Steven Davies got what proved to be the winner for the home side, mid-way through the second half and, in doing so, inflicted Graham Alexander’s first defeat as Scunthorpe manager.
United went into the game not surprisingly unchanged from Easter Monday’s 6-0 victory over Swindon Town, but captain Stephen Dawson did return to take his place on the substitutes' bench.
Luke Daniels started in between the sticks, with a back four of Jordan Clarke, Murray Wallace, David Mirfin and Conor Townsend in front of him.
The midfield four consisted of Jamie Ness, Neal Bishop, Luke Williams and Hakeeb Adelakun. Tom Hopper and Paddy Madden led the line up front.
The opening 15 minutes of the encounter passed without much incident, apart from a half chance for Madden. The striker looked to be well placed in the six-yard-box to receive a cut back from Bishop, but the ball was prevented from reaching the Irishman, thanks to some good Bantams defending.
Having been a mere spectator for the opening quarter of the match, Daniels was soon tested, as Lee Evans drove an effort towards goal. It was an effort which needed saving too, and the Iron ‘keeper obliged, raising a firm right hand to tip the ball over his crossbar.
It was a half of few chances, but the more clear cut ones were coming the visitors’ way. Wallace looked to have sight of goal, following a Williams corner from the right, before the ball was taken off his toe as he attempted to hook it goal wards.
Daniels once again had to be on his toes though, as he deflected a Kyle Reid strike around the post for a corner, just as it looked to be heading for the back of the net.
A flurry of openings then fell to Alexander’s side in a short space of time. Firstly, Adelakun teed up Madden, who forced Bradford stopper Ben Williams into a smart save with a rasping drive. Then from the next phase of play, it was the same combination again, with Adelakun showing quick feet, ahead of releasing the Iron number nine. Madden would be frustrated once more however, as his shot was hacked away off the goal-line.
The hosts began the second period on the front foot and forced United to defend in numbers. It was pressure which culminated in Madden having to clear off his own goal-line, after the ball had been headed towards the far right corner.
With just over 25 minutes left to play however, Phil Parkinson’s side took the lead through substitute Steven Davies. The striker had only been on the field for a matter of seconds before he latched onto a ball into the penalty area, to poke home from close range.
United seeked a quick response and they went close to finding one when Townsend drove into the box. The full-back then delivered across the face of goal for Madden, who looped a cross for Hopper, but the Bantams backline held firm.
Bradford had a superb chance to double their advantage with 15 minutes to play - a chance which Tony McMahon will feel he should have done a lot better with, after being found in space by winger Reid.
Bantams goalscorer Davies thought he’d made sure of the points with five minutes left on the clock but, as he wheeled away in celebration, the strike was ruled out for handball against the forward.
Daniels was determined to keep the Iron’s hopes alive as the game entered added time. The ‘keeper initially denied substitute Filipe Morais, who cut in the from the right flank. Then he had to be at full stretch to divert Evans’ curling long range effort out for a corner.
Referee Gavin Ward soon blew for full time, to send the home fans into rapturous celebrations.
Bradford City: Williams, Darby, N Clarke, Burke, Meredith, McMahon, Evans, Cullen, Reid (Morais 83), B Clarke (Davies 67), Proctor (Hanson 67).
Substitutes not used: Cracknell, Knott, Morris, Thorpe.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Clarke, Wallace, Mirfin (Laird 85), Townsend, Ness, Bishop, Adelakun, Hopper (Wootton 74), Williams (Vose 80), Madden.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Goode, King, Dawson.
Attendance: 17,873 (531 away).