Date published: 04 October 2021
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Bradford City maintained their undefeated form at home with one goal in each half to send Rochdale back to the Pennines scoreless. Alex Gilliead reacted the fastest after Joel Coleman made a smart save with the winger who put the ball in just before half-time. The match was won halfway through the second period from the penalty spot; Dale captain Eoghan O’Connell said he shot Levi Sutton inside the box with Andy Cook slamming the kick. Dale had chances throughout the game, but a poor finish cost them dearly.
Manager Robbie Stockdale has made two changes from the squad that lost to Oldham last weekend. Stephen Dooley and Abraham Odoh have received departures.
Rochdale almost got off to a dream start when Danny Cashman fell to the left before picking Corey O’Keeffe at the far post; the chance of defenders on loan well blocked by two defenders.
The game was a real affair from start to finish in the early stages and when Callum Cooke picked Charles Vernam’s run the winger saw his tilted shot deflect to the near post with Coleman having to be vigilant to push the ball behind. for a corner.
Dale’s defense was weak at times and when Andy Cook saw two efforts blocked he had room for a third with Coleman saving low to his right.
Bradford are the best supported team in Ligue 2 and the majority of the 15,000 home fans believed their team had scored just past the half hour mark. Vernam was the instigator again when he burst in on the left; his shot goes to the wrong side of the post and hits the side net.
Rochdale then had a sustained attack but couldn’t find the finishing touch. A great job between O’Keeffe and Cashman saw the full back inside the box before bringing 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 deep ball found Cashman on the right who brought the ball back to Odoh in space, but the little winger shot horribly when he should have done better and that dud proved to be crucial as Bradford took the lead soon after.
A key down the left side was finally worked for Sutton at the edge of the box. His low shot was parried only by Coleman with Gilliead in hand to kick the ball into the net.
Stockdale’s men tried unsuccessfully to equalize before the break. A good ball from Morley needed a light touch to bring it towards the goal; Beesley overcharged and the ball flew high as Jimmy Keohane put goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell to work in the first half timeout; his head lacked real power to cloud the cork.
Cashman, who was a thorn in the side of Bradford’s side, once again leapt forward before seeing his shot hit the side net; Beesley blasted the winger for not passing as he was in a better position to his right.
The luck for Odoh in the first half was almost replicated for Cashman in the middle of the second half. O’Keeffe finding Cashman unmarked in front of goal; the loaned player from Coventry seeing the same result as Odoh as he shot high over the bar.
Bradford then took control and nearly doubled his lead in the nineteen minutes remaining. Vernam was played and with only Coleman to beat he tried to get around Dale’s keeper who just got his hands on the ball to get the player out of the way before finally stifling danger.
The reprieve was to be short-lived as Bradford received a penalty. As defender O’Connell pushed forward to help get back to level, the ball was inexpensively returned up the field with Sutton running to the right with O’Connell doing his best to keep pace. The two got tangled up outside the area but as they entered the penalty area; Sutton fell fairly easily with referee James Bell allowing what appeared to be a soft penalty. Andy Cook was right in shooting the ball under Coleman to make it 2-0.
With the two-goal advantage, Bradford was happy to absorb any pressure from Dale. O’Connell appealed for a penalty when he clashed with a defender as substitute Alex Newby held on to a long throw-in from O’Connell but could only stab his effort off the post.
The defeat means their three trotting losses now in all competitions for the Stockdale side who must find some form of scorer if they are to reverse that 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)