A THIRD goal in a week from Bradford City captain Romain Vincelot ended the Bantams’ wretched run against the Millers as they claimed their first win against their Yorkshire rivals in eight matches.
Vincelot provided the game-breaking moment in the 20th minute, heading in unmarked after Tony McMahon’s centre - City’s first goal against the Millers in over nine hours.
A brilliant first-half clearance from Matt Kilgallon preserved the hosts lead and stoic defensive resolve amid strong visiting pressure in the second half saw City hold out for the derby spoils.
Headline news for the Millers was the welcome sight of a six-goal Kieffer Moore shaking off a groin issue to line up from the off, with the big striker at the centre of one of the two major incidents.
It arrived on 26 minutes when he was about to bundle the loose ball over the line, only for a quite miraculous and brave goalline clearance from Kilgallon to deny him, with the veteran producing a defensive moment of the highest order.
It helped preserve City’s lead - given to them six minutes earlier through another goalscoring contribution from Vincelot - who was left unmarked with his downward header from McMahon’s centre flying past Marek Rodak.
The Millers custodian also did well to deny Dominic Poleon just before the break in a half when Rotherham were guilty of coughing up possession on occasions.
At the other end, they did have their moments, the best of which came when Ryan Williams slotted in Jon Taylor and after his shot was blocked by the onrushing Colin Doyle, the Millers winger steered the loose ball back towards the goalline with Moore in close proximity, only for Kilgallon to save the day.
The Millers posed more belief and threat on the restart and threatened with Towell’s goalbound low drive, which got a faint touch off Moore, being grasped by Doyle.
The City keeper then turned away a fierce drive from Towell, with the impressive Nathaniel Knight-Percival superbly blocking Lee Frecklington’s follow-up.
Despite away pressure, City defended stoutly and spurned a chance to double their lead when ex-Miller Nicky Law stumbled in front of goal after great interplay with Charlie Wyke, with Will Vaulks clearing the danger.
Before the game, all the talk of this particularly derby being a goal-laden affair with both sides having found their shooting boots of late.
But in the event, it was defence and not attack which won the day, with City repelling everything that the Millers threw at them, after being pegged back in the final twenty minutes.
It yielded just a second clean sheet of the campaign and extended their unbeaten sequence to five league matches.
After scoring goals for fun this week, the Millers dried up, with pre-match doubt Moore being marshalled impressively by Knight-Pervical as the visitors failed to win a fourth successive league game for the first time since April 2016.
For City, it was a pragmatic, streetwise performance and the sort that carries currency in League One. Asked questions in the second half, the hosts held firm to claim a big three points.
Bradford City: Doyle; McMahon, Knight-Percival, Kilgallon, Chicksen; Law (Thompson 81), Vincelot, Reeves, Gilliead; Poleon (Patrick 62), Wyke. Substitutes unused: Raeder, P Taylor, McCartan, Hendrie, Jones.
Rotherham United: Rodak; Vaulks, Ikiekwe, Wood, Mattock; Potter; Williams (Newell 62), Frecklington, Towell (Clarke-Harris 80), J Taylor; Moore. Substitutes unused: O’Donnell, Ajayi, Forde, Purrington, Yates.
Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).
Attendance: 20,881 (1,641 Rotherham supporters).