Bradford 2 - 0 Rochdale
Date published: 04 October 2021
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Bradford City maintained their unbeaten home form with a goal in each half to send Rochdale back over the Pennines pointless. Alex Gilliead reacted quickest after Joel Coleman made a smart save with the winger slotting home the loose ball just before half-time. The match was won midway through the second period from the penalty spot; Dale captain Eoghan O’Connell adjudged to have felled Levi Sutton inside the area with Andy Cook slamming home the spot kick. Dale had chances throughout the game, but poor finishing cost them dear.
Manager Robbie Stockdale made two changes from the side that lost to Oldham last weekend. Stephen Dooley and Abraham Odoh were given starts.
Rochdale almost got off to a dream start when Danny Cashman broke down the left before picking out Corey O’Keeffe racing in at the back post; the on-loan defenders’ chance well blocked by two defenders.
The game was a real end to end affair in the opening stages and when Callum Cooke picked out the run of Charles Vernam, the winger saw his angled shot deflect towards the near post with Coleman having to be alert to push the ball behind for a corner.
The Dale defending was weak at times and when Andy Cook saw two efforts blocked, he had space for a third with Coleman saving low to his right.
Bradford are the best supported side in League Two and the majority of the 15,000 home fans thought their side had scored just after the half hour mark. Vernam was again the instigator as he burst down the left; his shot going the wrong side of the post and hitting the side netting.
Rochdale then had a spell of sustained attack but couldn’t find the finishing touch. Some great work between O’Keeffe and Cashman saw the full back inside the area before pulling the ball back to Beesley whose shot was deflected wide.
The visitors should have scored a minute later but failed to hit the target. Morley’s delightful through ball found Cashman down the right who pulled the ball back to Odoh in space, but the diminutive winger fired horribly over when he should have done better and that miss was to prove crucial as Bradford took the lead soon after.
A throw in down the left was eventually worked to Sutton on the edge of the area. His low shot was only parried by Coleman with Gilliead on hand to tap the ball into the net.
Stockdale’s men tried in vain to level before the break. A great ball in from deep by Morley needed a slight touch to take it towards goal; Beesley getting far too much on the header and the ball flew high over whilst Jimmy Keohane did work home keeper Richard O’Donnell in first half stoppage time; his header lacking any real power to trouble the stopper.
Cashman, who was a thorn in the Bradford side once again burst forward before seeing his shot hit the side netting; Beesley lambasting the winger for not passing as he was in a better position to his right.
The chance for Odoh in the first half was almost replicated for Cashman midway through the second half. O’Keeffe finding Cashman unmarked in front of goal; the on-loan Coventry player seeing the same result as Odoh as he fired high over the bar.
Bradford then took control and almost doubled their lead the nineteen minutes left to play. Vernam was played through and with only Coleman to beat, he tried rounding the Dale keeper who just got a hand to the ball to take the player wide before eventually snuffing out the danger.
The reprieve was to be short lived though as Bradford were awarded a penalty. With defender O’Connell pushing forward to help get back on level terms, the ball was turned over cheaply high up the field with Sutton racing down the right with O’Connell trying his best to keep up with the pace. The two tangled outside the area but as they entered the penalty box; Sutton went down rather easily with referee James Bell awarding what looked a soft penalty. Andy Cook made no mistake firing the ball under Coleman to make it 2-0.
With the two-goal advantage, Bradford were happy to soak up any Dale pressure. O’Connell had appeals for a penalty waived away when he tussled with a defender whilst substitute Alex Newby latched onto a long O’Connell throw in, but could only stab his effort wide of the post.
Defeat means its three losses on the trot now in all competitions for Stockdale’s side who need to find some goalscoring form if they want to turn around this mini blip.
Rochdale: Coleman, Graham, O’Connell ©, Dorsett, O’Keeffe. Keohane (Done 84), Morley, Dooley (Kelly 70), Odoh (Newby 62), Cashman, Beesley
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, Taylor, Grant, Broadbent
Bradford: O’Donnell, Threlkeld, Sutton (Evans 85), Songo’o, O’Connor ©, Ridehalgh, Cooke, Gilliead, Vernam (Robinson 82), Cook, Watt
Substitutes: (not used) Hornby, Foulds, Kelleher, Cousin-Dawson, Scales
Referee: Mr J Bell
Assistants: Mr W Grunnill & Mr P Gooch
Fourth Official: Mr C Boyeson
Attendance:15,809 (744 from Rochdale)
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