Rochdale 0-2 Bradford City

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Two goals in six second half minutes proved enough at Spotland to top a magnificent week for Bradford with a second successive League One victory away from home.

Less than seventy two hours from victory over rivals Leeds in the League Cup, the hero of Wednesday James Hanson headed home an Alan Sheehan corner to seal the win against a stubborn Rochdale outfit.

Following the match, Hanson said of his and the side’s recent form: “We’ve got that winning mentality this year. Winning at a place like Rochdale is massive for us.”

The goal came just minutes after the Bantams ex-Dale midfielder Jason Kennedy comfortably tucked the ball home in the bottom corner to break the deadlock after some lovely build up play between Sheehan and Hanson.

The first half was a dull affair with chances very hard to come by for both Dale and City as the middle of the park saw the most action.

Rochdale did have the most of the efforts on goal but after Joe Rafferty dragged his effort wide prior to Peter Vincenti’s effort finding the car park and Rhys Bennett’s header finding the gloves of Jordan Pickford in the Bradford goal.

The visitors did have chances of their own in the opening forty five with both Mason Bennett & Kennedy putting opportunities to break the deadlock over Conrad Logan’s crossbar.

The second half saw the pendulum swing towards Phil Parkinson’s side as a solid backline kept the Dale strike force silent and the midfield diamond of Gary Liddle, Kennedy, Billy Knott and substitute Billy Clarke run the show up the pitch.

Hanson and Knott both put the ball wide in the opening five minutes of the second forty five with Sheehan and Clarke also firing wide either side of an easy save for Pickford from a Bennett free header.

Then came the two goals for the dominate outfit in white, but the second goal must of provided frustration to Rochdale manager Keith Hill who tried to get a double substitution on before the corner was taken.

But, following the game, Hill had praise for his former player and the opening goalscorer: “Jason Kennedy’s been absolutely marvellous for Rochdale and it looks as though he’s started the season brightly for Bradford. I wish him all the best.”

The final real chance of the game did fall to Hill’s side, but Ian Henderson dragged his free kick from the edge of the area wide of Pickford’s far post after putting in under the City wall.

The victory moves City up into fourth in the early League One standings ahead of a trip to Oldham in the JPT this Tuesday evening.

ROCHDALE: Logan; Rafferty (Donnelly 67), Eastham, Tanser, Kennedy; Bennett, Allen, Hery, Done (Fenelon 67); Henderson, Vincenti (Andrew 73). Subs Not Used: Musangu, Dawson, Rose, Camps.

CITY: Pickford; Darby, McArdle, Sheehan, Meredith; Liddle, Kennedy, Morais (Clarke 45), Knott (Dolan 82); Bennett (McLean 75), Hanson. Subs Not Used: Williams, Yeates, Routis, McBurnie.

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Bradford City 2-1 Leeds United

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A dramatic finish to an entertaining Capital One Cup derby game saw Bradford City progress in what could be the final game of David Hockaday’s short reign as Leeds United manager.

James Hanson dramatically completed a three minute turnaround with a brave header from a Gary Liddle cross just moments after it had appeared a ten man Leeds side had snatched victory at Valley Parade.

Matt Smith broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute of a fast and ferocious match when against the run of play the giant striker leapt highest in the six yard box to turn home a teasing ball from David Norris.

From the restart, City pushed for an equaliser and after it had appeared the visitors had cleared there lines, Billy Knott tuck the ball and fired into Stuart Taylor’s top right corner from distance to bring the stadium back to life before Hanson’s winner.

Phil Parkinson, the Bradford City manager, dedicated the victory to the supporters, saying: “Without a doubt this is a big moment, we knew what this meant to the people of Bradford tonight and we said that to the lads before we went out there. The fans have gone away tonight knowing we did everything to make that happen for them.”

The story of the first half was the dismissal of Leeds midfielder Luke Murphy. The former Crewe man was lucky to only see yellow for the first offence after a reckless challenge on Jason Kennedy in the opposition midfield.

Murphy seemed to have a rush of a blood for his second bookable offence when he raced in and came through James Meredith late with a raised foot which made contact with the left back’s trailing leg.

