Doncaster Rovers 0
Bradford City 1
Saturday 17 October, 2015
By Nikhil J Vekaria
Bradford City secured another win and valuable three points with a hard-fought victory in South Yorkshire. Devante Cole scored his fifth of the season after just 30 seconds, as City defended strongly to hold on at the Keepmoat.
City arrived in South Yorkshire in indifferent form, having won their last league game at Rochdale two weeks ago, but also having gone out of the JPT to Barnsley at home since.
Phil Parkinson stuck with the same XI that had so brilliantly beaten Dale two weeks earlier, meaning that James Hanson was again consigned to the bench, a role he hasn’t been used to at City in the last few years, after being the main man for so long. It gave Steven Davies another chance to impress, whilst Kyel Reid was looking to build on his strong performance at Dale.
After the customary welcoming of new Rovers boss Darren Ferguson to the Keepmoat crowd, the two teams headed out of the tunnel, City’s players applauding a superb away following.
It could hardly have started better for The Bantams, as 30 seconds in, a Lee Evans throw-in was flicked into the path of Devante Cole who turned in from close range. This sent the 2,600 City fans into raptures at the opposite end of the ground. After being desperate for an out-and-out goal scorer for so long, Cole now has five for the season already, and a playing style fairly reminiscent of a certain Mr Wells.
City continued to dominate for the first 15 minutes or so, without really threatening the Doncaster keeper Stuckmann.
However, with a new manager in the stands to impress, Rovers grew into the game and started to attack City. They kept making the wrong decision when they could’ve released players down the wings. Then, from a corner, Rovers thought they had bundled the ball over Ben Williams line. Keshi Anderson leapt above all to push it in with his hands, which was spotted by the referee. Anderson was booked. However, Rovers players seemed to believe the ball had already crossed in the goal line scramble that had come before, and weren’t happy that the goal wasn’t awarded.
Rovers now had their tails up and just before the break, had a huge penalty appeal turned down. Williams appeared to go through the back of Anderson with his hands whilst trying to gather the ball from his feet, but the referee deemed that no foul had been committed. City then had a chance of their own, as Kyel Reid’s superb long range strike was saved acrobatically by Stuckmann.
The second half started in the same measure, with Rovers attempting to break down a City side who had been solid at the back. Reece Burke was superb and City looked well organised at the back, with Wolves loanee Lee Evans marshalling midfield and moving the ball out well. Rovers continued to probe without making many inroads into City, with a strong defence limiting them to shots from range, which failed to test Ben Williams.
City then had a chance of their own with a free kick on the edge of the box, with Tony McMahon’s superb effort flying just wide of the post.
The rest of the game continued in the same manner, with Rovers trying to break down a solid City defence. City did have a few hairy moments in their own box, as Burke scrambled away from a corner, although most of Doncaster’s threat was limited to long range efforts.
A poor decision angered Phil Parkinson on the touchline, as the referee missed an obvious push into James Meredith, which sent him into the advertising boards. Parkinson was not at all happy, although the referee did reverse his decision after City’s complaints.
Then, right at the death, Rovers almost nicked a point through former City loanee Gary Mackenzie, who somehow headed wide from a corner, despite being only a few yards out. City held on, securing all three points and moving up to 15th in the League One table in the process. They could go ninth if they win their game in hand against Blackpool on November 3.
This was a strong performance by City, who defended well for the entire game and never really looked too threatened by an admittedly weak Doncaster side. Reece Burke was superb once again at the back, and looks like a player who could play well above League One level. Ben Williams, despite not being tested too much, looked strong and confident in his work, whilst Rory McArdle and Steve Davies also had strong games, without making any errors.
Lee Evans was again superb in midfield, carrying the ball out from defence and linking well with the two wingers, especially Kyel Reid who always looked threatening as he carried the ball forward.
However, the shining light in this City team is Devante Cole, who with five goals already looks like he could go well into double figures this season. Cole isn’t always the most noticeable player on the pitch, often drifting in and out of the game, but he offers a constant threat with his pace and when given a chance, tends to put it away. City look to have a gem on their hands.
City’s second win in a row was valuable, and the three points and never really looked under too much threat, throughout the afternoon. Tougher tests are set to come, but this was a solid display by a good City side, with a striker who is beginning to make a name for himself in the lower leagues.
City: Williams, Darby, McArdle, Burke, Meredith, McMahon, Liddle, Evans, Reid (Marshall 75), Cole, Davies (Hanson 62)
Not used: Jones, N Clarke, Knott, Leigh, Mottley-Henry
Categories: Match Reviews