A much-changed City side commendably battled it out to secure a creditable point away at Rochdale on the final day of the regular league campaign.
Alex Jones, one of only two players to keep his place from last Saturday's win over AFC Wimbledon, fired Stuart McCall's side into a ninth-minute lead.
Pushing to get themselves into the final play-off berth, Rochdale engineered some bright scoring opportunities later in the first period but they were repelled by the impressive Rouven Sattelmaier.
City could have actually doubled their half-time advantage when the fit-again Alex Gilliead struck the bar.
Sattelmaier was finally beaten in the sixty-sixth minute when Matthew Lund prodded home after he was played into space in the box by the threatening Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Dale pushed forward for a winner as their play-off dreams slipped away but City were good value for their share of the spoils.
Despite Rochdale's pressure, City actually hit the woodwork again following Lund's leveller when Daniel Devine's shot from a corner struck the outside of the post.
The Bantams, who handed league debuts to Matthew Penney, Ellis Hudson and Daniel Pybus from the bench in the second period, did have to survive one scare in the final minute of normal time, however, when Matthew Kilgallon cleared off the line.
After an encouraging display from a young City side, the only downside of the day really was the sight of goalscorer Jones limping off with a hamstring injury on the hour mark.
Results elsewhere on the final day mean that McCall's men will now play Fleetwood Town in the play-off semi-finals. Scunthorpe United and Millwall will face off in the other semi.
FT: Rochdale 1 Bradford City 1
90min: There will be five minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
90min: Off the post and the line! Noble-Lazarus' driven free-kick for goal from just outside the box is pushed away by Sattelmaier. Raffety looks to head the ball back towards goal, the effort hits the far post and then Kigallon kicks clear on the line!
89min: Pybus leads a dangerous City counter-attack. The midfielder plays the ball out to fellow substitute Hudson. The young winger tries to work a shooting opportunity inside the box but he is crowded out and his eventual effort towards goal is held by Logan by his near post.
89min: Noble-Lazarus' driven ball across the six yard box is a dangerous one. City just about manage to keep it out before Toner kicks clear outside the box.
86min: SUB - Rochdale bring on Reuben Noble-Lazarus for Lund.
86min: A superb strike by Timothee Dieng from some distance out is held at the second attempt by Logan.
84min: A lot moment of laughter for the away supporters as a sprinkler randomly comes on briefly by the side of the pitch nearest the City fans!
81min: Mendez-Laing's corner delivery comes out to Jamie Allen just outside the box but the midfielder's rising drive flies over.
77min: YELLOW CARD - Lund is booked for a late tackle on Darby as the right back looked to clear up field.
76min: A forceful run into the box by Mendez-Laing eventually ends in the attacker's shot for goal blocked by Kilgallon. Cannon looks to sneak the ball home on the rebound but his close range effort is blocked by Sattelmaier.
75min: Close from Daniel Devine! Hudson's corner delivery is flicked on by Penney and Devine's strike for goal from deep inside the box hits the outside of Logan's post!
73min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Daniel Pybus for Clarke.
72min: SUB - Dale take off first half sub McDermott, replacing him with Andrew Cannon.
71min: Penney plays Clarke into space down City's left flank. Clarke just manages to keep the ball in play and square from the byline, Hudson looks to fire in but his effort is blocked by Bunney.
69min: Joe Rafferty heads comfortably over from McDermott's corner delivery.
66min: GOAL - Rochdale 1 Bradford City 1 - Lund equalises for Dale. Mendez-Laing bursts away from Stephen Darby before playing Lund into space in behind City's defensive line. With only Sattelmaier to beat, the midfielder makes no mistake, prodding home into the far corner from deep inside the box.
63min: Penney, who appears to be playing on City's left wing, plays the ball in-field to Clarke, who fires wide with a powerfully-struck effort from outside the box.
62min: Andrew fires wide from just inside the box after being found in a pocket of space by Camps.
60min: Another big stop from Sattelmaier! Mendez-Laing plays Lund in with a clear sight of goal deep inside the box but the 'keeper is out again to make another key block.
60min: SUB - Jones is indeed replaced, as Matthew Penney comes on for his first action in City colours.
59min: Play is halted briefly as Jones is attended to by physio Dayle Avison. He appears to have picked up a problem with his left foot - it seems he is coming off.
57min: Lund heads wide following Mendez-Laing's lofted cross into the box.
55min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Ellis Hudson for Gilliead.
55min: Camps plays the ball across the edge of the box to McDermott, the substitute Dale attacker goes for goal but his low effort flashes just wide of goal.
50min: McArdle glances a header wide of the far post from Clarke's resulting corner into the box.
49min: Clarke leads a City counter-attack, the striker tees up Hiwula but his shot from the edge of the box is blocked behind by Bunney.
49min: Camps looks to play a one-two with Andrew deep inside City's penalty but Kilgallon is in the right place to make the vital interception, denying the midfielder a close range shot at goal.
