Bradford City 2 Doncaster Rovers 1: Bantams beat Rovers to boost play-off hopes

Jamie Proctor celebrates his second goal for Bradford City against Doncaster Rovers with the fans.
Jamie Proctor celebrates his second goal for Bradford City against Doncaster Rovers with the fans.
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BRADFORD City’s play-off push was strengthend as a brace of headed goals from Jamie Proctor helped them complete the double over free-falling Doncaster Rovers at Valley Parade.

Nathan Tyson poked the ball home for Rovers in the 90th minute to set up a nervy three minutes of stoppage time for the hosts but it was not enough for the visitors.

Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.

Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.

It was no surprise that City chief Phil Parkinson named an unchanged starting XI after toppling league leaders Burton in midweek, though forward James Hanson recovered from illness to take his place on the bench. Striker Proctor passed a fitness test on a tight hamstring to partner Billy Clarke in attack.

Rovers arrived on a terrible run of seven defeats in their last eight games, which had left them hovering just above the drop zone.

In a bid to arrest the slump which had continued in midweek at Scunthorpe, manager Darren Ferguson employed a flat back four and a diamond midfield with Tyson and one-time Bradford target Andy Williams up front.

City soon took the lead, Proctor spreading the ball out to Billy Clarke and running on to bravely head home his partner’s inswinging cross towards the far post.

Although City continued to be quicker in thought and deed, Rovers were still in it but they suffered a blow when defensive midfield man Conor Grant took a knock and had to be replaced on the half-hour mark by Harry Middleton.

Josh Cullen fizzed a shot wide and a free-kick from Tony McMahon landed on the roof of the net but City failed to extend their lead before the break - Rovers being denied a penalty claim for a push on Williams by Reece Burke.

Neither side made a change at the break, City kicking off towards the Kop and making it 2-0 in the 50th minute.

Kyel Reid sent the overlapping James Meredith down the left and his cross was glanced home off the far post by Proctor.

Ferguson sent on winger Cameron Stewart for Richard Chaplow in a bid to retrieve the situation and his first cross was headed over by Williams.

A stretching Williams could also only turn the ball over the bar from close range after Aaron Taylor-Sinclair had headed down from a corner.

At the other end, Billy Clarke went past two defenders but his low shot was blocked by the feet of goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann.

Proctor was given a breather when he was replaced by Hanson in the 72nd minute and Wes Thomas entered in place of Billy Clarke with eight minutes left.

Williams went close for Rovers, going down the left before cutting inside and curling the ball just wide of the far post before Tyson wriggled through a clutch of defenders to poke the ball home.

Williams went close to a dramatic equaliser but his shot was deflected for a corner and Rovers’ hopes were over.

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