Bradford City are out of the Leasing.com Trophy. Needing to beat Rochdale by three clear goals to go through to the knockout stages, they were beaten by 2-1 by League One side Rochdale in their final group match.
The match was watched the club’s lowest attendance for a competitive first team fixture – a mere 761.
The game marked the welcome return of midfielder Jake Reeves, who has been out of action since January 2018 with a serious groin injury and he played for 62 minutes before leaving the to a generous ovation.
Reeves, captain for the night, set up the goal that gave Bradford the lead in the 15th minute when his free kick was volleyed into the net by Tyler French.
Bradford had a great chance to go further in front in the 22nd minute when Kelvin Mellor was fouled in the box by visiting skipper Aaron Wilbraham, but Aramide Oteh’s penalty was saved by Jay Lynch.
Reeves struck the crossbar with a 20 yard shot two minutes later before Rochdale hit back with two goals in five minutes.
Rekeil Pike equalised with a curling shot into the top in the 30th minute and Fabio Tavares put the visitors ahead five minutes later. Jimmy Ryan played the ball over the top of the Bradford defence for Tavares to score.
The Bantams dominated the second half without being able to breakthrough a strong visitors’ defence although Lynch made superb saves to deny Zeli Ismail and substitute Danny Devine.
Bradford City: Sykes-Kenworthy, Mellor, Longridge, P O’Connor, Reeves (Taylor 62), Ismail, French, Anderson, Patrick (Richards-Everton 74), Oteh (Devine 62), Cooke. Unused subs: O’Donnell (gk), Akpan.
Rochdale: Lynch, Pyke (Baah 60), Keohane, Done, Wilbraham, Ryan (Camps 69), Bradley (Clarkson 78), Gillam, Tavares, Hopper, Dunne. Unused subs: Sanchez (gk), Brierley.
Referee: Darren Drysdale