Bradford City 1 Walsall 0: Three points are key, insist McCall

Bradford City boss Stuart McCall.
Bradford City boss Stuart McCall.
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Bradford City beat Walsall at Valley Parade to climb into fourth spot in League One.

The Bantams are seven points adrift of the automatic promotion places, and have a six-point buffer over Millwall in seventh.

Bradford City

Bradford City

Billy Clarke broke the deadlock in the 58th minute, with the all-important goal.

But Stuart McCall’s men were not gifted all three points, with chances at a premium in the first half.

It was mid-table Walsall who fashioned the first opportunity as Cypriot international Andreas Makris’ low drive forced Bradford goalkeeper Colin Doyle into a full length dive to turn away.

But the Saddlers needed a clearance off the line from James O’Connor to keep out Alex Jones’ header after Neil Etheridge had failed to gather Tony McMahon’s right-wing cross.

Bradford did grab the all-important goal in the 58th minute when Mark Marshall’s left-wing cross ran free to the unmarked Clarke, who fired into the net from close range.

Charlie Wyke went close to furthering Bradford’s lead while Walsall’s best chance of salvaging a point fell to Kieron Morris, whose close range shot was saved by the diving Doyle.

McCall said: “At this stage of the season it’s all about the three points. We’ve played far better here and walked off with a draw.

“Have the punters gone home really entertained? Possibly not. Have they gone home really happy? No doubt about it.

“We were very flat first half and made a lot of individual errors. Walsall were very organised and probably carried the bigger threat.

“But it wasn’t a case of shouting and bawling at half-time. We just had to remember what prize we’re playing for.

“We’d gone 40 games so let’s not put in another insipid 45 minutes – we needed to up it and thankfully we did that.

“It was a grind but we got there in the end.”

Bradford: Doyle, McMahon, McArdle, Knight-Percival, Meredith, Marshall, Cullen, Vincelot, Clarke, Jones, Wyke. Subs: Darby, Law, Toner, Dieng, Hiwula, Devine, Cracknell.

Walsall: Etheridge, O’Connor, Preston, Laird, McCarthy, Osbourne, Chambers, Edwards, Moussa, Morris, Makris. Subs: Dobson, Jackson, MacGillivray, Kinsella, Roberts,

Hayles-Docherty, Candlin.

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire)