Bradford City 4 (Kilgallon 8, Wyke, 40, Poleon 42, Robinson 78)
Rochdale 3 (Henderson 41, 45+2, Davies 75)
Saturday 9th December 2017 | Sky Bet League One | Northern Commercials Stadium
It sure was an exciting encounter at Valley Parade on Saturday afternoon and a one filled with action at both ends of the pitch. The Bantams will be delighted to come out of the game with three points after being pegged back late on. Matthew Kilgallon gave the hosts the lead and Charlie Wyke scored a superb header five minutes before the break. Ian Henderson scored seconds later and then less than a minute after that, Dominic Poleon restored the two goal deficit. Henderson scored a fantastic goal on the stroke of half time to half the deficit again and just three minutes after Steven Davies' equaliser, Tyrell Robinson scored what would be the winning goal.
City were the team applying the pressure in the early stages of the game and Charlie Wyke could have had a brace inside the first five minutes of the game but it was Matthew Kilgallon who found the net first in what was to be a game of many goals. The central defender profited after Nathaniel Knight-Percival sent the ball across the six-yard box following Tony McMahon's cross.
Rochdale were gifted a golden opportuity to level things up shortly afterwards when Rouven Sattelmaier had been adjudged to have brought down Oliver Rathbone in the box. Fortunately though, the German stopper guessed correctly and got down low to save Ian Henderson's spot kick.
Dominic Poleon and Alex Gilliead were both denied goals of their own by Josh Lillis before Donervon Daniels recovered to halt the former as he looked to run through and latch onto Charlie Wyke's intelligent through ball. Paul Taylor had the next opportunity but he saw a shot from 20 yards held after he'd turned away and left Joe Rafferty in his wake.
Rafferty himself had a chance of his own down at the other end but he saw a shot on his weaker left-foot whilst inches wide of the post with Sattelmaier rooted. Wyke's contribution to the team this season has been essential and he notched his 10th goal of the season with a superb looping header which found the net via the underside of the crossbar five minutes before the break.
Inside the following minute, Ian Henderson halved the deficit in slightly fortuitous circumstances. Callum Camps dragged a shot straight into the Dale skipper's path and one-on-one with Sattelmaier, he made no mistake in finding the net.
Remarkably, virtually straight from the restart Dominic Poleon found the net to restore the two-goal deficit turning home Alex Gilliead's cross in emphatic fashion. Time for another goal? Absolutely. However, it was for Rochdale and Henderson once again. Sent chasing a Calvin Andrew, with the angle against him, he lashed a first time shot into the top corner virtually on the half-time whistle.
Early in the second half, Rochdale came out to apply the pressure with the bit between their teeth and Kgosi Ntlhe went close with a looping header before Lillis denied Gilliead in a one-on-one situation after Wyke had picked him out with a through ball.
Paul Taylor was impressive once again for Stuart McCall's side and he saw a shot from distance held onto by Lillis after Wyke had once again battled tirelessly and managed to get a pass away under pressure.
With 15 minutes remaining on the clock, former Bantams forward Steven Dvaies scored with pretty much his first touch after coming off the bench; blasting the ball low and hard through a sea of bodies and past Sattelmaier to score the equalising goal for his side.
Despair turned to joy though a few minutes later as City's lead was restored. Wyke was sure to play some part in a potential winning goal and it was his pass that sent Tyrell Robinson through and he kept his calm to round Lillis before hitting the ball into the empty goal in front of an ecstatic Kop.
Ntlhe wasted a glorious opportunity to level things up again when he headed straight at Sattelmaier after Camps' cross had dropped into his path at the far post and 5 added minutes at the end of the 90 was never going to be any good for the nerves.
In the fourth of the five of those minutes the ball fell to Henderson on a hat-trick after Davies' low centre had caused problems but thankfully he spurned the chance to be a hero and blasted the ball over the bar.