Carlisle United came back down to earth with a crash following their midweek Capital One Cup heroics as early goals conceded left the Cumbrians swith some soul searching to do as they continue to wait for their first League One points of the new season.
The promoted Bantams looked confident and dangerous as they attacked with pace and power and it needed a brave display from keeper Mark Gillespie to keep the scoreline down in the face of an almost relentless onslaught.
“Top to bottom we lost our battles today and that just isn’t good enough,” manager Greg Abbott said. “They were stronger and better and our best player by a country mile was our keeper. He’s the only one to come out with any credit.
“We’re a young group and we’ve been exposed today. It’s difficult to know what to do with the group we have because we need our big, experienced players back. We come up short without them, we’ve seen that this afternoon, and it’s going to be a struggle when we come up against hardened, seasoned players.”
It started brightly for United when Livesey hooked a loose ball into the opposition half. Amoo took off at pace and his low cross was cleared as Beck tried to make it his own. The ball dropped kindly for Jones and his inside pass took Wells to the edge of the area. He temporarily lost control but a cheeky back heel set Thompson up for a shot. He connected well but he sent it over the bar.
James Hanson then flicked a long ball into the path of the unmarked Nahki Wells and the energetic front man spun his man before stabbing a toe poke right at the keeper. The pressure levels increased in-line with the noise generated by the home crowd and Hanson and Wells combined to open the Carlisle defence up once more. Mark Gillespie reacted smartly to close the angles and execute a vital block.
Former-Blue Nahki wells looked up for the challenge and he found himself one-on-one with Gillespie when Hanson nodded it into his path. He set off at a sprint and forced a diving two-handed save from Gillespie as he tried to find the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
The Bantams took the lead on 19 minutes when he stepped inside 26 yards from goal. It suddenly opened up for him and he tried his luck with a wonderful shot which flew into the top corner.
Home tails were well and truly up and a mix-up at the back between Thirlwell and Gillespie gifted Wells his first home goal of the league season when he pounced on a weak back header. There was still plenty to do but he somehow squeezed it in from a very tight angle.
An already tough job became an unenviable task when Hanson controlled a difficult pass with his back to goal. Danny Livesey appeared to have the situation covered until he slipped and left the big forward with plenty of space. He took two steps and then picked his spot as he threaded it into the back of the net.
It was all about Bradford and Yeates threatened again when he placed the ball for a 28-yard free kick. Gillespie kept his eye on it and was able to gather as it bounced just in front of his dive.
Charlton loanee centre back Kevin Feely was handed his debut ahead of schedule as Greg Abbott looked for a way to stem the tide and Paul Thirlwell pushed into midfield in an attempt to get a foothold in the game.
But it was Gillespie with all the work to do as he spread himself to make another brave block. Thompson was ready to celebrate as he thumped the Yeates pass past Brough but the keeper made the save with his chest.
Carlisle showed a flash of what they can produce just after the break when Guy and Berrett combined on the right. Potts broke into the box but he tried to curl his shot off the outside of his boot and McLaughlin was able to grasp it.
Bradford quickly regained control and Wells should have made it four for the day when he left Livesey tied in knots on the floor. Gillespie again reacted quickly but his initial parry left an open goal for Wells to aim at. Patrick Brough jumped across to help and his assistance allowed his stopper to get a leg in the way.
Hanson was next to go close when he rose to meet a Meredith cross and wells spurned another opening when he had the goal at his mercy. A quartet of attackers beat the offside trap but the Carlisle keeper was once more equal to the task.
Another testing delivery, this time from Jones, brought a punch from Gillespie which landed in front of the off-balance Thompson. He should have done better but he rattled his volley wide of the upright.
The fourth goal, threatened for so long, finally came when Wells held his run to go three against one from a pass from deep. He had options to spare as he put it on a plate for the delighted Gary Jones.
United almost grabbed a consolation when a looping free kick caused confusion on the goal line. Kevin Feely hooked his boot round it but his backward momentum brought a frustrating touch which sent it over the bar.
Wells, Meredith and De Vita could all have added to the tally as the action stayed in the Carlisle half and the afternoon was summed up for United as they got forward in numbers in time added on. Substitute Jack Lynch had to stretch and his shot skewed away and into the stands.
Bradford - Yeates (19), Wells (24), Hanson (30), Jones (66)
Bradford City - McLaughlin, Darby, Meredith, Davies, Hanson, Thompson (De Vita 65), Yeates (Reid 70), Jones, Wells (Connell 83), McArdle, Doyle. Subs - Ripley, Ravenhill, Taylor, McHugh.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Potts, Livesey, Thirlwell, Brough (Black 70), Amoo, Noble (Lynch 59), Berrett, Gillies (Feely, 35), Guy, Beck. Subs - Fleming, Edwards, Symington, Salmon.
Referee - Mr Oliver Langford
Attendance - 13,641 (779 away fans)