A first half hat-trick from Bradford’s Andy Cook halted Stevenage’s impressive start to the season at Valley Parade…
Elliott List levelled matters for Stevenage midway through the second half, but it was not enough to keep Derek Adams’ side at bay as Boro left Yorkshire with defeat.
After Saturday’s successful trip to Bristol Rovers, Alex Revell’s side were back on their travels but this time up north to West Yorkshire. Goal scorer at the weekend Luke Norris replaced Jamie Reid up front, while Charlie Carter came into the starting line-up in place of Elliot Osborne.
With the same goalkeeper, back four and holding two as Saturday, this Stevenage side was building a list of recognisable and consistent names on the team sheet.
After much anticipation for the game after Stevenage’s first three games resulting in victory, it was not the start Alex Revell’s men wanted. Two minutes into the game, Liam Ridehalgh’s lofted, looping cross from the left sat up perfectly for Bradford’s Andy Cook to head the hosts into the lead. A disappointing start but Stevenage did not let their heads drop and regrouped to go again with plenty of time to play.
Five minutes later, Ben Coker and Luke Norris looked to carbon copy the game’s opener with a deep cross from the left, before the latter could only header straight at Richard O’Donnell in the Bantams net.
Midway through the first half, and after a questionable penalty appeal rejection, Stevenage found their leveller. After a Luther James-Wildin cross from the right, Luke Norris rose highest to nod down for Elliott List. List need not another invitation before lashing the ball into the net with his left foot. After going down so early, the squad rallied and earnt their equaliser after being on top for the passage of play previous.
A few moments later, Stevenage and Elliott List had a golden opportunity to take the lead. After Charlie Carter played the ball through to the blistering pace of Elliott List, the forward cut inside onto his favoured right foot but could only direct his shot comfortable enough for O’Donnell.
On the half hour mark, Bradford had the opportunity to take the lead once again. After Luther James-Wildin brought down Charles Vernam inside the area, the referee pointed at the spot for Lee Angol to step up. However, Joseph Anang had other ideas. After his penalty heroics against Luton a week ago, the West Ham loanee added another string to his bow by getting down well to his right and keeping out the Bradford number 19. Four penalties faced for Anang, three saved, zero conceded.
But, as it was to be one of those nights, Bradford did not have to wait long for another chance to take the lead. Andy Cook took the resulting corner before Andy Cook smashed home with his right foot to right Angol’s wrongs.
Less than ten minutes later, the hosts doubled their advantage thanks to a first half Andy Cook hat-trick. A long ball from deep found the knock on by Andy Cook and after a combination of Scott Cuthbert and Terence Vancooten could not deal with the ball, the Bradford striker secured his third.
In the aftermath of the third goal, matters were made worse as Scott Cuthbert was forced off through injury and replaced by Luke Prosser.
After the break, Alex Revell was forced into another unwanted change as Chris Lines limped off after a defensive block in the Stevenage area.
Charlie Carter and Luke Norris both had half chances just before the hour mark, but could not find a way through the tall and strong Bantams back line.
A Luke Prosser header from Jake Reeves corner was a rare effort at goal from Stevenage in the second period, but the defender could only direct his effort wide.
Jamie Reid did his best to change the outcome of the game by taking aim seconds after his introduction with half volley from 25 yards, to no avail.
Stevenage continued to huff and puff at the Bradford defence but in vain as Bradford controlled possession of the ball as the result looked set in stone for Boro’s first defeat of the season.
Niall Canavan increased the score line just before the ninety minute mark with a towering header from Callum Cooke’s corner, before Stevenage and 101 travelling supporters made their way back to The Lamex Stadium.
Port Vale at home next for Alex Revell’s men, and will look to dust themselves down and prepare for Saturday in a bid to bounce back from tonight.
Match tickets for Stevenage vs Port Vale are now available from www.borotickets.co.uk.