Gi­ant Jon makes it a day to re­mem­ber

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Simon Smed­ley

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

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