Chances were mainly those of the whites in the first half when following Smith’s header over, Alan Sheehan’s last ditch tackle halting Billy Sharp’s turn to shoot for the opener. Stephen Warnock also found himself one on one with Ben Williams but could only put the effort past the far post.

Bradford, the 2013 finalists in the competition, also had their own share of the chances to break the deadlock but McLean’s flick on found the hands of Stuart Taylor before Kennedy could only find the side netting from a tight angle.

After a tense opening to the second half in which Leeds were very resolute which frustrated the opposition, Sharp and Parkinson were both lucky not to see red following an altercation between the former and defender Rory McArdle.

After a battle for the ball, the striker appeared to only have eyes for his marker and after the pair kicked out, Leeds summer arrival appeared to headbutt McArdle on the deck. Parkinson raced out of his technical area and grabbed Sharp by the throat only for the fourth official to defuse the any hostility.

Taylor in the Leeds goal was to thank for getting the sides scoreless heading into the closing moments after a beautiful one handed save from Billy Clarke with twenty five minutes remaining.

But, the headlines belonged to the Bantams after the sensational period of three goals in five minutes which leaves Hockaday’s chances of remaining on as head coach on the thinnest of ice.

Following the game, the former Forest Green manager said: “I’m not a quitter, I’m a fighter. I feel as though not just myself, but the team at the moment, things just aren’t going our way.”

“But now we have to look at Saturday. They’ll be in tomorrow, I’ll be in tomorrow and it’s on to the next game again. It’s a tough game at times but we’ve got to pick ourselves up. Nobody here is going to feel sorry for us.”

Unfortunately, things would only get worse for the man in the hottest of hotseats when after a four minute delay for crowd disturbances, substitute Dominic Poleon could only sensationally put a chance in injury time to equalise wide when it seemed easier to score.

The third round draw following the game presented the Bantams with an intriguing away tie at fellow League One side MK Dons, who progressed after a sensational 4-0 home victory over Manchester United on the Tuesday night.

CITY: Williams; Darby, McArdle, Sheehan, Meredith; Liddle, Kennedy, Knott (Dolan 90+7), Clarke; McLean (McBurnie 70), Hanson. Subs Not Used: Urwin, Yeates, Shariff, Routis, Morais.

LEEDS: S Taylor; Wootton, Cooper, Pearce, Warnock; Norris (Poleon 90), Tonge, Murphy, Bianchi; Sharp, Smith. Subs Not Used: Silvestri, Ajose, C Taylor, Cook, Bendicic, Antenucci.

Bradford City 0-1 Peterborough United

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Bradford City’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end against Peterborough United in the club’s final match before Wednesday’s derby with Leeds United.

In awful conditions, the visitors sealed the three points when Michael Smith rode through a challenge by City captain Stephen Darby before cutting inside to the area and squaring to Kyle Vassell who picked out the top corner from ten yards.

The goal was a double blow to the home side as it came just a matter of minutes after centre back Andrew Davies had to leave the field with a serious looking arm injury after colliding with his own keeper, Jordan Pickford.

Following the game, manager Phil Parkinson told the media about Davies: “He’s got a crack in his arm so we’ve sent him for an X-Ray now to have a look, so won’t know until later this evening.”

The Bantams, fresh off an impressive midweek victory away at Crawley, had the first chance of the afternoon when Alan Sheehan’s free kick to Rory McArdle fell to the feet of Filipe Morais, but the former Chelsea youth man put his effort wide of Ben Alnwick’s post.

After this chance, the visitors took a real grasp on the game and fluffed two great chances to break the deadlock. Washington first put a shot over the bar before his effort was well saved by Pickford and Jason Kennedy’s fantastic sliding tackle denied Kane Ferdinand from the rebound.

This wouldn’t be the last time in the game the Bantams were troubled by Washington as with Boro’s next meaningful attack he was denied again, this time by a deflection of Rory McArdle after great link up play with Vassell.

City did have a chance to score in the halves dying moments when Billy Knott’s long range effort was saved by Alnwick and Mason Bennett’s cross was put out for a corner despite appearing to come off Josh Payne’s hand.

