The Lions took a big step towards the League One Play-off Final with a mighty 3-1 win at Valley Parade on Sunday (May 15).
We even managed to go 1-0 down after left-back Joe Martin conceded a penalty to a handball, but it took us just 60 seconds to get back level through Lee Gregory. That moment was key. It knocked the stuffing out of Bradford and their supporters.
Most Lions fans would have taken a draw before the game but the team didn’t settle for that and again our strength at set-pieces showed with a great header by man-of-the-match Steve Morison from a Shane Ferguson corner put us 2-1 up on 34 minutes. Then 11 minutes later Joe Martin made up for his penalty mistake when he netted with a left-footed curling free-kick.
Bradford threw everything at us in the second half but we withstood it with important tackles, interceptions and covering work from our players. That was the most pleasing aspect from the rear-guard action. If Bradford got past one of our players and the threat was increasing, another Lions player was over to cover for his team-mate.
Despite all the possession, the Yorkshire side only managed one effort of any note on target in the second half. Keeping Bradford down to one goal was vital ahead of the second leg on Friday (May 21).
We need to make sure we go out and play normally at home during that tie. It woud be dangerous to sitback despite the lead. Bradford will have to take more risks as the match progresses and that is where our counter-attacking strengths could come into play along with our effectiveness from set-pieces.
An early goal from Bradford will put a different complexion on the match.
The Den is going to have a great atmosphere on Friday night and we have seen another Yorkshire side, Huddersfield Town, collapse under that vociferous home support the last time we hosted a play-off tie in 2010. A repeat of that 2-0 home win would do us just fine.