SWINDON Town suffered their third League Two defeat in four matches at Bradford City this afternoon, losing 2-1.

A generally lifeless first half performance was improved upon in the second. But Town’s increased threat up front meant the visitors’ defensive resolve was somewhat hurt.

Consequently, City netted twice through Hope Akpan and Shay McCartan in 10 minutes – with Jerry Yates’ strike sandwiched between. Forest Green Rovers’ win at home to Crawley means Richie Wellens’ side trail top spot by only four points after Exeter City and Crewe drew.

Three changes were made by Wellens ahead of kick-off, two enforced as Eoin Doyle (ineligible) and Dion Conroy (injury) missed out.

In came Jordan Lyden, Keshi Anderson and new recruit Gabriel Zakuani.

Bradford started the game far brighter – three clear chances in the game’s opening 11 minutes were squandered.

Hope Akpan curled a right-footed effort from 20 yards over McCormick’s crossbar before Donaldson’s effort from a tight angle whistled wide of the visiting ‘keeper’s far post.

The eye-catching Ismail was next to go close. Anthony Grant’s reluctance to clear the ball from a dangerous position inside the hosts’ penalty area granted Ismail his sight on goal – but the shot was again struck high.

Following the initial lull, Town found their feet in the game but found chances hard to come by as sole striker Jerry Yates lacked support up front.

Jordan Lyden picked up a sloppy yellow mid-way through the half when illegally charging down Pritchard’s free-kick deep into Town’s half – Anderson later went in the book following a challenge on Ismail.

Discipline was certainly an issue, Iandolo gifted a free kick to the hosts for twice overrunning a throw in.

But amid the concern, Grant was enjoying a strong half. His ability to win balls in possession was noticeable, however he did squander possession after receiving the ball from Yates amid a Town counterattack on the half-hour mark.

In truth, Bradford setup well to combat any counterattacking move Swindon delivered – three men were kept back for free kicks, and this frustrated Wellens’ side.

An opening for City was inevitable. And it came on 38 minutes when Ismail met Wood’s flicked on cross from the left.

But the winger could only direct his effort onto McCormick’s near post, and Town escaped.

Before half time, two crosses from the left byline underlined Town’s lack of threat in the box. Iandolo’s admittedly straight pull back was smothered by O’Donnell before the home ‘keeper ventured from his line to collected Yates’ cross minutes later.

One change was made by Wellens at half time – Michael Doughty came on in place of Anderson. A tactical change one would presume.

Doughty was certainly determined to win his starting spot back. He and Hunt made key blocks in the opening five minutes of the half to keep McCormick on his feet.

At the other end, Woolery missed a golden chance to nod Town ahead when glancing Isgrove’s in swinging corner from eight yards out.

The forward’s effort was directed wide of O’Donnell’s far post, though.

Thousands of Bradford fans rose from their seats on the hour mark as Clayton Donaldson fired the Bantams in front after Ismail picked out the proven goalscorer unmarked at the back post.

But they had to sit back down promptly as referee Tom Nield pulled play back for offside – Town countered impressively from the whistle, but without reward.

The silenced home crowd only had to wait nine minutes before finding their voice again, though, as Hope Akpan nodded City ahead.

After Pritchard picked out Donaldson, City’s No.10 advanced to sting McCormick’s hands following a vicious effort from the edge of the hosts’ 18-yard box.

Akpan was quick to launch himself onto the rebound, as City deservedly took the lead with 68 minutes played.

City’s ‘up the football league we go’ chants didn’t last long. After receiving the ball on the left, Woolery picked out Yates positioned on the penalty spot.

Yates turned brilliantly and tucked his twisting effort beyond O’Donnell’s right reach into the bottom corner.

Travelling fans’ joy turned to despair when impact City substitute Shay McCartan leathered the hosts back in front.

His low right-footed effort cannoned off of McCormick’s left post, firing the hosts back in front.

Amid a series of changes, which saw City introduce Devine and French while Wellens brought on Twine and May, Yates squandered a golden opportunity to draw Town level once more.

The chance was birthed from Woolery’s cross, but Yates’ downwards header went agonisingly over O’Donnell’s crossbar.

That was to be the last of Town's chances as they fell to a 2-1 loss. 

Bradford City: Richard O’Donnell, Kelvin Mellor, Paudie O’Connor (Tyler French, 83’), Anthony O’Connor, Harry Pritchard, Clayton Donaldson, Zeli Ismail (Shay McCartan, 69’), Dylan Connolly, Hope Akpan (Daniel Devine, 82’), Connor Wood, Callum Cooke.

Swindon Town (4-2-3-1): Luke McCormick, Zeki Fryers, Lloyd Isgrove, Jerry Yates, Kaiyne Woolery, Ellis Iandolo, Jordan Lyden ©, Rob Hunt, Keshi Anderson (Michael Doughty, 45’), Gabriel Zakuani, Anthony Grant.