HOME SO SWEET FOR BANTAMS
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.
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