Exhilarating

Bradford’s exhilarating first half attacking display was enough to see off Rotherham in this Yorkshire derby clash at Valley Parade.

In one of the most entertaining game seen at home for some years, Rotherham proved to be more than capable opponents as they threatened regularly in the first half. But it was City who got the early breakthrough.

Omar Daley’s persistence in pressurizing Rotherham right back Dale Tonge paid off as he robbed him and found space down the left channel. With a clear break, Peter Thorne was screaming for it at the back stick, but Daley continued to dribble into the box, beat another man, before planting a strike into the bottom corner. It looked like Daley was going to overcook and waste the move, but his determination was rewarded with the opening goal.

Before we had time to recover from the jubilation of getting our noses in front, City doubled their lead with some incisive attacking play.

Joe Colbeck burst down the right and whipped in a fantastic cross which Alex Rhodes got on the end of and side footed in City’s second. Rhodes was alert to the situation as soon as Colbeck regained Bradford possession and sprinted into the box to make sure he got there to finish off the move.

At 2-0, all seemed well, but Rotherham had always threatened, and were always going to score in this game. Early on one of their front men hit the inside of the post before the ball somehow bounced out past the back of Scott Loach and miraculously out for a goal kick.

And it was no surprise when they got back into the game on the half hour, with a long ball played up to Taylor, who controlled well in the box, and slipped the ball under Loach to fire up the contest again.

With the half drawing to a close, City brilliantly regained their two goal cushion. Joe Colbeck was once again the architect, whipping in a superb looping cross which Lee Bullock headed home for his first goal for the club.

And Bradford came out in the second half with a good attitude – to protect the lead and hit Rotherham on the break once they came out to try and come back into the game. And the players seemed to possess a steely determination to not relinquish the lead, and for the most part were quite comfortable.

This determination was opitimised by Colbeck, who seemed to have endless energy, and tracked back to do his defensive work admirably. In fact it was the best game I have ever seen Colbeck play – he produced quality when it mattered, and battled it out until the final whistle. I have been one of his fiercest critics every since he made his first team debut at the club – but this type of performance on a consistent basis is sure to win me over for good.

The second half was a lot less exciting. Rotherham continued to threaten, but never looked overly confident of completing a miraculous turnaround. The onloan Moncur produced a particularly good display and showed he has an eye for a good long accurate pass to feet. Wetherall coped with absolutely everything aerially, as ever.

But inevitably, as with is to often with City these days, the Millers scored a late goal with five minutes remaining which ensured a very nervy finish to the game. Those nerves would have been avoided had the in-form Peter Thorne stuck away the most simple of chances.

Colbeck had beaten the last line of defense and rolled a fantastic ball square across the byline that landed at the feet of Thorne. From 4 yards out, the veteran hitman blasted over when it looked harder to miss than score.

But Thorne’s blushes and miss did not prove to be critical – as the City defense held firm for the full four minutes of injury time – which I have no idea how the officials came to decide on that number of minutes.

This victory was a real triumph. We had beaten one of the best teams in the division, and furthermore we had done it in style. With the new season ticket offer being rolled out, if any further proof was needed that Stuart McCall’s team are headed in the right direction, tonight was the night.

We may have missed the playoff boat now (the optimists among us still believe) , but this display really showed what we are capable of when we get out act together. We have proved we can get decent results away from home – and next season home displays like this will surely give us enough points to mount a serious promotion challenge next season.

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