The Bantams got back to winning ways in superb fashion with a fantastic away victory at Rochdale. City went ahead through Lee Evans who tapped in his first goal for the club from close range, only to be pegged back seven minutes later when Peter Vincenti levelled proceedings. Phil Parkinson’s men were outstanding in the second period, however, and goals from Devante Cole and an own goal from Dale central defender Oliver Lancashire proved enough to settle the fixture.
There wasn’t many chances at either end in a cagey opening to a game which would later spark into life. The hosts had a clear outlet in the form of Calvin Andrew up front, and the towering attacker headed over the bar after Vincenti had picked him out with a cross into the 18 yard box.
City took the lead with their first real attempt on goal shortly after, and it was Wolves loanee Evans who got on the scoresheet, his first for the club and he won’t score many easier ones.
After Devante Cole was fouled just outside the 18 yard box, Tony McMahon stepped up to take the free kick and his attempt deflected off the wall and into the path of the Welsh midfielder who made no mistake from roughly five yards out.
Frustration then became the key word shortly after when Rochdale levelled things up in rather fortunate fashion. A stray pass from James Meredith was played into the path of Callum Camps and his shot from the edge of the area was well off target but transformed into what turned out to be a great cross for Vincenti, who tapped in from close range.
The teams going into the half time interval all square was probably a correct reflection of the first half between two teams who had cancelled each other out somewhat. City started the second half on the front foot though, and Cole saw an attempt held onto by Dale stopper Josh Lillis after he had got the better of Jimmy McNulty.
City were certainly pushing for the next goal and Evans almost got on the scoresheet again; two Dale players seemed to get in each other’s way and the ball fell kindly to Evans who rounded one man before seeing a shot pushed away by Lillis.
Just before the hour mark though, the goal came and it was Cole who got it, scoring his 4th goal in the claret & amber of Bradford City. Steven Davies showed great work rate to rob McNulty of possession and his low centre was almost turned into his own goal by Joe Raffety; Lillis had to make a save before Cole scrambled home the loose ball from close range.
Kyel Reid had an impressive second half display and shortly after one of his trademark left flank runs and crosses towards Davies forced a corner kick. From the resulting set-piece, the Bantams doubled the advantage; Evans’ delivery towards the centre after the initial corner had been cleared was headed on the stretch by Lancashire at the near post. The ball looped over Lillis and into the far corner to send close to 2,000 away fans into rapturous celebration.
The Bantams looked rampant after going 3-1 up and Davies almost got the goal his performance deserved; he took Reid’s cross on the chest before attempting a sublime over-head kick from 10 yards out which dropped inches wide of the post.
A couple of minutes later down the other end, Calvin Andrew missed great chance to get his side back into the game; Tom Kennedy’s delivered a cross into the area which wasn’t fully cleared by the fist of Ben Williams and Andrew blazed over on the volley, a gilt edged opportunity in all honesty.
Keith Hill rolled the dice with a triple substitution in the latter stages of the game and one of those introductions was Matthew Lund; he missed a chance of his own with a header that went over the bar.
Lund was at it again mid-way through a hefty five minutes of additional time, but his free kick from 20 yards was kept out by a brilliant single handed save from the returning Ben Williams in goal.