COOPER’S BEAMING AT BYRNE
SWINDON boss Mark Cooper lauded Nathan Byrne for tearing apart Bradford with a 16-minute hat-trick but insists he was not surprised by the winger’s display.
The Robins started the game sluggishly and fell behind after just five minutes when new Bantam’s signing Josh Morris smashed home past Liverpool loan stopper Lawrence Vigoroux.
Bradford could have doubled their lead on 19 minutes but Billy Clarke saw his spot-kick comfortably saved by Vigoroux.
And the Town keeper was almost left red-faced ten minutes later when Clarke tried to redeem himself with an audacious lob 45-yards from goal, only for his effort to fall narrowly wide of the gaping goal.
But Cooper’s side were a different beast after the break and Byrne bagged a smart hat-trick before Jon Obika sealed the rout – all inside an electric 18 minutes for the Robins.
Cooper said:“They have absolutely torn what I think is a real resolute Bradford team apart.
“I never expected it to be as emphatic as that in the second-half. But I know that they have that in them. The penalty save for me changed the game, where the goalkeeper has made a brilliant save.
“Nathan is all about confidence, you just have to put your arm around him and tell him how good he is.
“You just have to ask him to be positive and that is what you get sometimes.
“We have got that youthful exuber- ance, we can be expansive and we can hurt teams.”
The Robins may need to rely on the goals of Byrne more often too, with Cooper confirming post-match that last season’s top scorer Michael Smith looks set to join League One rivals Barnsley.
He said: “If it is the right bid, it is going to be accepted because that is the way we have to work. He is a brilliant professional and a brilliant kid. I would love to keep him but money talks.”
Bradford failed to contain Byrne in the second period and boss Phil Parkinson could not help but praise the winger.
Byrne levelled the scoring on 52 minutes when he managed to find the net with a bending shot that evaded Bantams stopper Ben Williams.
Kevin Stewart then slid through the winger on the left flank, who managed to poke the ball low past Williams, before completing his hat-trick on 68 minutes.
Town striker Obika finished the rout when he slotted home the fourth.
Parkinson said: “Teams always have key players and you have to be able to deal with those players. In fairness to Nathan Byrne, it was a one-man show at times. “We didn’t start right in the secondhalf and we became ragged all over the pitch. He had a 20minute period which was probably as good as anyone this season.”
HAVE THAT: Jonathan Obika scores
TOP STUFF: Nathan Burne celebrates his goal