Gary Liddle hopes new team-mate Devante Cole’s stoppage-time goal will kick-start Bradford City’s season as manager Phil Parkinson celebrated his fourth year in charge with the Bantams’ first win of the new campaign.
It has been a slow start for City, who took only two points from their first four matches, but Liddle said: “To see that goal go in in the last minute was great and, hopefully, it will set us off.”
Cole, 20-year-old son of former Newcastle and Manchester United striker Andrew Cole, joined City on a free transfer from Manchester City the day before and midfield man Liddle said: “He is a terrific signing for us. He adds something to our frontline. Hopefully, this goal will be the first of many for the club.
“He has got experience of League One at Barnsley and MK Dons on loan and to be able to attract a player from a big club like that is terrific. It is a fantastic opportunity for him – we certainly hope he takes it.”
The match was heading for a goalless draw deep into the four minutes of stoppage time when Rory McArdle played a long ball out of defence.
Vale failed to clear and Cole, a 69th-minute substitute, turned the ball into the net from close range.
Vale dominated the first half, causing anxious moments for the home defence but failed to make their superiority count and the nearest they came to scoring was when Ben Williams was forced to dive to keep out Sam Foley’s 20-yard shot in the third minute.
However, Bradford were a revitalised side in the second half, putting the visitors under pressure for the first time and goalkeeper Jak Alnwick did well to stop substitute Josh Morris’s shot with his legs and turned away former Vale winger Mark Marshall’s goalbound shot in the last minute of normal time before Cole’s last-gasp winner.
“We had a tough time with late goals last season so it was a relief to see it go in,” said Liddle.
Bradford City: Williams, Darby, McArdle, Burke, Meredith, Anderson (Morris 59), Evans (Knott 69), Liddle, Marshall, Hanson, Davies (Cole 69). Unused substitutes: Jones, N Clarke, Leigh, James.
Port Vale: Alnwick, Purkiss, Duffy, Inness, Dickinson, Moore (Birchall 64), Grant, Foley, Andoh (Kelly 64), Dodds, Ikpeazu (Leitch-Smith 70). Unused substitutes: Johnson, Streete, Daniel, McCourt.
Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).
Man of the match: James Meredith.