HEAD COACH David Hopkin was aggrieved after seeing his side lose to promotion favourites Sunderland in an eventful match which ended with both sides down to ten men.
He said: “I hate getting beaten and I don’t think we deserved it. A 2-2 draw would have been a fair result. We showed we could compete with them. I am delighted with the performance of the players. I think Sunderland have got away with one today.”
Sunderland went in front in the 20th minute when the Bradford defence failed to deal with Aiden McGeady’s cross before Lee Cattermole’s shot was diverted into the net by Josh Maja – the Bradford players claiming with his arm.
Captain Anthony O’Connor equalised in the 51st minute, hooking the ball into the net at the far post after Kelvin Mellor’s long throw had been headed on.
Sunderland regained the lead two minutes later when Jack Baldwin fired low into the net from Chris Maguire’s free-kick before the match defining incident.
City were handed a penalty in the 66th minute when captain Max Power fouled Jack Payne and was sent off for kicking out. Former Bantams goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin saved Payne’s spot kick and to complete City’s misery winger Sean Scannell was sent off in stoppage time for pushing over George Honeyman.
A 2-2 draw would have been a fair result. We showed we could compete with them. I am delighted with the performance of the players. I think Sunderland have got away with one today.Bradford City boss David Hopkin
Hopkin said: “You’re always at your worst when you score and we switched off for five or six minutes. These are things we need to manage better.”
Bradford City: O’Donnell, Mellor, McGowan, Knight-Percival, Wood, Scannell, O’Connor, Payne, L O’Brien (Gibson 83), Ball (Bruenker 76), Miller (Seedorf 88). Unused substitutes: Sykes-Kenworthy, Goldthorp, Isherwood, Wright.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Matthews, Flanagan, Baldwin, James, Maguire, Cattermole, Power, McGeady (Honeyman 73), Maja (McGeouch (70), Sinclair (Ozturk 84). Unused substitutes: Ruiter, Robson, Mumba, Kimpioka.
Referee: A Backhouse (Cumbria).