The Bantams recorded their second home win in a week with a victory against Doncaster Rovers that pushed Phil Parkinson’s men up into the play-off places for the first time since before the turn of the year. Jamie Proctor scored a pair of headers to put City in control and although Nathan Tyson’s goal on the stroke of the ninetieth minute caused a comfortable of nervy moments, the hosts held on for an important victory against their South Yorkshire counterparts.
Doncaster began the game quite while and were picking up some scraps in the middle of the park with the extra man in midfield to begin with, setting up in a diamond formation. City took the lead with the first real opportunity of the game and it was a text-book move; Proctor, who passed a fitness test pre-match to play, picked out Billy Clarke and the forward delivered a teasing cross to the far post which was buried by the head of his strike partner for his second goal in a Bradford City shirt.
City began to stamp their authority against Doncaster but they had a big penalty appeal turned down by referee Neil Swarbrick just after the half hour. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair lumped one forward into City’s penalty area and Andy Williams took a tumble under pressure from James Meredith but the adamant appeals were calmly dismissed.
The Bantams were looking for a second goal and produced a slick passing move to get forward quickly, the visitors temporarily put a halt to the move but the loose ball was picked up by Josh Cullen, and he lashed one from the edge of the area which went a yard or so wide of the target.
There was still time before the half time interval for City to go close again, this time through Tony McMahon who had become a bit of a pantomime villain with the 400 or so Doncaster supporters in the TL Dallas Stand; the entertaining wide midfielder tried his luck with a free kick from 25 yards which dipped and landed on the roof of the net, going inches over the bar.
City scored again just after the interval to gain a firm grip on the game, and once again it was that man Proctor who got it. Meredith delivered an excellent cross from the left hand side and Proctor glanced a superb header into the bottom corner to leave Thorsten Stuckmann rooted to the spot and Doncaster with a proverbial mountain to climb.
Proctor was trying to turn provider the next time City went forward, and after knocking the ball down into the path of Lee Evans, the Welshman let loose with a volley from a difficult starting position which lacked the power and was held with relative ease by Stuckmann.
Doncaster were looking for ways to get back in the game on the counter attack and either side of McMahon going close with a volley that went over the bar, Andy Williams headed over and then failed to connect with Cedric Evina’s wonderful cross after Nathan Tyson also couldn’t latch onto the same cross with his legs at full stretch sprawled inside the six yard box.
Billy Clarke was impressing with an eye-catching display alongside Proctor and after going close with a snapshot from 20 yards, he latched onto Proctor’s nod down before beating a couple of Rovers defenders inside the box and ultimately seeing a firm right footed shot kept out well by Stuckmann.
Williams was at the heart of the majority of Doncaster chances in the second half and he almost conjured up a brilliant goal; after getting the better of Nathan Clarke with some neat skill on the left flank, he cut inside before seeing a powerful angled drive go inches wide of the far corner.
A goal for the visitors did come, however, in the last minute of the normal 90; after latching onto Williams’ flick on, Tyson emerged through a crowd of City defenders to prod a shot past Ben Williams from close range.
It was ultimately going to prove just a consolation goal for Darren Ferguson’s side, but Williams almost levelled it up in injury time. Lynden Gooch showed show trickery to get to the byline and the Sunderland loanee picked out Doncaster’s leading scorer who saw a shot deflect just inches wide of the post with Ben Williams rooted to the spot.
City are back in the top six and face a trip to promotion-chasing Wigan Athletic next weekend in what’s gearing up to be another exciting game for Phil Parkinson and his players.