Football: Bradford 1 - 2 Rochdale

Date published: 13 November 2019

Rochdale came from behind to beat Bradford City in the final group game of the EFL Trophy but couldn’t get the margin of victory needed to progress to the knockout stages.

Dale went behind to Tyler French’ close range flick and could have been further behind when Aaron Wilbraham brought down Kelvin Mellor inside the box; Jay Lynch saving Aramide Oteh’s penalty. Jake Reeves struck the cross bar for the hosts before Brian Barry-Murphy’s men turned the game around with two goals in six minutes before half-time. Rekeil Pyke’s super shot into the top corner drew parity before Fabio Tavares nipped in ahead of the Bradford goal-keeper to poke in.

As with previous games in this competition, the Dale manager used a mix of youth and experience making seven changes from the side that played two days earlier in the FA Cup tie at Wrexham. Youth team defender Joe Dunne was given his debut at centre back whilst Harrison Hopper was given his first senior start. First year professionals Fabio Tavares and Lewis Bradley were also given starts.

Bradford looked lively in the early stages and took the lead on 15 minutes through French. The defender ghosted in to flick a left wing free-kick past Lynch.

Bradford should have doubled their advantage from the penalty spot when referee Drysdale awarded a spot kick after Wilbraham’s clumsy challenge on Mellor. Oteh stepped up but Lynch got a firm block to keep the score-line at 1-0.

Jake Reeves crashed a shot off the cross-bar as Bradford pushed for a second but the next goal went Dale’s way.

Rekeil Pyke powered a shot from the edge of the area into the top corner for his third goal of the season to draw Rochdale level.

The game was turned around minutes later; Tavares latching onto a Jimmy Ryan ball over the top to touch past Sykes-Kenworthy.

Stoppage time at the end of the first half almost created more goals. Hopper’s weak header was spilled by the Bradford keeper but he made amends when he was up quickly to block Wilbraham’s close range effort.

At the other end, Lynch spilled Mellor’s driven shot and as he tried to recover, Oteh went over the Dale keeper but the referee was unmoved.

Bradford pressed after the interval but couldn’t find a way past Lynch. The former Fylde stopper pulled off a great one handed save from Ismail whilst Cooke was left frustrated when Lynch pushed two of his dipping shots over the bar.

The win brought Dale level with Bolton in the group standings but Keith Hill’s side go through to the knockout stages courtesy of their superior goal difference.


Rochdale: Lynch, Gillam, Keohane, Dunne, Done, Ryan (Camps 79), Bradley (Clarkson 79), Hopper, Wilbraham (c), Tavares, Pyke (Baah 61)
Substitutes: (not used) Sanchez, Brierley

Bradford: Sykes-Kenworthy, Mellor, O’Connor, French, Longridge, Anderson, Reeves (c)(Taylor 62), Cooke, Ismail, Patrick (Richards-Everton 75), Oteh (Devine 63)
Substitutes: (not used) Akpan, O’Donnell

Referee:  Mr D Drysdale
Assistants: Mr I Smedley & Mr O Bickle
4th Official: Mr S Wade

Attendance: 761 (65 from Rochdale)

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