Rochdale sub Calvin Andrew struck late to break 10 man Bradford’s hearts and end their 10 match unbeaten run in the process, which damaged their play off hopes – and re ignited Rochdale’s.
Bradford came into this game looking to build on their recent good form which has seen them move into the play off places into fifth. Bradford had keeper Jordan Pickford available and the Bantams keeper came in for Ben Williams for this game, star midfielder Billy Clarke is still unavailable and missed this match as the Yorkshire side came into this match looking to consolidate their place in the play offs.
The visitors after suffering back to back defeats were looking to get back to winning ways and force themselves back into play off contention. After starting Rochdale’s last game, Michael Rose started on the bench for the away trip to Valley Parade while Stephen Dawson starts as Rochdale looked to address their mini slump.
Bradford had the worst start possible, and lost goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to an 11th minute red card. Rochdale’s Matt Done drew a foul from Pickford in the penalty area which left the referee no option but to point to the spot and send the Bradford keeper off for a professional foul. The visitors missed the chance from the resulting penalty as Ian Henderson’s effort hit the bar – but Peter Vincenti made no mistake from the rebound as Rochdale went a goal up.
The home side who were a goal down and a man down – but refused to give up and levelled through former Huddersfield striker John Stead. Billy Knott who has been in and amongst the goals of late, this time turned provider by setting up Stead who had a tap in to make the game all square at 1-1.
Bradford after overcoming the disappointment of losing an early goal and a player, got more of a foothold in the game and looked the more likely to score the next goal -but the man disadvantage was always going to leave The Bantams always looked vulnerable to the ‘sucker punch’ – and the ‘sucker punch’ duly came.
Just when the game seemed destined for a draw, which in the circumstances wouldn’t have been the worst result for Bradford, Rochdale through Calvin Andrew snatched a dramatic late winner which the visitors hope will reignite their play off push.
Despite losing this match which ended their 10 game unbeaten, Bradford remain fifth – but the chasing pack below them, which includes Rochdale have closed the gap on the Yorkshire side. Rochdale are now only two points behind The Bantams in eighth. Sixth place Sheffield United also took advantage of their play off rivals defeat and are now only a point behind Bradford – but have played a game less than their Yorkshire rivals.
Phil Parkinson will need to pick up his Bradford side for the midweek FA Cup replay with Millwall – but with a chance to face Chelsea in the fourth round I doubt there is much motivation needed.