Bradford City 4 Rochdale 0: Pleased Stuart McCall says practice paid off for Bantams

BRADFORD CITY returned to the automatic promotion places with a resounding win over ten-man Rochdale.

The Bradford squad celebrate Timothee Dieng's goal
The Bradford squad celebrate Timothee Dieng's goal

With Bolton Wanderers not in action until tomorrow, the Bantams displayed their ruthless edge to claim their biggest win of the season.

Billy Clarke, Timothee Dieng, James Hanson and Mark Marshall netted the goals against a Dale side who played the final half hour with ten men after Niall Canavan had been shown two yellow cards for clumsy fouls.

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Bradford boss Stuart McCall said: "It was a very pleasing performance. It's nice to score four in front of your own supporters because that's what we have lacked this year.

Billy Clarke celebrates (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)

"We have worked all week on getting crosses in. To get two goals from that, something we have worked on through the week, that's nice. Credit to the players for that.

"I have said all along that we have got a decent squad. The quality in that dressing room is terrific.

"You can't be successful with 11, 12 or 13. It's the underbelly that is pushing them.

"But we're not getting carried away. We're delighted to get the four goals and the clean sheet and we move on."

Timothee Dieng leaps into the air after scoring Bradford's second

The game sparked into life courtesy of two goals in three minutes shortly before half-time.

First, Nicky Law’s low cross from the left evaded all but Billy Clarke in the centre as the Bantams man fired in from close range.

Clarke then turned creator with a quite sublime cross from the right flank that Timothee Dieng headed beyond the helpless Josh Lillis.

It was the perfect end to a half that had seen James Hanson controversially denied a penalty when the striker seemed to be fouled by Joe Rafferty only for referee Ross Joyce to award Rochdale the free-kick.

Billy Clarke celebrates (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)

Earlier, Andy Cannon had shot just wide for the visitors after City had failed to deal with a corner but that was as good as things got for Keith Hill’s men who fell further behind just before the hour.

Mark Marshall’s free-kick was met by Hanson with a firm header that Lillis did well to block only for the City striker to prod in the rebound.

That came moments after Dale had been reduced to ten men by Niall Canavan’s second clumsy foul of the afternoon bringing his second yellow card.

Marshall added a fourth on 64 minutes with an exquisitely curled free-kick that gave Lillis no chance.

Timothee Dieng leaps into the air after scoring Bradford's second