Carlisle United had to dig deep to take three points on a wintry night in Cumbria as Bradford came on strong in the second half only to meet a stiff wall of resistance from their hosts.
Bradford started on the front foot but United defended well as Hanson showed as the target man for the long balls forward. And it was the big striker who got a flick on a long throw into the box as the Cumbrian back line held it's shape. Mclean stepped forward to connect with the loose ball and O'Hanlon jumped across to make the block.
The inswinging corner that followed needed Pickford to stay strong as he came under pressure at the far post. His punch was enough to prevent Davies from finishing it off.
A quick free kick from the Bantams then caught Carlisle out of position but Mclean and Hanson couldn't get the ball through the massed wall of blue shirts which closed ranks on the edge of the box.
The Cumbrians settled into their play and a winding run from Amoo earned a corner which Berrett sent into the area. Bradford cleared but a wild challenge from Darby left Berrett with another chance to deliver. He whisked it right at the penalty spot and McLaughlin was relieved to gather as it came through everyone and plopped nicely into his hands.
The Cumbrians grabbed the lead when good play from Redmond and Robson earned the home side a corner/ Headers from O'Hanlon and Meppen-Walter kept the ball alive on the edge of the six-yard box. Bradford struggled to deal with it and Lee Miller scored an absolute beauty when he kept his eye on the ball and swept a perfectly executed overhead kick into the roof of the net.
The Bantams tried to respond quickly and a Jones corner beat the near post run of Thompson as it fell invitingly in front of goal. Hanson and McArdle were there but Meppen-Walter reacted just in time to swipe it away.
Another high ball into the box found Mclean with his back to goal on this occasion but his heavy touch left a difficult volley for Jones to have a go at. He tried to get over it but the save was an easy one for Pickford to make as it bounced off the surface at a comfortable height.
A slip in midfield from Potts allowed Reach to race forward midway through the half and he won a corner which Jones pinged into the area. It ricocheted alarmingly off two defenders but Mclean missed his volley as he tried to find a connection.
David Amoo bamboozled his marker with a series of stepovers in front of the Paddock and McArdle had to intervene on the stretch on the penalty spot. He got his toe to it and he poked his clearance over his own bar. United stayed forward from the corner and a fizzed ball in from Robson brought a two-handed diving save from McLaughlin when he had to dive late to push it away.
Carlisle controlled the possession but Adam Reach took matters into his own hands with a direct run from the half way line down the right flank. He went past Robson, cut into the box and unleashed a thundering effort which Pickford had to beat away.
The game tightened up as the half ticked on and half chances at both ends were blocked at source. A high cross from Chimbonda brought Redmond in from the flank just before the break but he had to battle with his marker and his header went high.
An early break from Robson with just 45 seconds on the second half clock had the Carlisle fans on their feet as he made the edge of the area. His low cross was stopped by Davies on the slide as Miller checked across to meet it.
United should have doubled their lead on 48 minutes when Thirlwell cleared a difficult Jones corner. Amoo controlled it on the half way line with his back to goal but his shoulder drop and spin left him with a clear path to goal. McLaughlin advanced off his line and he combined with the rapidly retreating Stephen Darby to force the nippy attacker wide.
Carlisle looked impressive and slick passing opened things up for Berrett. He shot early but McArdle made another vital block.
Adam Reach was the danger man for Bradford and he took the ball past Chimbonda to earn a corner on the right hand side. Pickford got it clear and the follow up from Doyle lacked direction and power as it bobbled wide of the upright.
A surging run from Meppen-Walter took him from his own half and Robson called for it as he pulled off the shoulder of his marker. His cross split the keeper and his centre halves but Miller couldn't quite make up the ground.
Bradford enjoyed a ten minute spell of pressure as they camped in the Carlisle half but their high balls into the area were meat and drink for the home centre backs.
A lovely lobbed pass from Reach sparked another good attack as Bates raced clear. His cross was dealt with by Thirlwell but Jones mopped up the pieces to bring Bradford forward again. Garry Thompson picked up the challenge and he went past three challenges to get to the byline. He wrapped his foot round the ball and his cross was just a yard behind Hanson who had committed himself to the early run.
Hanson started to win more of the high stuff and a measured nod down gave Jones a chance to volley. He caught it well but Pickford watched it all well and made a very accomplished save.
The Bantams had the bulk of the possession and Mclean had to be marshalled as he took the ball on his thighs just six yards out. Berrett recovered to poke it away for a corner. McArdle was next to have go from distance when Thompson poked it his way but it took a deflection and angled away to safety.
Pickford had to push the ball away from beneath his own bar as yet another cross pinged into the box but there was nobody there to finish it off as it bobbled around in the danger area.
United defended strongly with blocks and tackles to earn a vital three points which took them back up the table and nearer to a mid-table position.
United - Miller (13)
United - Chimbonda (51), Byrne (73)
Carlisle United - Pickford, Chimbonda, O'Hanlon, Meppen-Walter, Robson, Thirlwell, Potts, Berrett, Redmond (Drennan 75), Amoo (Byrne 67), Miller. Subs - Fleming, Noble, Ekangamene, Symington, Guy.
Bradford City - McLaughlin, Darby, Dolan (Doyle 46), Davies, Hanson (Gray 80), Thompson (Bennett 75), Jones, Mclean, Bates, McArdle, Reach. Subs - Jameson, McHugh, McBurnie, Atkinson.
Referee - Mr Geoff Eltringham
Attendance - 3,267 (472 away fans)