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23:35 1st April 2013
By  Luke Gallagher

Torquay United 1 Bradford City 3

The Bantams recovered from an early goal conceded to respond emphatically. An early strike from Notts County loanee Joss Labadie was quickly cancelled out by a Rory McArdle header, Garry Thompson fired City into the lead and James Hanson's header early in the second half capped an impressive team display to very much revive play-off hopes going into the final six league games of the 2012-13 season.


Joss Labadie gave his side a dream start to the game when he fired home the opening goal; Tom Cruise's cross was mis-controlled by Ryan Jarvis and Labadie rode a challenge from Kyel Reid before slotting neatly past Jon McLaughlin from around 12 yards out.



City responded superbly quickly and within four minutes of Labadie's third minute opener Rory McArdle's precise glancing header from Gary Jones' curling freekick beat the dive of Michael Poke and nestled into the far corner to bring The Bantams level.


Phil Parkinson's men grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck following the equaliser and created several chances in a short space of time. Garry Thompson pounced on a loose ball to fire an ambitious rising shot over the bar from 40 yards out.


Nahki Wells was also enjoying a bright start to the game and was presented with a chance of his own before long; Gary Jones' through ball sent him racing away down the channel, he cut inside and had Brian Saah backing off before he placed a shot a yard wide of the target from inside the area.


Another chance arose for the Bermudian when he latched onto Thompson's knock down to fire an angled shot narrowly wide of the target. Seconds later however, City went ahead. Wells challenged Poke for the loose ball following James Hanson's knock down and the ball came out to Garry Thompson who rifled the ball into the barely guarded Torquay goal.


Torquay were looking very vulnerable as City looked as hungry for goals as they had ever been away from home. A neat attacking move finished with James Meredith finding Gary Jones who thumped a powerful shot towards goal that substitute goalkeeper Martin Rice was equal to.


Brian Saah wasted a glorious chance of levelling proceedings when he scooped the ball over the bar from 5 yards out after Tom Cruise's poorly delivered freekick had deflected into the air and into his path ahead of a crowd inside the packed 18 yard box.

On the stroke of half time Billy Bodin side stepped Gary Jones on the edge of the area to fire a shot a couple of yards wide of the target.


A couple of minutes into the second half The Bantams grabbed a third goal and further reassured their control of the game. Nahki Wells held the ball up well before playing a neat ball into the path of Garry Thompson who delivered a superb first time cross towards the back post that was headed in by James Hanson with Martin Rice in 'no man's land'.


There was a massive penalty claim 5 minutes later when Nahki Wells got ahead of Angus MacDonald as they both chased down Ricky Ravenhill's hopeful ball over the top; Wells was seemingly nudged in the back and was sent crashing to the ground. A penalty awarded would've meant certain dismissal for MacDonald but referee Rob Lewis waved claims away.


Constantly looking likely to score, The Bantams went close again when Wells met James Meredith's cross with a looping header but it was held alertly on the goal-line by Martin Rice when for a moment it'd looked to be heading in.


Following a Torquay attack from a corner breaking down at one end, City lead a lightning quick counter to build an attack at the other end. Kyel Reid surged up the field and with options to his right and left in Garry Thompson and Nahki Wells the winger opted to go alone and saw his stinging drive blocked.


The hosts' top scorer Rene Howe wasted a decent goal scoring opportunity when after some sharp passing in and around the area, he had been picked out with a pass before blasting a powerful shot over the bar from inside the area at an angle.


Kyel Reid was one of several attacking players for The Bantams that had looked dangerous throughout the game and he was almost on the scoresheet when his firm low drive from outside the area had to be pushed away at full stretch by Martin Rice.


City almost scrambled a fourth goal of the afternoon; Garry Thompson's angled shot was blocked, Nahki Wells saw his own effort blocked before Thompson's second goal-bound strike was scooped clear off the line by Brian Saah.


With the game very much over, Jon McLaughlin was called into action in injury time; substitute Jordan Chapell cut inside from the left hand side finding a yard on Stephen Darby before unleashing a firm strike that was held assuringly by the City stopper.


Phil Parkinson's men had conjured up a text book away performance at relegation threatened  Torquay United to seal victory and a vital three points to leave the play-off dream very much alive and kicking going into the final part of what has been a marathon of a season.