Joe blunts Bantams’ play-off progress
BRADFORD’S recent surge towards the play-off positions was checked by gutsy Rochdale in what turned out to be a cracking Roses clash.
Joe Bunney bagged two goals for Dale as they came close to nicking a precious victory that would have been only their second in seven games.
Bradford assistant boss Steve Parkin – who managed yesterday’s opponents for three years until 2006 – felt his side missed a chance to pocket a third straight win as they are now four points shy of the top six.
Parkin said: “It’s probably been honours even and that’s fair enough.
“We just weren’t at our best, but on the positive side, there was still plenty of spirit and lots of fight on show out there.
“We kept going until the end and that will stand us in good stead going forward.
“Looking back it’s been a good week overall. Seven points from three games is a good return and so we move on to the next game now.
“It was a cracking game, but we just couldn’t get ourselves over the line in the end.”
The Bantams roared back into contention following a nervy start.
Rochdale took the lead after 12 minutes courtesy of a smartly-taken effort from Bunney.
The young frontman rose superbly to head home a pinpoint cross from Joe Rafferty.
As Bradford rallied, with Tony McMahon seeing a smart free-kick saved by Josh Lillis, they were finally rewarded four minutes before the interval.
McMahon burst down the right before crossing for centre-back Rory McArdle, who slid in to score his second goal in three games from close range.
Five minutes after the restart Bunney pounced to register his third goal in two games, and this time it was a belter. The 22year-old produced a breath-taking burst of pace before burying a low shot from 20 yards.
The visitors’ lead only lasted just over ten minutes, however, as Bradford sub Steven Davies powered home a header from McMahon’s corner. Substitute striker Grant Holt missed a chance to seal a fairytale second debut goal for Rochdale when he slid a shot inches wide with minutes remaining.
Dale boss Keith Hill said:“The performance was good, and because of that I’m disappointed with the result.
“We should have won really, but that kind of effort here will help bring back the belief that we’ll need in the last 15 games.
“We defended exceptionally well against a big, tough side.
“We had to be brave to stand up to what Bradford threw at us.”