‘UGLY’ WIN MAKES PARKINSON SMILE
BATTLING Bradford will march forward with a spring in their step, according to boss Phil Parkinson, after beating Millwall to climb into the play-off places.
Substitute Steven Davies scored the game’s only goal in a match dictated as much by the wet and windy conditions as the players on the pitch.
But Parkinson believes winning ugly is a testament to the Bantams’ versatility as they bid for a top-six place.
“This win will send us to Crewe with a great spring in our step,” he said. “And we have to go there and set the same standards we have been.
“This was always going to be a game where we had to grind out a win. In England you come up against different weather conditions throughout the season, and the good teams produce all types of victories.
“You have to do whatever it takes to give yourselves the best chance of winning and I felt we did that really well. It was a huge win for us.”
Chances were hard to come by for much of the first half, but Tony McMahon curled a right-footed, 25-yard free-kick just wide on five minutes. Millwall’s first chance also came from a free-kick, from a similar distance on 21 minutes, but Joe Martin’s left-footed effort also missed the target.
Bradford seemed to settle into their passing game quicker than the visitors, but Billy Knott’s strike with the outside of his left foot on 32 minutes failed to trouble Jordan Archer.
Kyel Reid went closer ten minutes later, dipping his shoulder to cut inside from the left, but his shot was straight at Archer. Millwall could have been in front on the stroke of half-time though when Morison crossed for O’Brien, but the striker miskicked inside the six-yard box and the ball looped over.
Bradford thought they had taken the lead six minutes after the restart, but a combination of Archer, Mark Beevers and the offside flag saved the visitors.
First Archer saved brilliantly from Jamie Proctor at point-blank range and, after Beevers got a vital touch to deny Billy Clarke, Proctor’s tap-in from the latter’s pass was ruled out for offside. Parkinson introduced Davies and James Hanson with 15 minute to play, in place of Proctor and Billy Clarke, and the change paid off big time.
Just four minutes later, Nathan Clarke crossed deep into the area and Davies rose highest to head down and in.
He was then called into defensive duty at the other end, getting a vital touch with Chris Taylor lurking in the area on 83 minutes, before Ben Williams saved well to deny Morison as Bradford held on for the
win. Millwall boss Neil Harris said: “I’m disappointed and frustrated. I didn’t feel we did enough to win the game, but I didn’t think Bradford did either.
“We knew it was going to be a tough one with the conditions and the pitch, and we competed really well but we have better quality than that.
“Obviously you want to keep the gap to the teams below you as big as possible, so it’s disappointing to lose, but there will be lots of twists and turns to come.”