Rhys Bennett’s second-half goal proved enough as high-flying Carlisle edged a 1-0 League Two victory that saw struggling Bradford slip into the bottom two.
Striker Omari Patrick – one of three former Bradford players in the visitors’ starting line – had Carlisle’s three best goal-scoring efforts of a scrappy, goalless first half.
The first came in the eighth minute as the home defence struggled to cope with a long throw, but Bradford captain Richard O’Donnell dived to block his shot.
O’Donnell dived to turn another shot from Patrick away for a corner in the 21st minute and then dived to keep out a 20-yard effort six minutes before the break.
For Bradford, Eoin Watt saw his low shot defected wide following Connor Wood’s corner and Austin Samuels missed a good chance a minute before half-time when he fluffed his close-range volley.
Carlisle’s winner came after 57 minutes when Bradford’s defence failed to deal with a cross from Dean Furman – another former Bantams’ player – on the left and Bennett scored with a header at the far post.
Only more good saves by O’Donnell to prevent Patrick again, another ex-Bradford man Danny Devine, Josh Kayode and substitute Gime Toure stopped Carlisle from increasing their lead.
The defeat from the hosts – their fifth-consecutive loss in all competitions – meant they dropped second-bottom, seven points above bottom side Southend as the Cumbrians sit fourth.
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