevent Bradford from piling on the pressure.

Alex Revell and Paul Anderson celebrate the Cobblers' goal against Bradford

At times Northampton had every player back inside their own third and only a fine flying save from Smith thwarted Josh Cullen's 20 yard effort.

But City's pressure became just too intense to keep at bay and with Northampton pinned back and unable to get out, the visitors drew level 17 minutes from time when Marshall showed quick footwork to make space before firing sweetly past Smith.

Bradford weren't content with just a point either, and they continued to come pouring forward in search of a winning goal which they almost got but for a fine save from Smith who denied Stephen Darby from close-range.

But Smith could do nothing about the winner which came with just four minutes remaining.

Marshall was involved again when he blitzed beyond Zander Diamond to get to the byline before pulling a low cross back for Hiwula to convert from a matter of yards.

That was no more than Bradford had warranted for their utter domination of the second-half, and there was nothing left in Northampton who surrended in rather meek and disappointing fashion.

The Cobblers celebrate their goal against Bradford, but the team went on to lose 2-1

Match facts

Cobblers: Smith, Phillips (Diamond 45), Zakuani, Nyatanga, Buchanan, Hoskins, O'Toole (McCourt 72), Taylor, Anderson (Wylde 58), Richards (c), Revell

Subs not used: Cornell, Beautyman, Potter, Iaciafano

Bradford: Doyle, Darby, Meredith, Law, Vincelot (c) (Marshall 45), Dieng, Hiwula, Cullen, Vuckic (Hanson 45), Knight-Percival, McArdle

Subs not used: Sattelmaier, Kilgallon, McMahon

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 6,931

Bradford fans: 1,067

Rob Page and Bradford boss Stuart McCall