BRAD­FORD ........2 ROCHDALE ........4

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By John Gra­ham

ROCHDALE boss John Cole­man likened his side to a League Two Barcelona af­ter they bagged four goals in a first-half blitz to see off Brad­ford and move within three points of the League Two play-off places.

Terry Gor­nell fired Rochdale ahead af­ter just six min­utes but Alan Con­nell lev­elled from the spot, only for An­drew Tutte to give the vis­i­tors the lead again.

Ash­ley Grimes gave Rochdale a two-goal ad­van­tage but an­other Con­nell penalty re­duced the ar­rears be­fore Gor­nell headed his side’s fourth of a breath­tak­ing first half.

A goal­less sec­ond-half saw Rochdale take the points, but Cole­man in­sists his side do not get enough credit.

Cole­man said:“Ob­vi­ously we’re not go­ing to play to the same level as Barcelona but you can still as­pire to have the same pass­ing men­tal­ity in your game.

“I don’t think League Two foot­ball gets the praise it de­serves. If that had been Barcelona play­ing the foot­ball we did in the first half peo­ple would’ve been purring about it. I think when we pass the ball like we did we’re up there with the best sides in the league.

“Ev­ery­body knows about our de­fen­sive frail­ties. But when we play like that go­ing for­ward we can beat any­body.

“Terry Gor­nell was ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic, he crawled off the pitch. Joe Raf­ferty as well – I know the crowd think he’s time wast­ing but he couldn’t walk out there.”

Gor­nell gave Rochdale the lead from a tight an­gle but Brad­ford drew level when Ryan Ed­wards pushed Con­nell over in the area and the striker slot­ted home.

Dale struck twice in five min­utes through Tutte’s drive and Grimes’ vol­ley to take con­trol just af­ter the half-hour.

Con­nell added his sec­ond penalty af­ter Tutte han­dled James Mered­ith’s cross though Gor­nell grabbed an­other five min­utes be­fore the break. Con­nell al­most com­pleted his hat-trick in the 54th minute but headed Mered­ith’s cross just wide, and Brad­ford boss Phil Parkin­son took the blame for the de­feat.

He said:“I have to hold my hand up and say the bal­ance of the team wasn’t right, we were sec­ond best to Rochdale, they played very well.

“We’ve got to ac­cept teams are go­ing to come to Brad­ford and it’s a big game for them and, es­pe­cially af­ter we beat Ar­se­nal, it’s a feather in their cap to win here.

“We knew Rochdale score goals but they do con­cede them as well. I tried to pick a team I felt was strong enough to deal with what they had go­ing for­ward but also cre­ate them prob­lems as well. Un­for­tu­nately we didn’t do that and, while I look at my­self, equally the lads know that phys­i­cally we were sec­ond best out there.”

CLASS ACT: Bar­net’s Edgar Davids and Ex­eter’s Alan Gow



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