Bradford City 1 (Vincelot 21)
Rotherham United 0
Saturday 16th September | Sky Bet League One | Northern Commercials Stadium
Romain Vincelot scored his third goal in as many games to help City to a first win against Rotherham United in eight attempts. City edged a fiercely competitive half and the Bantams skipper connected with a Tony McMahon cross to thump a header past a helpless Marek Rodak in the Millers' goal. Paul Warne's men piled the pressure on in the second half but couldn't do enough to prevent defeat to Stuart McCall's in-form side.
The first meeting between the two sides in some three and-a-half years, there was bound to be a degree of tenacity on show and there certainly was. Nicky Law, coming up against a team he spent a couple of years with, forced United stopper into a panicked punch with a teasing cross, before Alex Gilliead fired over the bar from distance.
The first real chance came the visitors. Nathaniel Knight-Percival jumped with the imposing Kieffer Moore and committed a foul just outside the box; the resulting free-kick, taken by Jon Taylor, went under the wall but was held onto by Colin Doyle.
Loanee midfielder Richie Towell then had a chance of his own for the South Yorkshire club. Joe Mattock marauded forward from the left-back position and his cross came to the Irishman on the edge of the box, but he skewed a shot harmlessly wide of the mark.
Dominic Poleon was back in the team after a substitute appearance at Oxford on Tuesday evening and he had his first sniff of goal shortly afterwards. Law won the ball high up the field and picked out the in-form forward who was denied bravely by Rodak in the Millers' goal.
Tony McMahon was penalied for a foul on Jon Taylor, Stuart McCall and the City fans saw it as just a coming together and the Bantams boss was furious with the decision in United's favour. There were some afters between McMahon and Taylor seconds later further down the pitch and that only added to the spicy atmosphere.
Towell had another shooting chance which he wasted before City scored to break the deadlock. Tony McMahon was once again the provider for Romain Vincelot to head past Rodak for his third goal in as many games.
The two combined for City's next chance but the roles were reversed. Vincelot picked out McMahon's run into the box with a beautifully weighted pass and the ball eventually broke to Law who lashed a first time shot over the bar.
Jon Taylor was always bound to look lively for the away side and he was denied an equaliser by some outstanding Matthew Kilgallon defending. The nippy winger helped the ball towards goal with Colin Doyle grounded and with Kieffer Moore crashing in for the tap-in, the City defender made a very brave an important intervention.
Colin Doyle had arguably his best performance of the season between the sticks for City and he had to be alert to keep out a Michael Ihiekwe header after he had connected with Will Vaulks' excellently delivered deep cross from the right-hand side.
Dominic Poleon has been in fine form in front of goal so far this season and he was denied another goal on the stroke of half time. Nicky Law's pass was helped on by Alex Gilliead into the path of Poleon and after struggling to get the ball under full control, he eventually engineered a shot from a tight angle which was kept out by Rodak.
Rotherham were quick out of the traps at the start of the second half and Doyle held onto a deflected Ryan Williams effort with the visitors beginning to knock on the door. The Irish stopper had to be at his best a few minutes later to keep Richie Towell's shot out.
Lee Frecklington was a hat-trick hero for the visitors in their mid-week drubbing of Walsall and he went close to scoring again with a powerful header which fizzed just wide of the target. Doyle was showing no signs of being beaten and he heled onto Taylor's well-struck low drive from the edge of the box.
Frecklington continued to try and get his name on the scoresheet and after Doyle kept out Towell's low drive, Nathaniel Knight-Percival produced a tremendous block to keep out the United skipper's follow-up; it was certainly a block that had to be made.
Nicky Law had City's next opportunity. He showed great desire to pick up the ball in a deep-lying position and surge forward to try and carve Rotherham open. The energetic midfielder played a neat one-two with Charlie Wyke to get into the box, but he was eventually halted by a combination of goalkeeper and defender.
Knight-Percival saw a header kept out by Rodak after he'd connected with McMahon's cross as City looked to score a second to sew up the victory. One goal proved to be enough for the Bantams who defended resolutely in the latter stages particualrly, to record another impressive victory.