WITTON Albion lost a friendly for the first time this summer, conceding twice in a close contest’s final quarter of an hour against higher-ranked opponents.
Substitute Danny Frost guided a close range header into an empty net on 76 minutes after goalkeeper Ryan Swift diverted Matty James’ clipped cross directly into his path.
A second goal followed shortly afterwards, this time James providing a pass that another replacement, forward Brad Barraclough, converted classily while resisting the challenge of Ben Harrison.
Brian Pritchard’s men rallied, halving the deficit with four minutes left when substitute Jon Dawson steered in Scott Bakkor’s clever lay-off, sent sidewards while he lay flat on his back.
They could not conjure an equaliser though.
The teams had been evenly-matched in the first half, participating in an impromptu ‘worst miss’ competition.
Joe Colbeck skipped into space down Witton’s left flank on 25 minutes, but James scooped his assist over the bar when it seemed a simpler task to score.
Albion returned the favour when Bakkor, left completely unmarked, failed to make any contact with a cross that dropped perfectly for him at the far post.
There were other chances; Colbeck’s low drive forced Chris Sanna to save smartly to his right, while Anthony Gardner drilled too close to Bradford custodian John Lamb at the other end after running onto Danny Andrews’ inviting pass.
A deluge from the dark clouds above Wincham Park dampened the early exchanges of the second half, the tedium punctured by Frost’s breakthrough.
From Witton’s next attack, Lamb reacted instinctively to parry substitute Paddy Miller’s header towards his own goal from Anthony Sheehan’s free kick.
Barraclough had made it 2-0 by the time Bakkor raced clear, only for Miller’s perfectly-timed tackle to halt his progress.
The forward’s intuition took over, nudging the ball to Dawson before Lamb could claim it.
Witton (4-4-2) Sanna (GK) (Swift (GK) 46), Gardner (Moyo 62), Barnes, Harrison, Lea, Andrews, Trialist (Davidson 46), Trialist (Sheehan 46), Howard (Dawson 46), Bakkor, Harvey Goal Dawson 86
Bradford (5-3-2) Lamb (GK), Howarth (Black 46), Hotte, Mallor, Drury, Walker, Price (Miller 59), Kerr (James 59), Rea, James (Barraclough 46), Colbeck (Frost 59) Goals Frost 76, Barraclough 83
Referee Paul Johnson (Northwich)