NPOWER LEAGUE 2, PLAY OFF FINAL
Saturday May 18th
BRADFORD CITY 3
James Hanson 15
Rory McArdle 19
Nahki Wells 28
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 0
Bradford: Jon McLaughlin, Stephen Darby, James Meredith, Andrew Davies, Rory McArdle, Kyel Reid (sub Will Atkinson 78), Garry Thompson, Gary Jones, Nathan Doyle (sub Ricky Ravenhill 87), James Hanson, Nahki Wells (sub Alan Connell 85).
Subs not used: Matt Duke, Carl McHugh, Michael Nelson, Zavon Hines.
Cobblers: Lee Nicholls, Ben Tozer, Clarke Carlisle, Nathan Cameron, Lee Collins (sub Joe Widdowson 53), Chris Hackett, Luke Guttridge, Ben Harding, Ishmel Demontagnac (sub Lewis Hornby 70), Roy O’Donovan, Clive Platt (sub Adebayo Akinfenwa 55)
Subs not used: Dean Snedker, John Johnson, Jake Robinson, Kelvin Langmead
Referee: Mr K Stroud
Bradford: Nathan Doyle (84)
Cobblers: Clive Platt (20, 6th of the season), Roy O'Donovan (30, 3rd), Clarke Carlisle (67, 11th)
15 cautions at any time in season; 3 match suspension
Sending offs: 2 cautions in one game; 1 match suspension but cautions do not count towards above totals. Other sendings off; 1 or 3 match suspension. Extra match ban for additional sendings off.
The Cobblers were at Wembley for the first time in 15 years as they took on Bradford City in the npower League Two play-off final. It was also the Cobblers first ever visit to Wembley since the iconic stadium was rebuilt in the early 2000s.
Aidy Boothroyd made two changes to the side that won at Cheltenham in the play-off semi-final second leg with Clive Platt and Ishmel Demontagnac replacing Adebayo Akinfenwa and John Johnson, Ben Tozer reverting to right-back.
Bradford started the brighter, Nahki Wells firing an early free-kick wide. Wells was then denied by a terrific challenge from Nathan Cameron.
The Bantams made their early pressure pay on 15 minutes, James Hanson with a lobbed header to beat Lee Nicholls.
Bradford’s lead was quickly doubled, Rory McArdle with a back-post header from a Nathan Doyle cross.
From the re-start, Clive Platt was booked after a clash of heads with Andrew Davies. Nicholls saved a clipped shot from Wells as Bradford continued to press.
It was 3-0 on 27 minutes, Nahki Wells with a neat finish from close range.
Roy O’Donovan then picked up a booking for a foul on Kyel Reid. Nicholls tipped over a header from Reid following a long throw, Wells then scuffing a shot from the subsequent passage of play.
O’Donovan headed wide from a Lee Collins cross as the Cobblers looked to find a foothold in the game. Doyle then blocked a goalbound shot from Luke Guttridge in first half stoppage time.
Platt headed wide at the start of the second half with Jon McLaughlan stranded. Nicholls made a finger-tip save after a shot from Bradford deflected off Clarke Carlisle.
Joe Widdowson came on for Lee Collins in the Cobblers first change. Akinfenwa then replaced Platt.
With the Cobblers pressing, Demontagnac sliced a shot wide and Guttridge had a shot blocked. Lewis Hornby then came on for Demontagnac in the Cobblers final change.
Akinfenwa couldn’t quite connect with a header as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
The Cobblers continued to press forward but there was to be no way back as Bradford sealed promotion to League One.
BRADFORD MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (8) 9
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (2) 4
CORNERS: (5) 7
FOULS: (4) 12
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (1) 2
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (1) 2
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (4) 9
CORNERS: (2) 3
FOULS: (8) 14
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 1
The above stats are recorded by club staff. The stats shown elsewhere on this page are recorded by the Press Association.