Bradford City 0, Port Vale 1
TOM Pope rammed home his ninth goal of the season as Port Vale produced a smash and grab raid to clinch a fabulous victory.
The striker's 37th-minute goal was very much against the run of play, but it was enough to deliver an important three points as Micky Adams's men defended for their lives.Adams opted to change his team for the first time since the opening day of the season.
Rob Taylor's inclusion at left-back enabled skipper Doug Loft to move into central midfield alongside Ryan Burge, rewarded for showing impressive form from the bench in recent weeks with his first league start for the club. Chris Shuker and Sam Morsy were the men to make way.Bradford should have taken the lead inside the first 20 seconds.
Left-winger Kyel Reid's early cross into the box was collected by Nahki Wells, finding far too much space inside the penalty area. He collected it well but shot too close to keeper Chris Neal, who kept it out with his legs.
This Sunday between 11am & 4pm with FREE admission at the Moat House Hotel Festival Park we will be exhibiting with some special show offers, the weather forecast isn't good but our deals are
Terms: Visit us or pick up a voucher at the show to be eligible
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Sunday, June 23 2013
A subsequent Gary Jones corner was headed into the side netting by James Hanson.The home side continued to hold the upper hand and looked more potent in attack.
And they went close again when Nathan Doyle's effort from the edge of the area was blocked by the sea of legs in front of Neal. The ball ran loose to Hanson on the right of the area, but his shot across goal was high and wide.
Hanson was in the thick of the action again after 20 minutes, forcing Neal into a save to his left with a header.Vale's frustration was summed up when Clayton McDonald, until then impressive at the back, was booked for a late challenge 10 minutes before the break.
The visitors were creaking under pressure again soon after but Richard Duffy produced two great blocks to deny Bradford. He dived in superbly to cut out a dangerous cross from the right and then made a fantastic challenge to keep out Wells's goal-bound effort from close range.
The Valiants had shown virtually nothing as an attacking force, but were soon to prove deadly when they did. Duffy's pass down the right after 37 minutes was not dealt with by full-back James Meredith and Pope seized the loose ball. He ran towards goal before letting fly with a left-foot shot which beat keeper Jon McLaughlin's desperate dive to stun the home crowd.
Pope went close again just before the break with a strong far-post header from a Burge corner which McLaughlin juggled before snatching as he fell backwards.Jennison Myrie-Williams was released by Louis Dodds at the start of the second half but was squeezed out on a tight angle, but Bradford were pressing once more with Reid again prominent.
Ashley Vincent broke from the halfway line and cut inside only to shoot too close to McLaughlin and Myrie-Williams then shaved the crossbar with a deflected shot from the edge of the area as the Valiants warmed to their task.
The home side continued to push forward and were rewarded with a free-kick on the very edge of the area when Dodds was adjudged to have been guilty of a push. Luckily, Jones's effort was blocked by the wall and the ball was cleared.Vale looked to have their backs to the wall once more, but stout defending kept Bradford at bay.
McDonald was in the right place at the right time to keep the visitors ahead with 13 minutes to go when he kicked away a Doyle shot which looked to be heading in.
Neal did well to tip a Wells shot over his ball in injury time and then saved a Hanson shot on his line but Vale had done enough.
Bradford City: McLaughlin, McArdle, Davies, Oliver (Connell, 81), Meredith, Atkinson (Hines, 62), Doyle, Jones, Reid (Thompson, 87), Wells, Hanson. Subs not used: Duke, Darby, Ravenhill, McHugh.
Port Vale: Neal, Duffy (Yates, 74), McCombe, McDonald, Taylor, Myrie-Williams, Loft, Burge, Vincent (Morsy, 85), Dodds, Pope. Subs not used: Johnson, Owen, Shuker, Williamson, Lloyd.
Referee: Paul Tierney.