Proctor's sixth of season in vain in 2-1 defeat at Bradford City
Jamie Proctor’s sixth goal of the season was in vain as Reds ended their away campaign with defeat at the Coral Windows Stadium.
Bradford went in front shortly after the break through Aaron McLean but substitute Proctor levelled on 65 minutes with a well-executed lob.
Four minutes from time, however, substitute Garry Thompson nudged home as corner to ensure Reds dropped to 14th in the table with two home games to come against Carlisle and Bristol City to complete the League One campaign.
John Gregory made two changes to the side which lost 1-0 at Notts County on Monday. Dannie Bulman and skipper Josh Simpson both returned with Proctor and Sergio Torres dropping to the bench in a 4-5-1 formation with Simpson getting the role in behind front man Matt Tubbs.
Before kick-off there was an impeccably observed minute’s silence as the crowd stood to remember the 56 people who died in the fire at Valley Parade back in 1985. Skipper Simpson laid a wreath on behalf of the club behind the home goal before kick off.
Two teams in mid-table with little but pride to play for did not suggest we’d have a thriller and that was certainly the case in a sterile first 45 minutes played for long parts at a pace normally associated with pre-season games.
Bradford keeper Jon McLaughlin dealt with Simpson’s tame effort in the opening minute but that was the only shot on target Reds mustered in the first half.
Some of their approach play was decent enough, notably on six minutes when Gwion Edwards and Simpson combined to set up Tubbs but he dragged his shot disappointingly wide.
Bradford hardly peppered Paul Jones at the other end but he showed firm handling to deal with Rory McArdle’s header and a shot from Andrew Davies. The closest they came to a breakthrough was on 38 minutes when Kyle McFadzean fouled Jon Stead 20 yards out and Mark Yeates curled the free kick a yard wide of the right-hand post.
But within five minutes of the re-start the home side had the lead. Aaron McLEAN outpaced the visitors’ defence as he raced onto Nathan Doyle’s long ball and his low shot was too powerful for Jones as it nestled in the bottom corner.
It had come seconds after McLaughlin had saved at the feet of McFadzean at the other end.
The boss made a double change on 57 minutes, bringing on Torres and Proctor and reverting to a 4-4-2 formation.
And it paid off within eight minutes when Proctor scored a superb equaliser. McFadzean played the ball forward and with the home defence looking for offside and McLaughlin yards off his line PROCTOR coolly lobbed the keeper to find an empty net.
Reds now had the bit between their teeth. McLaughlin got behind a long-range effort from Mat Sadler after keeping out Torres’s curler from 20 yards.
Proctor then played a lovely pass into the path of Tubbs who elected to shoot first-time but his effort sliced wide of the near post.
Bradford had offered little since taking the lead but they regained the lead four minutes from time. Jones denied Thompson with his legs at the expense of a corner but from the flag kick Reds failed to clear and THOMPSON got the faintest of touches to send it over the line.
The visitors tried to mount a response but City held on to avenge the 1-0 defeat they had suffered at the Checkatrade.com Stadium back in October.