Bradford City 4 v 1 Bristol Rovers (NPower League 2)
Bradford City produced one of their best performances of the season to thrash Bristol Rovers at Valley Parade and regain a play-off spot. Bradford dominated the game from as early as the first minute when Nahki Wells hit the Bristol Rovers’ crossbar after seventeen seconds.
The Bermudan didn’t have to wait long to add his name to the score sheet, when he headed home a Gary Thompson cross from close range on six minutes. Thompson himself went close on eleven minutes after an excellent cross from Kyel Reid.
On fifteen minutes, the game was stopped for around five minutes following a serious injury to Bristol Rover’s Danny Woodards, he was stretchered off and taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
Once the game had re-started, Nahki Wells drove a shot at goal from around fourteen yards which Steve Mildenhall in the Bristol goal managed to scoop over the bar. Gary Jones took the corner, which was half cleared by the Bristol defence before being collected by Ricky Ravenhill, who was fouled by Bristol’s Fabian Broghammer just inside the area.
Nahki Wells stepped up to score his and Bradford’s second goal of the game from the penalty spot on twenty-two minutes.
On twenty-eight minutes Bristol Rovers squandered their best chance to pull a goal back, when Jon McLaughlin produced an excellent reaction save to keep out a header from point blank range by an unmarked Tom Hitchcock.
Bristol’s Ryan Brunt and Joe Anyinsah tried to fire home the loose ball as it pinged around the penalty area, but after a couple of timely blocks Bradford managed to clear their box.
Bradford extended their lead 3 minutes into injury time at the end of the first half, Gary Jones floated a free-kick into area which was met by Andrew Davies, who headed the ball past a stranded Mildenhall in the Bristol Goal.
Bristol Rovers manager John Ward must have given a tough team talk at half time, as Rovers came out for the second half all guns blazing. They had a couple of half chances before pulling a goal back on fifty minutes, when Rory McArdle missed a clearance, allowing Tom Hitchcock a one-on-one with Jon McLaughlin in the Bradford goal, which he stroked home via the inside of the far post.
This seemed to bring Bradford back to life and Gary Thompson scored Bradford’s fourth goal on fifty-seven minutes, when Nahki Wells put him clear of the Bristol defence to fire a shot passed Mildenhall from the edge of the penalty area.
Bradford continued to press forward in the second half and could have had more goals but for Steve Mildenhall in the Bristol goal, who saved further efforts from Kyel Reid, Ricky Ravenhill, Nahki Wells and Alan Connell before the end of the game.
This win, City’s fourth in their last five league games, sees Parkinson’s men leapfrog Exeter City into that vital seventh play-off spot in the League 2, with only four games of the season remaining.
Bradford City – McLaughlin, Darby, Meredith, Davies, McArdle, Thompson, Jones, Ravenhill, Reid, Hanson, Wells (Subs) Duke, Atkinson, McHugh, Connell, Nelson, Hines, Doyle
Bristol Rovers – Mildenhall, Smith, Woodards, Broghammer, Brown, Norburn, Anyinsah, McDonald, Brunt, Hitchcock, McChrystal (Subs) Gough, Paterson, Richards, Harding, Clarke, Lockyer
Goal – (Bradford) Wells (6,22p), Davies (45), Thompson (57) (Bristol) Hitchcock (50)
Attendance – 10,621