The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Stephen Thirkill

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.

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/ Mark Do­herty

ALL SMILES: Brad­ford City play­ers cel­e­brate with Billy Clarke

JOY: Brad­ford boss Stu­art McCall


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