Andy Cook comes back to haunt former club as Bradford City win five-goal thriller at Mansfield Town

Andy Cook came back to haunt his old club with a late winner for Bradford City as the Bantams won 3-2 in a thriller between the two previously unbeaten sides at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.

By John Lomas
Saturday, 21st August 2021, 5:01 pm
Mansfield Town's Rhys Oates breaks clear against Bradford City, Photo: Chris Holloway.
Mansfield Town's Rhys Oates breaks clear against Bradford City, Photo: Chris Holloway.

Stags had come from behind to lead against their expected promotion rivals with two goals by Oli Hawkins to thrill a big home crowd.

But City quickly levelled before Cook broke home hearts with a late tap-in with Stags more than deserving of a share of the spoils on the day from a full-blooded encounter.

The Mansfield side saw one change with Hawkins back in up front and Oates dropping back to the tip of the midfield diamond, with Lapslie dropping to the bench.

Former Stag Lee Angol missed out for Bradford with injury with Songo'o coming in for his first Bantams start.

Stags started well and one run from Oates from inside his own half into the Bradford penalty area on five minutes had home fans excited, though the move came to nothing.

On eight minutes O'Donnell had to push away a fierce effort from Quinn from the left.

McLaughlin then went on a superb run down the left and whipped in a cross, Hawkins went down after contact with O'Donnell but it never looked likely to be given as a penalty.

The early stages were all Stags though Bishop comfortably gathered a low Vernam cross on 15 minutes and Rawson had to come up with a timely tackle as Cook tried to break clear two minutes later.

But City were ahead from a 19th minute corner. Cooek sent it over from the right and O'Connor was unchallenged as he powered in a far post header.

On 23 minutes Vernam had an angled shot deflect wide for a corner while at the other end O'Donnell had to leave his box to prevent Johnson reaching Clarke's forward ball.

O'Donnell was then fortunate to grab the ball at the second attempt after spilling a Quinn cross.

On the half-hour Maris got away a shot at the second attempt that forced O'Donnell down to his left to grab.

Maris needed treatment after feeling the full force of a Cooke tackle but was able to continue.

Mansfield were deservedly level on 37 minutes. Clarke swung over a superb cross from the left by-line and Hawkins rose to guide a header into the top right hand corner.

On 43 minutes Vernam squared a pass for Cooke to fire a low shot goalwards where it was safely smothered by Bishop.

On the restart Oates burst down the right to the edge of the box but sent the ball skidding across the face of goal with Johnson unable to reach to turn it home.

Cook then set up Watt off his chest on 49 minutes but the City man volleyed well over.

Maris was obviously still feeling the effects of the first half tackle and on 49 minutes was replaced by Stirk.

Vernam miscued a shot from the left on 51 minutes to the jeers of the home fans.

But Stags were in front for the first time on 52 minutes.

Quinn's superb pass down the left saw Oates get to the by-line and pull back a cross which Hawkins shaped up for and volleyed into the bottom right corner.

Cooke was booked on 59 minutes for his reaction after a tackle that left Quinn on the floor.

But Bradford were level on 61 minutes. Cooke ran at the centre of defence and slipped a pass to Vernam to his left who placed home a superb finish across Bishop.

They might have gone ahead on 65 minutes as Vernam sent in a low cross after Clarke had lost the ball, but Cook miscued his close range attempt and Bishop had an easy catch.

City were now enjoying their best spell of the game as Stags struggled to regain their rhythm.

Clarke had a first time effort blocked after being set up by sub Lapslie, who had just replaced Oates.

Perch needed treatment after he got his head in the way of a long range Cooke effort as the City man tried to find the empty net after a poor Bishop clearance.

On 86 minutes O'Donnell had to keep out a far post header from Hewitt from a left wing cross by McLaughlin.

Play swung straight upfield and Bradford were ahead again.

This time Bishop did well to get down and block a low curling Vernam effort, but Cook was on hand for a simple tap-in.

In six added minutes Hawkins was too high on the turn after a pass from sub Sinclair while Lapslie also had a low drive easily saved as Bradford took home the spoils.

STAGS: Bishop, McLaughlin, Hewitt, Rawson, Clarke (Sinclair 88), Maris (Stirk 49), Johnson, Hawkins, Perch, Quinn, Oates(Lapslie 72). SUBS NOT USED: Shelvey, Gordon, Bowery, Burke, Stirk.

BRADFORD CITY: O'Donnell, Ridehalgh, O'Connor, Canavan, Song'o, Cooke (Crankshaw 83), Cook, Gillead, Vernam, Watt (Evans 67), Cousin-Dawson. SUBS NOT USED: Hornby, Foulds, Kelleher, Scales, Lavery.

REFEREE: Scott Oldham.

ATTENDANCE: 6,058 (1,589 away).