THE SKY Blues produced a performance full of passion and pride to beat promotion hopefuls Bradford and claim back-to-back home victories in League One.
Tony Mowbray’s side kept their slim hopes of making the top six alive with a 1-0 victory on Tuesday night with Andy Rose’s superb 25-yard volley proving to be the difference between the two sides.
Second half substitute Rose scored with his first touch of the game and despite at times demonstrating why they are one of the bookies’ favourites to make a return to the Championship, Bradford could not find a way past an inspired Reice Charles-Cook in the Sky Blues goal.
“I am proud of my players, even through the last ten weeks, I have been proud of them,” said Mowbray.
“They have put in a real shift and worked hard. The goals had dried up and we were losing matches, but I have always been proud of them. I have never had to question their desire and I certainly did not have to question it on Tuesday night.
“It was always going to be tough playing Milwall and Bradford back-to-back, but the players have come out and produced two big performances and got two wins. They are competing fantastically well for the club.”
A change of formation with three at the back seemed to suit the home side in the first half with Sam Ricketts finding himself in plenty of space down the left.
The best chance of the half fell to Ricketts after he had cut back onto his stronger right foot inside the areas but he goalwards shot was well blocked.
At the other end Tony McMahon was unlucky to see his low shot whistle narrowly but the biggest talking points of the opening period came late in the half.
Tricky winger Ruben Lameiras skillfully worked his way into the box and looked to have been tugged back by Bradford defender right in front of goal but the referee, who was well positioned and waved play on.
It took until the introduction of Rose on 58 minutes to bring the game to life and within just seconds of coming on he unleashed a powerful volley towards goal which had Ben Williams beaten and the ball cannoned into the goal off the crossbar.
Five minutes later Bradford should have been level when Jamie Proctor controlled the ball and layed it off to Billy Clarke by the penalty spot but he somehow missed the target.
As the game ticked away towards its conclusion Charles-Cook was called into action a number times but he managed to record a second consecutive clean sheet after diving at full stretch to deny Evans on two occasions
Substitute Steven Davies was sent off late on for kicking out as tempers flared and the hosts used their numerical advantage to record only a fourth win in 18 league matches and Mowbray was delighted with the contribution made by former MLS star Rose
“I had a long chat with him before the game, as he was the only change from the weekend,” said Mowbray “I wanted to get Maddison in the No.10 role to get him on the ball. Andy’s strengths lay elsewhere, he is a fantastic athlete.
“He is 6ft 2, he can head it, he can run, he can spray long passes and he’s time is going to come. He has a great future at this club.
“He has got some learning to do in terms of how to receive the ball, and when to go and stand in spaces and I think he’s looking forward to it, and I’m sure we have a really good players on our hand.”