Bradford City 0-1 Carlisle United: Bantams slump into League Two drop zone
Chris Beech's Carlisle United won for a second match running in League Two. Photo:  Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Bradford City fell into the League Two relegation zone after suffering a fifth consecutive defeat at the hands of Carlisle United.

Poor defending allowed Rhys Bennett to nod in the only goal of the match just before the hour mark.

In contract to Bradford’s apparent freefall, Carlisle march on under Chris Beech, with a second win in a week lifting them up to fourth.

Story of the match 

Bradford made a threatening start and made vociferous appeals for a penalty when Clayton Donaldson appeared to have flicked Bryce Hosannah’s cross onto the hand of defender Aaron Hayden. They weren’t even given a corner, though from another set piece soon after Anthony O’Connor placed a difficult back-post header wide.

In a first half with a good share of chances, it was Carlisle who at least forced some saves from the opposing goalkeeper. Richard O’Donnell’s first intervention was to make a very good low reaction save to deny Omari Patrick following Josh Kayode’s long throw, and he had to reach his bottom corner twice more before the break to keep out two more Patrick efforts from a greater distance.

At the other end the visitors were defending well to keep their goal safe, with Elliot Watt’s firm strike after peeling away from a corner deflected wide, and Bennett blocking Ben Richards-Everton’s header before centre-back partner Hayden denied a close-range Austin Samuels effort.

In the second half, play shifted decisively in favour of Carlisle. Hayden had an early header saved by O’Donnell but poor defending allowed them to take the lead in the 57th minute, when Dean Furman’s cross from the left was allowed to run across the box unchecked and Bennett gratefully nodded in from just a few yards.

Bradford didn’t have a single shot in more than half an hour after the break, in which time Carlisle could have amassed more than a single-goal lead as they continued to threaten, with one goalmouth scramble requiring brave defending to keep the home side in the match.

O’Donnell continued to mount the greatest resistance though, twice more denying old foe Patrick before another two saves in quick succession, first to deny former Bantam Danny Devine and then to keep out Kayode.

Despite the scoreline it was only Carlisle pushing for more in the final stages, with their top scorer Jon Mellish placing a volley over the bar and Devine putting another long-ranger wide before O'Donnell stepped up one final time by doing enough to keep out Gime Toure on the break.

Man of the match: Rhys Bennett (Carlisle)

Bennett would have been the clear choice even without his winning goal, having put in a near-perfect defensive display at the back by heading, intercepting and clearing everything in sight.