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29 December 2018 Venue Crown Oil Arena Attendance

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports

STUNNING CITY DISPLAY SECURES DOMINANT WIN AT ROCHDALE

29 December 2018

A truly outstanding display from David Hopkin's Bantams saw City end the calendar year of 2018 with a dominant 4-0 win at Rochdale.

After Nathaniel Knight-Percival had given City a deserved lead at the break, goals from Anthony O'Connor and Eoin Doyle (pen) saw the Bantams realistically finish off the game by the hour.

Substitute George Miller then put the icing on the cake for Hopkin's men, adding a fourth goal in the closing stages with a stunning effort from outside the box on the half-volley.

With officially just over 2,500 travelling supporters enjoying every moment of the match action, the eventual scoreline certainly didn't flatter City.

The Bantams dominated the festive fixture from start to finish, and they could have easily added further to their tally for the afternoon with the outstanding Jack Payne in particular going close to scoring on more than one occasion.

Opponents Rochdale had come into this contest on good form - winning their two previous league fixtures - but Keith Hill's side simply had no answer to City's intensity and endeavour all over the pitch.

The Bantams' energetic efforts at the Crown Oil Arena were all the more impressive when you consider that this was CIty's third match in just eight days.

Fresh from their unfortunate defeat at Sunderland three days earlier, City's starting XI at Rochdale featured two changes.

Skipper O'Connor came back into the side along with Jim O'Brien.

Miller moved down to the bench as a result and Hope Akpan was rested due to a dead leg.

From the very off it was crystal clear that City were fired up for this one.

Pressing from the front, the Bantams kept their hosts pinned in their own half for large parts of the opening fifteen minutes.

City's first clearing scoring opportunity came in the seventh minute when Adam Chicksen's low ball into the box found Payne in shooting space.

His fierce goal-bound effort was well struck but it was also superbly tipped over by Dale 'keeper Brendan Moore.

With City swarming all over Rochdale at this stage, Payne was involved again less than sixty seconds later when he teed up David Ball from the byline.

Ball's strike in the box was blocked out, but the rebound fell to Payne again and his low drive from a tight angle was repelled at his near post by Moore.

The Bantams maintained their dominance as the half progressed, surging forward time and time again at an over-worked Dale defence.

Ryan Delaney needed to be in position to clear behind after Doyle had fired dangerously across the six yard box, while Paul Caddis saw an angled drive deflected behind soon after.

From the resulting Payne corner, O'Connor sent a near post header flying over.

Eventually, though, City's pressing and probing paid off, and it was another set-piece delivery from Payne that did the damage.

The Huddersfield loanee's corner was met by Doyle, who glanced a header towards the far bottom corner.

Moore got a hand on the ball to make a good reaction save, but Knight-Percival was on hand to fire home the loose ball from close range.

Far from sit back and defend their lead, though, City kept the throttle down.

Ball warmed the hands of Moore with a rising drive from inside the box less than a minute later.

From City's next attack, Doyle then nearly doubled the Bantams' advantage with a header from a Caddis cross that flew narrowly over the bar.

Such was the Bantams' control on the game, Rochdale were forced into a change ten minutes before the break; experienced defender Kgosi Nthle coming on for young midfield prospect Daniel Adshead.

The alteration couldn't halt City's progress, however. 

Doyle fired wide after being found in the box on the counter-attack by Payne.

Payne himself then went for goal from a short corner soon after and the attacker's curling effort from the edge of the box had to be parried by Moore.

There was still time in the final seconds of the half for Payne to try and trouble Moore again when Doyle charged down an attempted clearance from the Dale 'keeper.

Following Doyle's intervention, the loose ball fell into the path of Ball, who crossed towards Payne.

Payne went for the close range header but, crucially, Joe Rafferty got back to head behind.

The half time whistle came seconds later, denying City the chance to take the corner.

Going down the tunnel for the interval, Hopkin's side will have been understandably delighted with their efforts in the first period.

The only downside was the fact that City weren't further ahead at the break.

The Bantams ensured they put that one detail right within minutes of the restart though.

After seeing his initial corner delivery headed behind by Dale, Payne played the second corner short; allowing the attacker to burst dangerously into the box.

Payne fired the ball across the area and O'Connor was on hand to flick into the net under the body of Moore.

As they did in the first period, Rochdale again looked to respond with a substitution. Target man Calvin Andrew coming on for Jordan Williams.

Other than an effort from distance by Callum Camps that flew over, though, the second change didn't result in a positive reaction either for the hosts.

City, in fact, were able to go further in front when they won a penalty just before the hour point.

Richard O'Donnell's big kick forward into the Dale box was chased down by Doyle.

As Doyle looked to get the ball under control, he was clipped from behind by Ryan Delaney.

Doyle himself took responsibility for the spot-kick; firing down the middle to add a third goal of the afternoon for City.

The Bantams looked in complete control at this stage, but there was still no let-up from the men in claret and amber.

Payne fired over with a strike from just outside the box shortly after Doyle's penalty.

Ball then forced a save out of Moore minutes later after shooting for goal from a similar distance.

At the other end, Bradden Inman's low drive was held by O'Donnell.

Camps also had a go from a Dale free-kick later in the half, but O'Donnell was able to watch the driven effort go comfortably past his post.

After an eye-catching individual display, all that was missing from Payne's performance was a goal for himself.

The talented attacker nearly got just that eighteen minutes from the end.

His fierce drive from just outside the box had the beating of Moore's dive but the strike flashed inches past the far post.

Payne then set up Doyle soon after for a shooting chance from the edge of the box, but the Irishman's curling drive flew over.

Going into the final ten minutes or so of the encounter, City were cruising to the victory.

Dale did try to scramble home a consolation goal late on, but O'Connor was on hand to crucially kick clear as Henderson looked to pounce for a close range strike.

As Dale put men forward, City nearly caught them out soon after when Ball's pass over the top put Miller in behind the home defence.

Miller lined up a shot inside the box but a recovering M J Williams made a great sliding tackle to deny the forward.

Not to be out-done, though, Miller made sure he got himself on the scoresheet just before the end of normal time - and in some style.

The ball bounced kindly into the path of Miller outside the area and the Middlesbrough man took the strike on first time.

His looping half-volley flew past the despairing dive of Moore and into far corner to spark joyous scenes on the pitch and in the packed away end.

Miller's goal was City's tenth in their last four outings - with the Bantams winning three of those recent encounters.

As Hopkin's side saw out the fourth minutes of injury time that followed, they were also able to claim their third clean-sheet from those four December matches.

 

Match line ups, stats and updates from the Rochdale game can be found via our Match Centre - HERE.

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