A tremendous second half performance from the Bantams put fellow play-off chasers Doncaster Rovers to the sword, raising City up to 7th and putting them right back in the hunt for a hugely sought after place in the top six.
The first half was fairly even with both teams having their chances but goals from Gary MacKenzie, Billy Clarke and Tony McMahon weren’t answered to by Paul Dickov’s men and a determined Bradford City marked their recovery from Tuesday night’s defeat in superb fashion.
After starting several of City's recent games in an attacking midfield role, Clarke was asked to support James Hanson in attack at Doncaster.
With the recalled duo of Mark Yeates and Filipe Morais on the left and right wings respectively, City began with a 4-4-1-1 formation at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Doncaster had an early chance just seconds into the game and it was Jonson Clarke-Harris who spurned it, turning Harry Forrester’s low cross wide at the near post to let City off the hook.
The home side had a big penalty appeal turned down by referee Graham Salisbury; a cross was delivered into the area and towards the far post, Clarke-Harris looked to anticipate it and went down under what looked a bit of a shove in the back by Stephen Darby. You couldn’t be certain on the contact made at first viewing but it looked one that could go either way.
Filipe Morais was back in the side after serving a three match suspension following his dismissal at Reading in the FA Cup Quarter-Final replay and he had a lively display on the right flank. After getting in behind Rovers left back Enda Stevens, his cross floated across the area and James Hanson headed wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.
Doncaster began to take the game by the scruff of the neck towards the end of the first half and had some chances to take the lead in the game. Richie Wellens’ cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Clarke-Harris and Andy Butler just didn’t have the legs to reach the loose ball for what would have been a tap in.
On the stroke of half-time, the home side came as close as anybody had come in the first half; Curtis Main shifted the ball onto his favoured left foot before seeing a powerful drive come back off the post and Harry Forrester tumbled in the area in search of a penalty as he looked to get onto the loose ball.
The hosts shouted for a spot-kick but instead the offside flag saved Parkinson's men.
The Bantams took the lead ten minutes into the second half through Gary MacKenzie for his first goal in the colours of Bradford City. James Hanson had gone close with a header that was blocked well by Butler and Morais delivered a second cross into the area, Hanson knocked the ball down and MacKenzie scrambled home bravely, picking up whack in the process and having to receive a bit of treatment.
Doncaster had an immediate chance to level the scores after the opening goal; Harry Forrester’s low cutback made it’s way to former Bantams loanee on the edge of the area and his thunderous drive was pushed over the bar superbly by Ben Williams.
Rovers had their keeper Stephen Bywater to thank shortly after, making an incredible save to keep his team in the game. City were causing problems from set-pieces and after MacKenzie had knocked Yeates’ delivery down, Knott was somehow denied from close range.
City doubled the lead just after the hour mark and it was Billy Clarke who scored, punishing the hosts for some slack defending; a hopeful ball forward saw James Hanson in a foot race with Luke McCullough and Hanson got the edge before holding the ball up and teeing Clarke up to hammer a shot past Bywater from the edge of the area.
Paul Dickov reacted with a double substitution shortly after, bringing Nathan Tyson and another former Bantams loanee in Kyle Bennett into the fray. The next chance though belonged to City; Richie Wellens who looked so assured in possession early on, gave the ball straight to Hanson on the edge of the area and the big frontman shot early but saw his attempt go a yard or so over Bywater’s bar.
Doncaster introduced youngster Liam Mandeville as a late substitution, in attempt to throw everything and the kitchen sink at City to try get back into the game and he saw a curling shot from just inside the area plucked out of the air and held onto well by Williams who had a more than capable display in between the sticks.
In the dying seconds of injury time, City sealed the result with a 3rd goal through Tony McMahon; a long ball forward saw a Rovers defender slip allowing the Blackpool loanee and he showed great composure to slot past Bywater and put the proverbial icing on the cake, sparking a great team celebration in front of the dug out.