CANNY striker Daniel Broadbent came up with a sparkling finish to earn Town Reserves a 2-1 victory over derby rivals Bradford City last night.
The teenage frontman – who has been in form since pre-season – turned smartly in the 48th minute to rifle what proved to be the winner in front of 268 frozen fans at the Galpharm.
His sweet strike, after young centre-back Spencer Harris had challenged for a corner, completely deflated a City side whose eldest player was just 21, although they created a lot of pressure towards the end.
City – who led through Sean Taylforth’s crisp 20-yard drive in the 14th minute – were rocked by an equaliser on the very stroke of half time.
Town’s efforts looked to be in vain until Lucas Akins attempted to turn inside Luke O’Brien, who was harshly adjudged to have impeded Town’s grafting striker in the box to concede a penalty.
Matthew Young had no trouble in firing low to Matthew Convey’s left while the keeper dived the other way, and it was the ideal way for John Dungworth’s side to go in at the break after some testing moments earlier in the game.
Broadbent’s goal so early in the second half then gave Town a platform, although clear chances were at a premium after that.
There were some battling displays, however, from a very young Town side – the squad has been decimated by anillness bug since late last week – especially as their eldest player, club captain Jon Worthington, did not reappear for the second half. He is, of course, making his way slowly back from a groin injury and one trademark tackle on Taylforth just before half time illustrated what Town have been missing at first-team level.
While Alex Smithies will be upset to be beaten by a long-range shot, the England Under 17 cap produced some superb saves to help secure the three points.
The first came just three minutes after City had taken the lead, a smart tip-over from Tom Penford’s free close-range header.
Then in the second half, he blocked bravely at the feet of Nathan Joynes before Luke Sharry hammered the rebound over and, with 65 minutes on the clock, he dived full length to beat away a Luke Medley shot after the frontman had found space behind Town’s back line.
Shane Killock again did well in marshalling a back four in which young Harris was making his first Pontin’s Holidays League start, while James Berrett made some excellent first-half breaks from midfield, twice going close to scoring.
So, too, did Killock and Broadbent, while Lucas Akins was a constant thorn for the City defence.
And maybe Broadbent has now thrust himself into manager Andy Ritchie’s first-team thinking, especially if the bug continues ahead of Saturday.
Town – Smithies, Racchi, Codman, Bailey (Pickering 80), Killock, Harris, Berrett, Worthington (Brook HT), Akins, Broadbent (Heagney 50), Young. Sub not used: Franks.