After the injury and goal early on in the second half, Parkinson’s men looked out of the game and Smith, who provided the assist for the goal, tried his luck from 25 yards but only to put the ball into the stand.

Vassell threw away a glorious opportunity to double his and his side’s tally for the afternoon when his free kick from the edge of the area went over the bar without even testing Pickford in the Bradford goal.

City pressed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages and after a fantastic save by Alnwick denied James Hanson, former Peterborough star Aaron McLean could only find the keeper with a header from close range and Mark Yeates put his late chance over.

CITY: Pickford, Darby, Davies (Meredith 55), McArdle, Sheehan, Knott, Kennedy, Liddle, Morais (Yeates 68), Bennett (McLean 68), Hanson. Subs Not Used: Williams, Dolan, Routis, McBurnie.

PETERBOROUGH: Alnwick, Brisley, Burgess, Santos, Ferdinand, Payne, Mendez-Laing (Smith 20), Anderson, Newell (McCann 83), Washington, Vassell (Barnett 82). Subs Not Used: Day, Luto, Anderson, Edwards.

Bradford Park Avenue 2-1 Leamington

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A turnaround in the space of four second half minutes saw Bradford Park Avenue pick up another three points and continue their undefeated start to the new Vanarama Conference North season.

John Deacey’s side drew level in the 66th minute when Paul Walker headed a Joe Colbeck cross back across the Leamington goal and left the Horsfall Stadium in amazement as the ball somehow dipped into the net.

Then, in the 69th minute, Avenue secured victory with a fantastic individual effort by summer signing Scott Kerr when the ex-Bradford City midfielder, picked the ball up on half way and ran at the visiting centre half before curling the ball into the top corner past a helpless Brakes goalkeeper.

Deacey said following the game: “They’ve shown great character and Scott Kerr showed that when he came on. He’s not been starting in our previous three games, but he influenced the game for us in the second half. Leamington had the better of the midfield and I had to have a look at it and change it and it worked.”

The home side were unlucky to not break the deadlock in the first half when after good pressure by Matty James on left-back Stephen Morley near the byline, the midfielder then pulled the ball back to striker Richard Marshall who put the ball into the bottom corner, however, the linesman had his flag up.

Leamington had the lead going into the half time break when Jordan Goodard took a neat one two just inside the area before placing the ball from eighteen yards into the bottom left corner of John Lamb’s goal.

The second half proved a more chance laden affair, and this showed just moments after the restart when Colbeck fired narrowly over from twenty-five yards.

The former Bantams winger also scored inadvertently when a snapshot from fellow midfielder Nathan Hotte caught the bottom of his boot and fizzed narrowly wide of the far post.

Speaking to the club’s website post match, Colbeck, a summer arrival from Grimsby, told Avenue’s club website: “We did well today. Maybe the weather conditions helped us out with the wind being with us in the first half and then it changed, it was with us again in the second half, but I’m pleased with the win.”

And jubilation of the turnaround slowly became frustration at the home side’s inability to kill the game off as Walker received the ball on the flanks and spotted an unmarked James in the box, however the midfielder’s first time effort fell into the arms of Collett between the sticks.

Despite these efforts, the Avenue turnaround proved to spark the Warwickshire side back into life and they nearly drew level when Stefan Moore stole the ball of Martin Drury before the left back recovered and blocked a shot from the prolific hitman.

And in the games dying moments, countless pressure on Avenue’s defence nearly proved to be there downfall after a superb cross from Daniel Newton bettered the countless number of bodies in the box apart from Moore, whos deflected effort failed to hit the net.

AVENUE: Lamb, Black, Drury, Rea (Price 56), Qualter, Colbeck, James, Hotte, Chilaka (Frost 86), Marshall (Kerr 56), Walker. Subs Not Used: Mallory, Howarth.

LEAMINGTON: Collett, Mace, Morley, Magunda (Wint 89), Tank, Pierpoint, L Moore (Dodd 77), Goodard, S Moore, Newton, Batchelor (Edwards 77). Subs Not Used: Connolly, Maher.