Gary Bowyer is looking for a positive reaction from his players after Bradford City suffered their first defeat of the season – 1-0 against Forest Green Rovers in a scrappy, ill-tempered match at Valley Parade.
The match – the first between the two sides – looked set for a 0-0 draw before Forest Green captain Joe Mills headed the winner from close range in the third minute of the eight added on for stoppages after the Bradford defence failed to clear Kevin Dawson’s cross.
To add to City’s frustration, they had what they thought was an equaliser by Kelvin Mellor ruled out for offside in almost the last incident of the match.
Both Bowyer and Forest Green manager Mark Cooper were critical of referee Andy Haines, who sent off visiting defender Matt Mills for two yellow cards shortly after his side had gone in front.
In all, the referee handed out 11 bookings and Cooper accused him of ‘ruining the game.’
There were angry scenes at the end of the match when players from both sides and Bowyer were seen rushing towards the tunnel, but the City manager said: I just thought one or two wanted to swap shirts, nothing more than that.
“There were two committed teams – one is obviously delighted they have got the victory and one is disappointed. It was just people doing a bit of shouting.
“Now, it’s a case of getting a reaction. We have got to be patient and make sure we concentrate which, unfortunately, we were not doing at the death.”
Bradford City: O’Donnell, Mellor, Richards-Everton, A O’Connor, Wood, Gibson (Scannell 64), Akpan, Palmer (Cooke 74), Devine (Devitt 45), Vaughan, Donaldson. Unused substitutes: Hornby, P O’Connor, Anderson, Patrick.
Forest Green Rovers: Wollacott, Godwin-Malife (Bernard 53), M Mills, Rawson, Winchester, Adams, Dawson, Kitching (McGinley), Grubb, J Mills, McCoulsky (Stevens 78). Unused substitutes: Thomas, Collins, Morton, Mondal.
Referee: A Haines.