Rovers lose at the Coral Windows Stadium
Bradford City 4
Wells (6 & 22 (pen)), Davies (45), Thompson (57)
Bristol Rovers 1
Rovers conceded four goals against Bradford City this evening, and although each one of them could be put down to individual errors, it has to be said that they came up against an in form Bradford side.
Three goals down at the break, there were hopes of a revival when Tom Hitchcock pulled a goal back with only five minutes of the second half gone, but they were dashed when the home side scored a fourth goal shortly afterwards.
Rovers never gave up and kept going until the end, but were beaten by a side that look to be strong promotion contenders.
Manager John Ward was forced to make two changes to his starting lineup as Oumare Tounkara and Ellis Harrison both failed fitness tests at the Memorial Stadium this morning though both travelled with the squad.
Tounkara was suffering from a thigh injury and Harrison a dead leg but both hope to be fit for selection on Saturday.
It meant, though, that Ward was only able to name six substitutes.
The home side were quick out of the blocks and fashioned a chance in the first minute when Nahki Wells rattled the crossbar with Steve Mildenhall well beaten.
Striker James Hanson fired a shot straight at Mildenhall before Wells opened the scoring. There were only six minutes on the clock when Garry Thompson cut inside Lee Brown and crossed into the box where Wells headed home from close range.
Rovers lost Danny Woodards, who was stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious injury after 13 minutes, and he was replaced by Ollie Clarke, who went close with almost his first touch. The midfielder burst into the area and fired a shot towards goal only to see goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin make a fine save.
Wells saw a left foot effort saved by Mildenhall before he put his side further in front, this time from the penalty spot after Fabian Broghammer fouled Ricky Ravenhill. The spot kick was well struck into the bottom corner and although Mildenhall dived the right way he was powerless to keep it out.
Rovers had a golden chance to pull a goal back on 38 minutes when Broghammer crossed from the left and Hitchcock headed towards goal only to see McLaughlin keep the ball out with his legs. The rebound fell to Joe Anyinsah who saw his shot blocked.
Ryan Brunt hit a ferocious angled drive high and wide of the target as the half drew to a close, but the home side scored again in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Mildenhall hesitated when he came for a free kick into the box, allowing central defender Andrew Davies the chance to head home.
It took just five minutes for Rovers to pull a goal back and Hitchcock did well to latch on to a long ball out of defence and roll a shot past McLaughlin that went in off the post.
However any thoughts of a comeback were extinguished just seven minutes later when the home side capitalised on a mistake by Michael Smith.
The full back’s wayward pass found Wells, who played in Thompson and he calmly beat Mildenhall to restore his side’s three goal lead.
Mildenhall then saved from Kyel Reid and denied Wells his hat trick with a stunning save, touching the strikers ferocious drive behind for a corner.
At the other end Ryan Brunt hit a couple of long range efforts high and wide of the target and Eliot Richards saw a long range free kick deflected through to McLaughlin.
However the home team ended the game in the ascendancy, with Ravenhill driving a shot straight at Mildenhall and the keeper saving another effort from Reid.
Team: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Clayton McDonald, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Joe Anyinsah (Eliot Richards, 71), Ollie Norburn, Danny Woodards (Ollie Clarke, 15), Fabian Broghammer, Ryan Brunt, Tom Hitchcock.
Substitutes: Jim Paterson, Mitch Harding, Conor Gough, Tom Lockyer
Yellow Cards: Norburn, Hitchcock, Smith
Bradford City: Jon Mclaughlin, Stephen Darby, James Meredith, Ricky Ravenhill, Andrew Davies, Kyel Reid, James Hanson, Garry Thompson (Will Atkinson, 76), Gary Jones (Nathan Doyle, 72) Nahki Wells (Alan Connell, 81), Rory McArdle
Substitutes: Matt Duke, Carl McHugh, Zavon Hines, Michael Nelson
Referee: Tony Harrington
Rovers supporters: 180