BRADFORD CITY manager Phil Parkinson refused to point the finger of blame at loan defender Gary MacKenzie after the Bantams’ 1-0 home loss to League One play-off rivals Chesterfield.
MacKenzie, standing in for Andrew Davies, who was out with a hamstring injury, saw his poor covering header leave keeper Ben Williams stranded and Byron Harrison nipped in on the stroke of half-time to score the only goal of the game.
Paul Cook’s side held onto their advantage in a forgettable encounter, with it being his Spireites outfit who jumped into the final play-off slot with victory and not the Bantams, who travel to Doncaster Rovers for a key Yorkshire derby on Good Friday.
And despite MacKenzie being taken off on 71 minutes, Parkinson says it had nothing to do with his earlier faux pas.
Parkinson, whose side were seeking to make it back-to-back home wins after Saturday’s 2-0 Roses win over Oldham, said: “Gaz has been tremendous for us and I didn’t take him off because of that. I took him off because I thought he looked fatigued towards the end of the game.”
He added: “It was a game typical of this stage of the season. There was a lot at stake and no quarter given.
“They came and matched up our diamond in the midfield area and made it difficult. There was nothing in the game but one mistake has cost us.
“We spoke before the game about keep playing forward. We told the defenders it’s not the conditions to go back to the keeper unless your distances are right.
“It’s a shame really. Obviously we weren’t as good as we played on Saturday – but it wasn’t like a 20 per cent dip, it was more five or ten per cent in the first half.
“You’ve got to give Chesterfield credit for that as well. Once they got the goal, they became very difficult to break down.
“The conditions were very tough and Chesterfield hung on to their lead very well. But neither keeper was tested much in the whole game.”