Giant Jon makes it a day to remember
BRADFORD boss Phil Parkinson saluted his players’ attitude and professionalism as they beat Barnsley in their final home game of the season on an emotional day.
City were the focus of much attention as they commemorated 30 years since the Valley Parade fire disaster before the game, then this season’s FA Cup heroes went on to bag a first win in six games thanks to Jon Stead’s predatory strike.
Parkinson said: “I’m really pleased we won for so many reasons.
“It has been an emotional day and I felt that the staff and the players needed to do the whole occasion justice.
“It was our final home game too and I was determined that we should reward the fans with a win.
“They’ve been brilliant for us all season and it’s satisfying that we’ve sent them away happy on such a big occasion for the club.
“In the end the players put in a hard-working, professional performance and we’ve deserved the win. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”
Stead struck the only goal after 17 minutes, volleying in clinically as he met Billy Knott’s far-post cross to register his 13th goal of the season.
Stead had gone close earlier with a smart shot on the turn that fizzed wide, while Barnsley’s best opportunity came from defender Lewin Nyatanga, who headed Conor Hourihane’s cross narrowly wide.
Chances were few and far between in the second half as the Bantams dug in for a hard-earned win.
Luke Berry dragged a shot wide for the visitors, while Paul Digby also went close to a leveller when he slammed a halfvolley just past the post.
At the other end, the unmarked Christopher Routis ought to have done better when he headed disappointingly over the top from eight yards.
Barnsley’s final opportunity to level came from young full-back Mason Holgate, who ghosted in at the far post, only to smash an effort into the side-netting.
These must be slightly concerning times for Barnsley boss Lee Johnson, whose side have now gone nine games without a win.
He said: “It’s been a passionate day, but credit to both teams who I thought acquitted themselves superbly well. Yorkshire came together and that’s been nice to see.
“I’m looking for positives from the result, though, and despite losing there were many.
“Some of our younger players did well on such a huge day, and this experience can only help them.
“We’ve still got the chance to finish in the top half, and that just about indicates where we are.
“We know there are going to be changes in the summer, but for now it’s been good to take a look at a number of players during these final games.”
STAR MAN BILLY CLARK