48min: Mendez-Laing plays the ball across the box to Lund but his strike for goal is blocked via a diving tackle from Kilgallon.
47min: Mendez-Laing gets away from McArdle by the right-hand channel of City's penalty area but his driven strike across goal from the byline is repelled by Sattelmaier.
46min: Rochdale restart the match.
HT: Rochdale 0 Bradford City 1
45+2min: McArdle heads over from Clarke's resulting corner delivery towards the far post.
45+2min: Gilliead feeds the ball into Jones by the right-hand channel of Dale's penalty area. The Bantams striker instantly fires for goal and the swerving effort from an angle has to be blocked behind by Logan.
45min: There will be two minutes of time added on at the end of the first half.
45min: Mendez-Laing squares the ball to Lund by the edge of the area but the midfielder's rising drive flies comfortably wide.
41min: Clarke's low drive from outside the box is held by Logan.
40min: Alex Gilliead hits the bar! Clarke's low cross into the six yard box is cleared by Harrison McGahey but only as far as the lurking Gilliead inside the box. Gilliead takes a touch and then looks to pick out the top corner with a side-footed effort, but the shot crashes against the bar!
38min: A good passing move involving Clarke and Jordy Hiwula eventually ends with the former seeing a shot blocked inside the box as he looked to fire at goal.
34min: Joe Bunney sends a looping header over from McDermott resulting corner delivery towards the far post.
34min: Another good save from Sattelmaier! Mendez-Laing squares the ball across the box to Andrew, the Dale striker fires powerfully for goal but the effort is tipped over via a superb one-handed save from Sattelmaier!
29min: Matthew Lund tries his luck with a looping effort on the half-volley from outside the area but the effort drops comfortably wide of Sattelmaier's goal.
26min: Toner and Kilgallon fail to prevent Mendez-Laing from collecting the ball outside the area and driving towards City's penalty box. Now just outside the box, Mendez-Laing fires for goal and the low effort rolls just wide of Sattelmaier's far post.
23min: Camps' low drive from just outside the box is repelled by Sattelmaier. Andrew looks to cash in on the rebound deep inside the box but the City 'keeper is alert enough to get back up and tackle the Dale striker, resulting in the ball looping up and over the net for a goal-kick.
20min: Big shout for a penalty turned down for the hosts! As Mendez-Laing bursts deep in City's penalty area, the winger appears to stumble over under the challenge of Matthew Kilgallon. The home fans scream for a spot-kick but referee Mr Martin waves away the appeals.
18min: A good chance for Rochdale and a good save for Sattelmaier! A low cross into the middle from Andrew isn't cleared properly by Kevin Toner, allowing Mendez-Laing behind him to get on the ball. Mendez-Laing looks to slot the ball past Sattelmaier but the German shot-stopper makes himself big to produce an important block.
9min: SUB - Dale are eventually able to replace Henderson, Donal McDermott comes on in his place.
9min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!! Rochdale 0 Bradford City 1 - Alex Jones fires City into the lead! Just seconds after Henderson's departure, Billy Clarke gets in space down City's right flank and squares the ball to Jones in the box. Now in possession, the striker wrong-foots Dale 'keeper Conrad Logan with a low left-footed drive into the corner.
9min: Rochdale skipper Ian Henderson appears to have suffered an early injury and he has to leave the field, meaning the hosts are temporarily down to ten men.
7min: Calvin Andrew's low drive from roughly twenty yards out is easily gathered up by Sattelmaier.
5min: Mendez-Laing drives forward at pace deep into City's penalty area down the right-hand channel of the area. The winger's strike for goal from a tight angle by the byline beats the dive of McArdle but Sattelmaier behind him is able to block behind for a corner.
2min: Nathaniel Mendez-Laing's free-kick into the box from wide is headed out by Rory McArdle. Callum Camps fires the ball back towards goal on the volley from just outside the box but the dipping effort is held by Rouven Sattelmaier.
0min: The Bantams kick off the match.
ROCHDALE LINE UP:
Logan, Rafferty, McNulty, McGahey, Bunney, Lund, Allen, Camps, Mendez-Laing, Henderson, Andrew
Subs: Wilson, Canavan, Vincenti, McDermott, Rathbone, Noble-Lazarus, Cannon
McDermott for Henderson (9), Cannon for McDermott (72), Noble-Lazarus for Lund (86)
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP:
Sattelmaier, Darby, McArdle, Kilgallon, Toner, Gilliead, Dieng, Devine, Hiwula, Clarke, Jones
Subs: Doyle, Hanson, Penney, Pybus, Knight-Percival, Hudson, Peters
Bradford City substitutions:
Hudson for Gilliead (55), Penney for Jones (60), Pybus for Clarke (73)
Referee: S Martin
Assistant Referee: J Hunt
Assistant Referee: A Fox
Fourth Official: M Salisbury