BILLY THE WHIZZ HITS WINNER
DELIGHTED Bradford boss Stuart McCall praised his side’s determination after they moved a step closer to securing a playoff spot.
Billy Clarke’s seventh goal of the season proved to the difference as Bradford edged past a battling Walsall.
The Saddlers had chances to go into the break ahead but failed to take them.
And the fighting Bantams stepped up the pressure in the second half to snatch three more vital points.
McCall said: “We had to battle very hard to get the win, but it is a great win for us.
“We were not at our best in the first half but we really stepped it up in the second half.
“There is a long way to go yet in this promotion race but that is the sort of determination that we will need in the run in.
“We had the extra bit of quality in the second half and it was important to get back to winning ways.
“We have kept up our six point gap on Millwall and our win helps keep the pressure up on those teams chasing us.”
However, Walsall boss Jon Whitney felt there was not a lot to chose between the sides.
“It was a game of fine margins. We were comfortable at half-time and we had a good first half and looked like the team who would score,” Whitney said
“Their goalkeeper has made some great saves.
“We knew they would come back into it and we spoke about the need to keep the crowd quiet.
“We knew Mark Marshall would be a danger and we kept him quiet mostly, but he had that one moment where he created the goal and it was the difference.
“Once they were ahead it was always going to be hard to get back into it.”
Scott Laird and Andreas Makris both went close as the Saddlers enjoyed the best chances in the opening half hour.
Walsall had a major let off when James O’Connor cleared Alex Jones’ header off the line after Neil Etheridge made a hash of Tony McMahon’s 40th-minute cross.
Matt Preston headed narrowly wide on 50 minutes from a Kieron Morris corner.
Shouts for a home penalty were waved away on 52 minutes when Clarke’s header was blocked by Preston.
Charlie Wyke and Romain Vincelot both went close as playoff chasing City started to crank the pressure up. And the pressure finally paid off as Clarke hammered home after the Walsall defence failed to deal with Marshall’s low cross on 58 minutes. Wyke headed just wide on 69 minutes after another Marshall cross caused danger. And the City hitman missed another great chance to make the points safe when he fired wide on 79 minutes.
But Morris failed to make him pay as he saw his shot parried away by Colin Doyle a minute later, as the Bantams held on for the narrowest of wins but the sweetest of three points.
ALL SMILES: Bradford City players celebrate with Billy Clarke
JOY: Bradford boss Stuart McCall
STAR MAN MARK MARSHALL Bradford