Outstanding Bradford City ooze confidence as they sweep play-off wannabes Forest Green Rovers aside 4-1

Bradford City produced an outstanding performance to beat fifth-placed Forest Green Rovers 4-1 and move back into League Two's top 10, just three points off the play-off places.

The Bantams players were oozing confidence and enjoying themselves in a win packed with entertaining football. Meanwhile, elsewhere, results were going their way too.

From the moment Elliot Watt, recalled to the XI, kick-started the game into life with a wonderful half-volleyed goal after 11 minutes, City turned on the style.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Finn Cousin-Dawson played a good ball down the line to Clayton Donaldson who won a corner taken by Gareth Evans. When it was cleared as far as the midfielder, his finish was outstanding.

GOALS: Bradford City striker Danny Rowe

Things could have been very different had Isaac Hutchinson not slipped volleying Nicholas Cadden's ball across the moment seconds later, but Bradford's confidence sky-rocketed from there, encouraged by Forest Green's overplaying, with Kian Scales, pushed out to a right-wing role, leading the press in Lewis Thomas's face when the goalkeeper overplayed.

Scales got a boot on his attempted pass across goal in the 14th minute and although he could not stop it getting to Dominic Bernard, it was further encouragement for the hosts.

Watt was excellent as one of the holding midfielders in a 4-2-3-1, winning the ball and shooting wide from distance after 20 minutes. He showed his exasperation towards the end of the half, pulling his shorts up his thigh and looking to the skies after another Evans cross fell his way after great work down the right. It was not an easy chance but the way Watt and Bradford were playing, you certainly expected him to hit the target, not blaze wide as he did.

He was still going in the 80th minute, not long after picking up a weary-looking booking throwing himself into a vital block as the ball was pulled back to Taylor Allen.

An earlier Watt tackle had given Andy Cook the chance to make up for heading a difficult chance over from another Evans corner but under pressure again, his shot was wide.

He could though, have scored not one but two brilliant goals before making it onto the scoresheet.

Donaldson, loving the freedom of playing in the hole behind him, volleyed a pass Scales touched first time to Cook, whose volley was saved.

But it was nothing compared to Cook's next effort, chesting the ball about 10 yards inside Forest Green's half over towards the touchline and seeing Thomas off his line hitting a looping but forceful volley onto the crossbar.

It was enjoyable to watch as it looked to be to play but a rare first-half chance for the visitors, put wide by Elliott Whitehouse, was a reminder that for all the wonderful football, more goals were needed.

The second came two minutes after the break, Cook driving into the area and producing a touch heavy enough to encourage the defender to dive in, but he could not stop the ball finding the net.

At that point Bradford allowed Forest Green back into the game a bit.

Richard O'Donnell only needed to be outstanding for about a minute or two, but he rose to the challenge brilliantly. He was nearly caught out by a mishit Cadden cross, but adjusted his feet well to get back across goal and beat the ball out. Despite numerous chances, his team-mates never got the ball away and he was called upon to come off his line and make a brilliant double save at the feet of Allen.

It would take an excellent Jake Young finish to beat him but by then, in the 90th minute, it was too late.

“Control the game!” Niall Canavan demanded after a poor Cadden free-kick and Cook killed it off in the 76th minute, picking the ball up on the right-hand side of the penalty area and drilling it into the net.

Young might have denied Bradford a clean sheet but substitute Danny Rowe's stoppage time goal, met by chuckles of joy from the bench, gave the hosts a margin of victory they thoroughly deserved.

Bradford City: O'Donnell; Cousin-Dawson, P O'Connor, Canavan, Wood; A O'Connor, Watt; Scales (Crankshaw 85, Donaldson (Vernam 81), Evans (Clarke 72); Cook (Rowe 81).

Unused substitutes: Stevens, Hornby, Foulds.

Forest Green Rovers: Thomas; Bernard, Stokes, Moore-Taylor, Cargill; Young, Whitehouse, Hutchinson (Allen 46), Wilson; Cadden (Bailey 72), Collins.

Unused substitutes: McGee, Wagstaff, Godwin-Malife, Davison, Richardson.

Referee: A Backhouse (Carlisle).

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.