By Gerry Prewett.
Considering that Rovers and City have been in existence for so long and have spent so much time in the lower divisions there have been surprisingly few games between them, 28 in total. The overall record between the clubs, favours Rovers with 15 wins, 8 draws and just 5 defeats.
Rovers’ record in Yorkshire is very respectable; Rovers have won 4 drawn 5 and lost 5 of the games at Valley Parade. A remarkable feature of this fixture is that until their visit on 9 April 2013 the Yorkshire team had never scored more than 2 goals against Rovers at home.
The very first meeting didn’t take place until 22nd November 1969 when they played out a 1-1 draw at Eastville. Rovers won the game at Valley Parade the following March 4-2. Robin Stubbs (2), Carl Gilbert and Ray Graydon scoring for Rovers and John Hall and Bobby Ham for City.
On 14 October 1995 there were plenty of goals, Andy Gurney, Marcus Stewart and Lee Archer for the Gas and Tom Wright and substitute Neil Tolson for the Bantams. This was Rovers last victory at Valley Parade.
In 2011/12 the game played on 10 September finished 2-2. Matt Harrold gave Rovers a first half lead with a goal on 40 minutes. Michael Flynn crashed home a penalty on 64 minutes before Elliot Richards put the Gas back in front 14 minutes later. With Rovers seeming on the way to victory a last-minute penalty gave Welshman Flynn the chance to crash home his second spot kick of the game.
On 9 April 2013 the Bantams thrashed Rovers 4-1. Nahki 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. Wells 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.
The home side further increased their lead on 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.
Rovers last visit to Bradford was on 29 September 2018. The first half was a story of near misses for both sides, with the post struck at either end of the field. The first to hit the woodwork was Rovers striker Tom Nichols who was worked into space from a short-corner routine and mis-hit a shot from distance into the ground but it awkwardly squirmed through the box and was an inch from going in with Bantams keeper Richard O’Donnell beaten.
Shortly after Bradford City went just as close through George Miller who was played in behind the Rovers defence. Tom Lockyer raced back to get level with him, but the Bradford City man got his shot away only to see it bounce out to safety.
The second half came to life after the hour mark with Tony Craig pulling off a vital block on the line to deny Bradford substitute Jack Payne who was following up after Sean Scannell’s initial shot struck a post. Liam Sercombe was almost the hero for Rovers off the bench, with two chances late in the game, the first well blocked and the second well saved, but a point was a fair result for two evenly matched sides.