Myers and Locke provide early comfort for Bradford

Bradford City 2 Coventry City 1
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The Independent Football

The last time Bradford City reeled off three successive victories, two and half years ago, they were promoted to the Premiership within a month. They repeated the former feat by beating Coventry last night, scaling the First Division summit in the process and encouraging optimism for the mere nine months and 43 games ahead.

Andy Myers and Gary Locke struck in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, thereby ensuring that Bradford have already equalled the tally of seven goals they had mustered by the end of November last season.

Jay Bothroyd cut the arrears with a fierce low shot from 20 yards with 14 minutes remaining, but Coventry's hopes of rescuing a point disappeared with the dismissal of Lee Hughes for a second bookable offence two minutes later.

The clubs had ground out a grim goalless draw on the day the top flight bade them farewell three months ago, but the re-match was immediately a far more open affair.

Bradford, having taken maximum points and maintained the winning habit at Macclesfield in the Worthington Cup, were understandably buoyant. However, it was Coventry, with the wrath of Gordon Strachan still ringing in their ears after Sunday's surrender to Wolves, who made the better early chances.

Roland Nilsson's through ball gave Hughes an eighth-minute opportunity, yet Coventry's £5m striker failed even to control the ball. Within seconds Ashley Ward showed how it was done at the opposite end, lobbing over Magnus Hedman only for Paul Williams to clear off the line.

Another Coventry flurry saw goalbound efforts by David Thompson and Barry Quinn blocked, while Keith O'Neill's glancing header passed inches wide following Thompson's free-kick. Bradford, though, soon warmed to the volatile example of Benito Carbone. Gareth Whalley's 35th-minute corner produced a Ward header which Hedman parried to Eoin Jess, whose follow-up shot found only the shiny pate of Lee Carsley on the line.

Carbone, who repeatedly ran Nilsson ragged and also nutmegged him on one occasion, inevitably played a part in Bradford's breakthrough five minutes after half-time. From a corner by Locke, earned when the Italian's free-kick was tipped over by Hedman, Ward's header was glanced in by Myers.

Five minutes later, an exhilerating move which began in Bradford's left-back position set up Jess for a drive which Hedman kept out with an outstretched boot. Locke, alighting on the loose ball 18 yards out, powered home his first goal since arriving from Hearts in January.

Coventry, with Thompson always a threat from set-pieces, had Gary Walsh in a flap more than once as they strove to trim the deficit. But Bradford, at last remembering how to win games, were not about to relinquish their lead lightly.

Bradford City (4-4-2): Walsh; Halle, Molenaar, Myers, Jacobs; Locke, McCall, Whalley, Jess (Tod, 90); Carbone, Ward. Substitutes not used: Lawrence, Blake, Grant, Davison (gk).

Coventry City (4-4-2): Hedman; Nilsson, Shaw, Williams, Hall; Thompson (Zuñiga, 70), Carsley, Quinn (Chippo, 70), O'Neill; Bothroyd, Hughes. Substitutes not used: Davenport, Strachan, Goram (gk).

Referee: C Foy (St Helens).

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