Gary Bowyer was full of praise for man-of-the-match Jake Reeves as sixth-placed Bradford City consolidated their play-off place with a hard earned 1-0 win over Newport County.
The midfield player, a close-season signing from Wimbledon in 2017, returned to first team football last month after being out of action for 20 months with a serious groin injury.
The City manager said: “He played 82 minutes at Macclesfield last week and he comes off the field today with even more confidence. He is a wonderful footballer. He looks like a new signing, how he plays the game, the standards he sets and how he helps other players.”
A sometimes scrappy contest was settled in the 58th minute with a penalty by James Vaughan. The Bantams captain intercepted a long back pass from Ryan Inniss, but he was brought down as he tried to take the ball round Nick Townsend. The goalkeeper was booked before Vaughan scored from the spot.
Bowyer said: “James intercepted the back pass brilliantly and had got round the keeper when he was pulled down. The whole place was lifted when that goal went in and I was disappointed we didn’t score more, but the keeper made two outstanding saves.”
One of them was a brilliant effort in the 66th minute when Townsend tipped Aramide Oteh’s goalbound header on to the underside of the bar and Bowyer also pointed to a header from Kelvin Mellor and a shot from Oteh in the first half that he said he expected to go in.
Bradford City: O’Donnell, Henley, P O’Connor, A O’Connor, Wood, Mellor, Reeves, Cooke (French 90),Taylor (Anderson 90), Vaughan, Oteh (Connolly 88). Unused substitutes: Sykes-Kenworthy, Ismail, McCartan, Palmer.
Newport County: Townsend, McNamara (Poleon 76), G Nurse, Inniss, O’Brien, Haynes, Sheehan, Dolan (Collins 86), Abrahams, Maloney, Amond (Matt 65).Unused substitutes: King, Jeffries, Woodwiss.
Referee: A Backhouse (Cumbria).