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Bradford City 1 (Vincelot 21)
Rotherham United 0
With Bradford and Rotherham scoring a combined total of 7 goals in their respective mid-week fixtures, both sets of fans can be forgiven for expecting another high scoring encounter when the teams met at Valley Parade on Saturday. In typical football fashion, however, the game was settled by a single goal from Bradford skipper, Romain Vincelot, after a fiercely competitive Yorkshire derby.
The first opportunity of the game came Rotherham’s way after being awarded a free kick on the edge of the box in the 8th minute. Jon Taylor’s low drive under the Bradford wall, however, was well held by keeper Colin Doyle to reduce any early nerves.
It was Bradford that took a first half lead though after a well worked goal in the 21st minute. Bradford left back, Adam Chicksen, played a tantalising ball into the Rotherham box which just missed the head of incoming skipper Vincelot. However, with the ball finding its way to Tony McMahon on the right, the defender’s cross back into the box this time found Vincelot unmarked to head into the bottom left corner of the net.
The goal capped off another excellent week for Bradford skipper Vincelot after he also netted the last gasp equaliser in the mid-week game at Oxford. It was also McMahon’s 5th assist in 8 league games so far this season, which is an already impressive total from the Bradford right back.
Rotherham were almost back in the game 5 minutes later when Jon Taylor was put through on goal. While Taylor’s initial effort was well saved by Doyle, the ball rebounded off the keeper back into his path with the goal gaping. The ball was about to cross the line until a superb last-ditch intervention by Bradford defender, Matthew Kilgallon, who somehow managed to acrobatically clear the ball to prevent the equaliser, which was met by a standing ovation from some of the Bradford fans.
The match calmed for the next 15 minutes or so until Bradford had another excellent chance to add another goal before half time. A misplaced pass on the half way line from Rotherham was gifted to Bradford midfielder, Nicky Law, who carried the ball forward into space, passed to Alex Gilliead with the winger then playing a neat first time pass into the path of striker Dominic Poleon. The striker’s touch to control the ball, however, gave the Rotherham keeper enough time to come off his line and make a good save.
Rotherham tried to pile the pressure on Bradford in the second half and had a good chance to equalise just under 10 minutes in. After Taylor’s initial free kick was dealt with by Kilgallon in the Bradford defence, the ball found its way to Towell on the edge of the box with his effort on goal well held by Doyle.
Towell had another effort on goal just after the hour mark. While his effort was again saved well by Bradford keeper Doyle, the ball fell into the path of Frecklington but his shot on goal was kept out excellently by defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival to prevent another opportunity for Rotherham to find the elusive equaliser they craved.
Just under 10 minutes later, Bradford had another excellent opportunity to finish the game off. A good run at the Rotherham defence by Law saw the midfielder play a nice one-two pass with striker, Charlie Wyke, only for the opposition keeper to come out and save well.
Although Bradford brought on loan defender, Adam Thompson, for his debut to shore up the defence, the end-to-end chances continued late into the game. Rotherham substitute, Clarke-Harris, had a good effort at goal which was kept out strongly by Doyle. Although later ruled out for off-side, the save by Doyle personified how well he had performed all afternoon to keep a well-deserved second clean sheet of the season.
It was to be an unfortunate end to an eventful derby game for Rotherham after Joe Mattock received a red card for a second bookable offence after a poor tackle on Bradford’s Gilliead after the winger looking to run the ball into the corner to see the game out.
Surviving some late Rotherham pressure after 5 additional minutes, the final whistle confirmed another impressive victory for Bradford and their first over Rotherham since 2011 to move the team into joint second in the league one.
Rotherham will no doubt be disappointed with the result, especially with some of the good opportunities they had during the game. However, there are still aspects to be pleased with, particularly going forward.
Bradford City: Doyle, McMahon, Kilgallon, Knight-Percival, Chicksen, Vincelot, Law (Thompson 82), Reeves, Gilliead, Poleon (Patrick 62), Wyke. Subs: Raeder, Thompson, Taylor, McCartan, Hendrie, Jones, Patrick
Rotherham United: Rodak, Vaulks, Mattock, Wood, Ihiekwe, Potter, Towell (Clarke-Harris 80), Frecklington, Taylor (Forde 72), Williams (Newell 62), Moore. Subs: O’Donnell, Ajayi, Forde, Purrington, Clarke-Harris, Yates, Newell
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