Bradford City 4 Bristol Rovers 1
The Bantams moved back into the play-off places with an emphatic victory over John Ward's in-form Bristol Rovers.
A brace from Nahki Wells, and strikes from Andrew Davies and Garry Thompson secured the victory as City leapfrogged Exeter City who were hammered at Rotherham United.
Bradford were lightning quick out of the traps and almost went ahead within the first twenty seconds of the game. James Hanson's knock down was collected by Nahki Wells who cut inside his marker Lee Brown with ease before rattling the crossbar with a curling strike that had beaten Steve Mildenhall all ends up.
The hosts didn't have to wait long for an inevitable opening goal and went ahead in the sixth minute. Hard work and persistence from Garry Thompson paid off as he robbed Lee Brown of possession before racing to the byline and producing a perfect cross to the back post for Nahki Wells to head home from close range.
The goal seemed to briefly bring the visitors to life who went close to equalising through Tom Hitchcock when he hit a low drive from distance a yard wide of the target after he had been picked out in space with a pass infield.
Rovers' defender Danny Woodards was carted off on a stretcher early in the game and his replacement Oliver Clarke was the next to come close to scoring only two minutes after his introduction. The teenager charged down Rory McArdle's attempted clearance to find himself through on goal, his low shot was saved by Jon McLaughlin and Stephen Darby completed the clearance.
James Meredith lead a swift counter attack shortly after following a Rovers' attack; the full back found Kyel Reid with a pass and he delivered a deep cross which was hooked back into the mix by Garry Thompson and the ball found Nahki Wells who forced Steve Mildenhall into a smart save which kept the deficit at just one goal.
City were however, to double their lead a couple of minutes later from the penalty spot; Gary Jones' deep corner was half cleared by an opposition defender, the loose ball was pounced on by Ricky Ravenhill who was brought down by Fabian Broghammer in the process and a penalty kick was awarded immediately by referee Tony Harrington. Nahki Wells stepped up confidently to hammer past Steve Mildenhall into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
The man guilty of conceding the penalty Fabian Broghammer almost made amends for conceding a penalty. The German evaded a challenge from Stephen Darby before laying the ball on a plate for Tom Hitchcock with his accurate cross. Hitchcock really should've beaten Jon McLaughlin with a close range header but he saw his effort superbly saved and Joe Anyinsah's shot from the rebound was blocked and then cleared to safety.
On the stroke of half time The Bantams added a third goal to give themselves an overwhelming lead in the game; following Lee Brown's hefty foul on Kyel Reid that left him down for a couple of minutes, Gary Jones' floated freekick was met by the head of Andrew Davies who beat Steve Mildenhall in an aerial challenge to glance home into the bottom corner.
The Bantams went into the break with a resounding lead but the visitors pulled a goal back just five minutes into the second half. Rory McArdle failed in an attempt to clear the ball and he was robbed by Tom Hitchcock who raced through on goal to slot beyond Jon McLaughlin via the inside of the post.
It took only seven minutes however, for City to restore their three goal cushion. Michael Smith's header backwards towards a teammate was weak and Nahki Wells pounced to thread a ball forward to Garry Thompson who went through on goal; the in-form winger made no mistake in firing past Mildenhall and putting the game beyond all doubt.
City's attacking players were buzzing with confidence all throughout the game and after Wells played a classy one-two with Reid, he cut inside a challenge in the area to force Mildenhall into an impressive low save.
Since The Bantams had earlier restored their three goal cushion, Rovers were being limited in terms of opportunities to go forward but Ryan Brunt fired a yard over the bar from the edge of the area after controlling a floated pass and shrugging off the close scrutiny of Rory McArdle.
Ricky Ravenhill was enjoying yet another solid display in central midfield and he was almost on the scoresheet to top it off; using his chest to knock a loose ball into his own path he proceeded to strike a vicious half volley straight at Steve Mildenhall who held well.
Kyel Reid and late substitute Alan Connell both came close to putting extra gloss on the scoreline. Reid was denied by Mildenhall after holding off a marker in the area to fire towards goal and Connell lofted an angled shot half a yard over the bar after he'd tricked his way into the area.
All in all City had produced a terrific performance and result against a vastly improved and very much in-form Bristol Rovers to move back into the play-off places. A tough double header follows now as The Bantams travel to Chesterfield on Saturday before playing hosts to Rotherham United the following Tuesday night. Interesting times ahead for all concerned!