Bradford City 3 (Banks 12, Chapman 63, Cook 71) Sutton United 1 (Bugiel 80)
Sutton suffered a second defeat of the Easter weekend and saw play-off hopes recede at the hands of a powerful Bradford side whose own hopes of automatic promotion remain very much alive. While Bradford deserved their victory, U's will be left wondering what might have been had former Bradford striker Lee Angol, preferred in the starting line-up to Donovan Wilson, converted a penalty that he had won on the half hour, but his spot kick rebounded off the bar and Bradford were able to go on and claim the points.
U's were forced to go in to what was always going to be a tough game without injured captain Craig Eastmond, while Will Randall also failed to recover from the injury he sustained against Stockport, and backed by a crowd of nearly 18,000 Bradford started strongly, and after only two minutes Andy Cook, the leading scorer in the division, met Liam Ridehalgh's cross with a firm downward header that was blocked by Ben Goodliffe. U's replied well, with Enzio Boldewijn and Omar Bugiel setting up Harry Beautyman for a shot that was deflected just wide, but after Cook had again gone close with a header that was too close to Jack Rose, Bradford took the lead as Cook's knock down allowed Jamie Walker to attack the U's box before setting Scott Banks up to angle a low shot across Rose and in to the corner of the net.
Cook was a constant threat, giving an outstanding centre forward's display, and was very unlucky not to score when he met a Banks cross with another firm header that was brilliantly tipped on to the post by Rose, who then denied Cook with his feet from the resulting scramble. Banks and Stubbs also went close as Bradford piled on the pressure, but after Sam Hart had tried his luck from distance and seen his effort go just wide, U's were handed a lifeline as Angol pounced on a defensive mix-up and was brought down by goalkeeper Harry Lewis as he tried to go round him. Although most U's supporters would have expected Beautyman to step up to the spot in Rob Milsom's absence, Angol assumed responsibility but saw his penalty come back off the crossbar.
Angol's unhappy return to Bradford continued as he was then booked for a heavy challenge, and early in the second half after he had been penalised for another foul he was replaced by Matt Dennis, with Milsom also replacing Hart. By then Cook had again thumped the post with a header from Brad Halliday's cross as Bradford had started the second half as they had started the first, and the substitutions had had no time to take an effect before Harry Chapman doubled Bradford's lead, cutting in from the left and planting a low shot beyond Rose in to the bottom corner.
Eight minutes later Cook had the goal he richly deserved, Alex Gilliead putting him through after a Sutton free kick had been cleared, and although David Ajiboye did well to get back as cover, Cook turned inside him before driving a low shot past Rose from the edge of the penalty area.
Sutton produced a defiant response ten minutes from time as Ajiboye's darting run took him to the by-line past Ridehalgh before he chipped a cross to the far post where Bugiel headed powerfully home, and although a couple of scrambles before the end could have produced a second goal to give Bradford an anxious last five minutes there was no denying the home side a deserved victory.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi(sub J Neufville 78), S Hart(sub R Milsom 61),C Rowe, B Goodliffe, D Ajiboye, E Boldewijn, A Smith, O Bugiel, H Beautyman, L Angol(sub M Dennis 61). Subs n/u B House, L Gambin, K Kouassi. Booked: Angol, Rowe
Bradford: H Lewis, B Halliday, L Ridehalgh, R Crichlow, S Stubbs, R Smallwood, S Banks, H Chapman(sub E Osadebe 81), A Cook(sub V Oliver 80), J Walker, A Gilliead(sub R East 81) Subs n/u C Doyle, M Derbyshire, D Pereira, C Kelly. Booked: Ridehalgh
Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 17,769(147 away)