The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris Sumpter

BRIL­LIANT Brad­ford set a new club record as they closed fur­ther in on the League One play-offs with a com­fort­able win at Scun­thorpe.

Tony McMa­hon’s first-half penalty and a stun­ning strike from full-back Greg Leigh earned the Ban­tams the vic­tory and stretched their un­beaten league run to eight games.

But it was a sixth suc­ces­sive clean sheet – 578 min­utes with­out con­ced­ing a goal – which earned City’s class of 2015 a place in the history books, sur­pass­ing the pre­vi­ous five-game best achieved in 1954.

“I’m pleased with the record, it was there to be bro­ken and when you’ve got the five you want to go on and get the next one be­cause it’s a great achieve­ment,” beamed their boss Phil Parkin­son.

“Our goal­keeper, Ben Wil­liams, had to pull off a fan­tas­tic save in the first half to keep it in tact. It was truly mag­nif­i­cent.

“We have to keep our feet on the ground and look for­ward to the next game, but if you keep clean sheets you’re go­ing to win games.

“We’ve got a re­silience about us and that’s not just down to the back four. It starts with the work ethic of the front two and the mid­field. That’s the rea­son we’ve been hard to break down.

“But our at­tack­ing play was also great.We scored two and I thought we could have had more.”

The match had been an end to end af­fair be­fore McMa­hon had the op­por­tu­nity to score from the spot in the 28th minute, a penalty awarded when Gary McSh­ef­frey and Kyel Reid tan­gled while chas­ing for the ball af­ter a shot had been palmed away by home keeper Luke Daniels.

The hosts’ best chance of the open­ing 45 min­utes had come shortly be­fore the dead­lock was bro­ken. It fell to Neal Bishop at the back post, but his pow­er­ful ef­fort was bril­liantly saved and im­pres­sively held by vis­it­ing stop­per Wil­liams as he trav­elled across his line.

Scun­thorpe’s only real threat of a re­sponse be­fore the break came in stop­page time – a vol­ley that flew not too far wide from Mad­den – but really the Iron strug­gled for ideas and com­po­sure when they got on the ball in and around the fi­nal third.

They needed a good start to the sec­ond half. But in­stead it was the in-form visi­tors who came out fir­ing.

Striker Jor­dan Bow­ery, making his de­but on loan from Rother­ham United, forced Daniels into an­other smart save, but the Scun­thorpe stop­per had no an­swer to Leigh’s bril­liant goal in the 52nd minute, which capped some fine Brad­ford build-up play.

The Iron briefly threat­ened fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of Luke Wil­liams and Kevin van Veen from the bench, but in truth could have no com­plaints about the fi­nal score­line.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed and frus­trated.We were poor and Brad­ford were bet­ter than us – which we don’t of­ten say here,” ad­mit­ted Iron boss Mark Robins.

“But hav­ing said all that, we could have been talk­ing about some­thing dif­fer­ent had we taken our chances.

“We forced their keeper into a couple of good saves.”

PIC­TURES: Pro Sport

SPOT ON: Brad­ford City de­fender An­thony McMa­hon opens the scor­ing with a penalty

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