Bradford 2 Oldham 0: Clarke brace ensures break pays dividends for Bantams

HAPPY: Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson.
HAPPY: Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson.
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Bradford City showed the benefits of a three-day break in Portugal as they leapfrogged play-off rivals Oldham Athletic with Billy Clarke scoring both goals.

What a difference a week makes. Seven days earlier, manager Phil Parkinson was left frustrated after seeing City concede two late goals and be forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against Fleetwood.

A week later, he hailed the win over Oldham as a “tremendous performance from the lads.”

He said: “We were all hurting after the Fleetwood match, but we responded together as a football club. There was a real determination in our game today.”

The players left for their planned trip to Portugal the day after the Fleetwood match and Parkinson said: “We wanted to change the scenery. We have had so many games, churning out performances and we were losing a bit of detail in what we were doing.

“I just felt it was the right thing to do to get away. Hopefully, we can continue to see the benefit.”

After an even first half, Clarke broke the deadlock in the 71st minute, applying the finishing touch with a smart back-heel after Oldham failed to clear Billy Knott’s corner.

Clarke ensured there would be no late alarms by scoring a second goal in stoppage time, a low 15-yard shot into the corner after Jon Stead had laid the ball into his path.

The only downside was defender Andrew Davies’s hamstring injury that forced him to leave the field after 17 minutes.

Bradford City: Williams, Darby, McArdle, Davies (MacKenzie 17), Meredith, Routis (McMahon 85), Liddle, Yeates (Knott 64), Clarke, Stead, Hanson. Unused substitutes: Alnwick, Doan, Zoko, Mottley-Henry.

Oldham Athletic: Coleman, Brown, Lockwood, Gerrard, Sadler, Woodland (Poleon 74), Winchester, Jones, Philliskirk (Jacobs 82), Wilkinson, Forte. Unused substitutes: Kean, Dieng, Wilson, Kusunga, Bove.

Referee: M Russell (Hertfordshire).

Man of the match: Billy Clarke.