HOME SO SWEET FOR BANTAMS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Nate Wil­liams

BRADFORD City boss Stu­art McCall was un­der­stand­bly ec­static af­ter com­plet­ing a spec­tac­u­lar home sea­son with a com­pre­hen­sive vic­tory over AFC Wim­ble­don to seal a League One play-off spot.

The re­sult rounded off a dream home record in the league as McCall’s men end the reg­u­lar sea­son un­beaten at the North­ern Com­mer­cial Sta­dium.

“I’m re­ally pleased with this squad,” he said. “Over 40-odd games I think they’ve been ter­rific. It was a strong, pro­fes­sional per­for­mance and I couldn’t be more proud.

“We’re not per­fec­tion­ists by a long way and we know if we had turned some of them draws into wins we could have been look­ing at au­to­matic pro­mo­tion.

“We don’t think too much about our home record but to win five on the trot at home and eight out of the last 12 has been a great achieve­ment.”

In a game that took a while to catch fire, Bradford’s Josh Cullen missed two op­por­tu­ni­ties to give the Bantams an early first-half lead.

But Cullen would give the home fans some­thing to cheer about when he went down in the penalty area with con­tact from Wim­ble­don’s Jonathan Meades.

Ref­eree John Busby awarded the spot-kick and de­fender Tony McMahon stepped up to con­vert the penalty with ease.

Bradford grew in con­fi­dence and dou­bled their lead on the half-time whis­tle. Mark Mar­shall’s rightwing cross sur­prised Wim­ble­don keeper Joe McDon­nell as his de­liv­ery swerved into the roof of the net.

Wim­ble­don striker Lyle Tay­lor was in­ef­fec­tive for the best part of the day and he wasted his side’s best chance on 68 min­utes when his panic ef­fort sailed into the stands.

Dons’ boss Neil Ard­ley said he only has him­self to blame for the poor per­for­mance of his squad this sea­son.

“The gulf in class has been too big this sea­son,” he said.

“We were ex­cep­tional from Septem­ber to Jan­uary but the sec­ond half of the sea­son has not been good enough. I’ve got a lot of work to do in the sum­mer.

“The squad I’ve put to­gether isn’t quite good enough.

“We’re not in a good place be­cause we’re miss­ing key play­ers like Tom El­liott’s phys­i­cal­ity up top but too many aren’t earn­ing their money, too many are low on con­fi­dence and the team is just not func­tion­ing.

“It’s all down to me and the mis­takes I’ve made, which I need to rec­tify next sea­son.”

The Bantams’ Char­lie Wyke chased a third goal as he put wide two chances be­fore McMahon sealed Bradford’s place in the play-offs as he slot­ted home his sec­ond goal of the game.

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/ Si­mon Davies

MAC AT­TACK: Tony McMahon nets Bradford’s first goal from the spot

ON THE MARK: Mark Mar­shall cel­e­brates his goal

STAR MAN TONY McMAHON Bradford

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