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Match Reports

Bradford City 0 Rovers 1

Samuel's second half strike seals the points

19 August 2017

Dominic Samuel scored his third goal in as many games as Rovers picked up their first points of the new season with a hard-fought 1-0 victory away to Bradford.

The summer signing from Reading, who had netted in his previous two outings against Doncaster and Coventry, scored the only goal of the game on 47 minutes - heading home Craig Conway's cross.

The result, which was cheered on by 2,000 terrific travelling Rovers fans, ended Bradford's 18 month and 31-game unbeaten home leage record.

And it was nothing more than Rovers deserved, as they created the better chances throughout and looked to be denied a stonewall penalty in the first half when Bradley Dack was dragged down in the box.

Ahead of the game, manager Tony Mowbray made three changes to the side that lost at home to Doncaster last weekend.

In came Conway, for his first appearance of the season after recovering from a hamstring injury, Samuel, who had netted in each of Rovers' last two games, and Dack, who made his debut in league football against the hosts.

Danny Graham and Peter Whittingham dropped to the bench, whilst Ryan Nyambe missed out with a slight knock.

Bradford, who hadn't lost a leage game at home since March 2016, made one change to the side that made it two wins out of two at Gillingham last weekend, with Shay McCarton coming in for Alex Jones.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the Bantams squad, with former Rovers defender Matt Kilgallon named in the starting line-up, whilst Paul Taylor was on the bench.

Rovers made a blistering start and almost opened the scoring inside 40 seconds. Elliott Bennett picked out Samuel in space in the box, his shot was blocked and Corry Evans fired the follow-up just wide.

On five minutes, Bennett played the ball into the feet of Dack, who turned superbly past two players, but his centre for Samuel was put behind for a corner when perhaps a shot was the better option.

Dack was coming short to find pockets of space in the early exchanges, but found few decisions going his way from the officials, as he rode a number of robust challenges from the hosts.

A free-kick did go Rovers' way on 20 minutes, following a foul on Bennett, but Charlie Mulgrew's set-piece was straight at the Bradford keeper.

Rovers had penalty appeals waved away on the half-hour mark when Bennett played a through ball to Dack, who went to ground in the area under a challenge from Timothee Dieng, but nothing was given.

The hosts' best - and only - chance of the half arrived moments later, when a Tony McMahon free-kick into the box fell kindly for Omari Patrick, but he failed to connect cleanly and his shot ran comfortably through to David Raya.

Rovers were presented with another chance to break the deadlock on 36 minutes, from a Conway corner, but Samuel's free header went wide.

The visitors ended a scrappy first half on top, creating two more chances in quick succession just before the break. On 44 minutes, Paul Caddis slipped the ball through to Dack, whose shot on the turn deflected kindly into the arms of Colin Doyle.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, Mulgrew's deep free-kick was kept alive by Bennett at the back post, but Dack couldn't direct his header on target.

Rovers' finally got their reward less than two minutes after the restart. Bennett set the ball back for Conway to cross and Samuel got away from his markers in the middle to head home his third goal in as many games.

The visitors threatened again with a ball into the box from the opposite flank five minutes later, but Conway couldn't connect with Bennett's cross.

Derrick Williams was next to set his sights at goal, on 56 minutes, but his effort from the edge of the area deflected just wide.

Rovers were forced into a change just past the hour mark as the lively Dack limped off and he was replaced by Ben Gladwin.

The substitute was immediately involved, as Conway crossed to the back post, but Gladwin's towering header was saved by Doyle.

The hosts made a triple change on 69 minutes, with Taylor, Jones and Charlie Wyke coming on for Dominic Poleon, Patrick and McCartan.

Bradford then had their best spell of the game, enjoying plenty of possession, but all that came of it was a Nicky Law curler straight at Raya and Jones dragging a shot wide from the edge of the area.

Rovers made a double change on 79 minutes, with Whittingham replacing Conway and Marcus Antonsson replacing goalscorer Samuel for his debut.

The Swedish striker provided a valuable outlet for Rovers in the closing stages, running the channels and winding down the clock.

Rovers now have a few days to recover from their excursions, before the matter of a big local derby against Burnley on Wednesday night in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

BRADFORD: Doyle, Reeves, Kilgallon, Law, Dieng, Poleon (Taylor 69), McCartan (Wyke 69), Field, Knight-Percival, McMahon (c), Patrick (Jones 69).

Subs not used: Sattelmaier, Gilliead, Barr, Devine.

Booked: Dieng, McCartan, McMahon, Kilgallon

ROVERS: Raya, Caddis, Ward, Mulgrew (c), Williams, Bennett, Smallwood, Evans, Conway (Whittingham 79), Dack (Gladwin 63), Samuel (Antonsson 79).

Subs not used: Leutwiler, Wharton, Chapman, Graham.

Goals: Samuel (47)
Booked: Samuel, Smallwood

Attendance: 21,403 (1,965 Rovers fans)


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