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Bradford City 2 Rovers 0

30 September 2017

Rovers performed well for large periods of the trip to Bradford City, but were undone by two headed goals late in the opening half.

Rovers started the game brightly, and had much of the early possession of the game as they looked to avenge Tuesday night’s late defeat.

And the visitors had the game’s first chance, with Tommy Rowe receiving the ball on the edge of the area, but his shot was blocked by Nathaniel Knight-Percival and away for an early corner.

John Marquis was next to try his luck from just outside the box but, like Rowe, his strike took a deflection and was this time held comfortably by Colin Doyle in the Bantams’ goal.

Rovers were enjoying a great spell of possession, and from their next attack came another effort that could have put them ahead.

Rodney Kongolo broke down the right-hand side for the visitors and floated the ball over for Alfie May to bring the ball down.

May controlled the ball well, but his shot was tame and once again Doyle was able to get down easily to collect the ball.

Much like the rest of the opening 15 minutes, it was Rovers who went closest once more, and this time it was May with Rovers best effort of the first half.

May collected the ball from Rowe and created enough space to get a shot away.
His shot was blocked once more, this time by former Rovers loanee Matthew Kilgallon, on to a post and behind for a corner.

Against the run of play, though, the home side took the lead. Good work down the left-hand side between Paul Taylor and Adam Chicksen saw the latter able to put the ball into the box.

Chicksen’s cross was met by the head of the towering Charlie Wyke, and his header was low past Marko Marosi and into the far corner.

It could have been two just moments later, with a corner causing problems for the Rovers’ defence and, after a scramble, the ball was poked home by Wyke again, but this time the referee brought play back for a foul on the visiting keeper.

Marquis was eager to get Rovers back on level terms, finding space 25 yards out and having a go once more, but this time his strike was wide of Doyle’s post and the hosts remained in front.

Things went from bad to worse for Rovers not long after, and they doubled their lead as the game drifted towards half time.

A corner from Tony McMahon was met by the head of the un-marked Knight Percival, and he headed through a wall of Rovers defenders and into Marosi’s goal to extend the Bantams’ lead.

In similar fashion to the first half, the second period saw Rovers put on the early pressure, with Rowe, May and then Whiteman all testing Doyle in the Bradford goal but the visitors were starting to get frustrated in their attempts to get an early goal back.

Poleon went close for the hosts too, but his shot was saved well by Marosi as the striker bared down on goal, one-on-one with the Rovers’ keeper.

Surprisingly, it was Butler who was next to go closest for Rovers - and he wasn’t far away either.

Toffolo pumped a free-kick up to the centre half, and he brought the ball down and turned to shoot on goal, but Butler’s curling effort from the edge of the area went just wide.

Whiteman was next to try and get Rovers back into the game, trying to curl a free kick in from 25 yards out, Doyle was equal once again though and tipped the ball around the post.

Substitute James Coppinger was next to try and get a goal back for the visitors, but his shot from 20 yards was curled just wide.

Rowe had Rovers final chance of the game, a header from a Coppinger corner being met well, but Knight-Percival was there on the line to block the goal-bound header and ensured that the hosts maintained their clean sheet.

Rovers will be disappointed to have lost a game that they controlled for much of the 90 minutes, however the first-half headers from Wyke and Knight-Percival ultimately left the visitors with too much to do.

Rovers now have two home games in a row to get back to winning ways, firstly against Sunderland under-21’s in the Checkatrade Trophy, before Southend United visit the Keepmoat in Sky Bet League One.

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