Mark Hughes’ 10-man Bradford City faced a narrow 1-0 defeat against Crawley Town at the Broadfield Stadium on the opening day of the season. The match was decided by a superb 30-yard free-kick from Crawley’s Will Wright, which found the bottom corner of the net after Daniel Oyegoke was sent off, giving the Red Devils the edge and three points.
Despite the disadvantage, the Bantams fought valiantly in the rainy conditions of West Sussex. Liam Ridehalgh almost salvaged a point for his team in stoppage time with a header, but luck wasn’t on their side, and they returned to West Yorkshire empty-handed.
At the start of the game, City showed promising signs, with Alex Pattison making an impact on the left flank, but Crawley’s Jay Williams cleared his dangerous cross towards Ash Taylor. Jamie Walker later tested Corey Addai in Crawley’s goal, but the shot was comfortably saved.
Unfortunately, it was Crawley who broke the deadlock when Kellan Gordon was fouled, and the resulting free-kick from new signing Wright found the back of the net, leaving City trailing.
Despite the setback, City created several chances to level the game before half-time. Walker had a one-on-one opportunity with Addai, but the goalkeeper made a crucial save. Richie Smallwood also tried his luck, but his shot was collected by Addai as well.
The match took a turn for the worse for City as Daniel Oyegoke received his second yellow card, leaving his team with only ten men on the field.
In the second half, the Bantams regained their momentum, with Pattison and Halliday combining well to set up Clarke Oduor, but the winger couldn’t find the target.
Crawley made some dangerous attempts through substitutes Klaidi Lolos and Aaron Henry, but their shots flew over the crossbar.
In the closing minutes, City intensified their efforts to find an equaliser, but Walker’s shot went wide. The Bantams continued their pursuit even in stoppage time, with Ridehalgh coming close with a headed effort, but Crawley held on to secure all three points on the opening day.