Saturday 12th March, 2016
Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford
SkyBet League One
Bradford – 2 (Proctor, 7; 49)
Rovers - 1 (Tyson, 90)
Doncaster Rovers were left to ponder what might have been as they set up a tense final few moments of a Yorkshire derby in which they were second best throughout.
Jamie Proctor’s two headed goals were enough to heap further misery on a beleaguered Rovers and keep the Bantams promotion push very much alive.
The visitors made two changes of personnel to the side which was beaten 2-0 at Scunthorpe United on Tuesday night with Mitchell Lund and Paul Keegan making way for Conor Grant and Andy Williams.
It made little difference however as the game followed an all too familiar pattern. No sooner had Grant and Nathan Tyson had long range ‘sighters’ than Billy Clarke cut in from the right flank on to his left foot to deliver to the back post for a grateful Proctor to force home.
Though Tony McMahon’s cross bobbled off Proctor’s shin and in to the arms of Thorsten Stuckmann, the Bantams rarely tested the German in a frenetic affair. Grant was the first casualty of the afternoon having played just 30 minutes before limping off with what his manager would later cite as “an Achilles problem.”
Riccardo Calder and Lynden Gooch battled in vain against their opposite numbers Josh Cullen and Lee Evans – also young loanees from higher divisions – to create chances and Darren Ferguson’s side went in to the break a goal down.
Half time: Bradford 1-0 Rovers
Any hopes of a Rovers revival were quickly extinguished in the second half as, within minutes of the restart, Proctor’s glanced header from James Meredith’s left wing cross arrowed in to the bottom corner and sent Rovers spiralling towards an eighth defeat in nine games.
Alas, Phil Parkinson’s side were rampant at this point and, but for some last ditch blocks by McCullough on Kyle Reid, Stuckmann at the feet of Billy Clarke and McMahon blazing over, it could have been worse.
Proctor could have wrapped up his hat-trick with a header down in to the turf from close range, before he was hauled off to a rapturous reception.
Any reaction from Rovers was long overdue and Andy Williams fashioned a chance out of nothing with ten minutes left but he pulled wide of his namesake Ben’s upright.
With the board up for three minutes of added time, Williams squeezed the ball through for his strike partner Tyson to notch a consolation goal from 10 yards out. Rovers had the Bantams on the rack with a succession of corners – for which even the ‘keeper Stuckmann went up for – but both Williams and Gooch saw their efforts blocked late on; Rovers had left themselves too much to do.
Full time: Bradford 2-1 Rovers
Bradford: Williams, Darby (c), N. Clarke, Burke, Meredith, McMahon, Cullen, Evans, Reid, Proctor (Hanson, 72'), B. Clarke (Thomas, 82').
Subs not used: Marshall, Knott, Leigh, Routis, Cracknell.
Cautions: Cullen (38)
Rovers: Stuckmann, Evina, McCullough, Butler, Chaplow (Stewart, 56’), Gooch, Williams, Tyson, Taylor-Sinclair, Grant (Middleton, 30’), Calder (MacKenzie, 90’)
Unused Subs: Jones, Keegan, Mandeville, Davies.
Attendance: 17,889 (410)