The Bantams recorded their second win in as many league matches with a battling victory against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday afternoon. Devante Cole swooped to score his fifth goal of the season after just 50 seconds of the match, a goal which ultimately proved to be the winner. Rovers had plenty of the ball and both teams had chances to get on the score-sheet during the remainder of the game but Phil Parkinson’s men held on for a superb three points.
Backed by over 2,500 supporters who had travelled from West Yorkshire to South, they were sent into celebration less than a minute after the referee had sounded his first whistle. City won a throw-in deep into Rovers’ half and Lee Evans catapulted one into the area, Rory McArdle flicked the ball on and Cole reacted quickest to prod the ball past Thorsten Stuckmann.
City started the game very brightly, and undoubtedly on the front foot and could’ve doubled the lead within a few minutes; Evans’ corner was helped on by Gary Liddle at the near post and Reece Burke couldn’t quite get onto the ball at the far post on the stretch, although he was unmarked to do so.
Midway through the first half, Rovers thought they had found the equaliser, only to see it chalked off by the referee. Richard Chaplow’s corner wasn’t dealt with fully by the City defensive ranks and Gary MacKenzie headed towards goal, before the ball was helped in by Keshi Anderson. The referee booked Anderson for appearing to handle the ball in the process of helping it over the line, although the Rovers frontman argued MacKenzie’s attempt was over the line in the first place.
City were undone by two set-pieces in the mid-week Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit at the hands of Barnsley, but look a real threat themselves from set-pieces themselves. Tony McMahon’s free kick was headed across goal by McArdle and Liddle rose highest with a header that went inches over the bar.
Before the half was out, there was time for Kyel Reid to come close with a couple of efforts. The first one from 20 yards on his weaker right foot was kept out well by former Preston North End teammate Stuckmann. Hs next one didn’t trouble the big German stopper quite as much, an attempt from the edge of the area trickling a yard wide.
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair was brought on early in the first half for the injured Andy Butler and his cross from the left hand side was controlled expertly by Chaplow before seeing his goal bound attempt blocked heroically by Burke to leave the home side frustrated.
McMahon is known to be capable from dead ball situations and his free kick midway through the second half had City fans on their feet for a moment. After Cole was fouled, McMahon stepped up to curl a free kick across Stuckmann and towards the far corner, but it dropped just wide - it would’ve been some strike.
Rovers were pressing more and more in an attempt to find the equalising goal and they almost got it through former Swindon Town frontman Andy Williams; James Coppinger’s cross dropped to Williams and his thump towards goal was palmed away by his namesake, Ben Williams.
Rob Jones was enduring his last appearance in the dugouts at Rovers before Darren Ferguson takes the reigns, following his appointment as manager on Friday morning. Jones brought on Nathan Tyson and he almost got the equaliser; after the hosts had counter attacked with pace and purpose, the former Nottingham Forest man fired a shot across goal which went inches wide of the far post.
Former Bantam loanee defender Gary MacKenzie had had a tough afternoon against the pace of Cole, Reid and Marshall, but he almost got the equaliser in the last minute of the 90; on as a substitute, Harry Middleton delivered a corner kick which the Scot could only head wide of the target slightly on the stretch.
Oscar Gobern had Rovers’ last attempt during the three additional minutes, rifling a shot wide of the target from 25 yards.
So City back to winning ways after the loss to Barnsley earlier in the week. A massive week for the Bantams awaits now, with the home double header against two of the league’s form teams, Bury and Wigan Athletic.