Bradford City 2-1 Barrow AFC: Cooke strike sentences Bluebirds to defeat
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Bradford City welcomed Barrow AFC to the Northern Commercials Stadium with hopes of extending their unbeaten run to eight games.

Since Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars took charge on an interim basis in December, the duo are yet to suffer their first defeat at the helm in West Yorkshire.

Barrow were hoping to pull away from the worry of the relegation zone, as the Bluebirds currently sit just two points clear of Grimsby Town.

Bradford fans would have to wait a bit longer before seeing new signing Andy Cook make his full debut, after the 30-year old joined on loan on Wednesday.

Teams

Bradford City:

Hornby; Cousin-Dawson, P O'Connor, A O'Connor, Wood, Watt, Sutton, Clarke, Cooke, Evans, Rowe.

Barrow:

Dixon; Eardley, Thomas, Platt, Davies, Brough, Biggins, Banks, Hardcastle, Kay, Quigley

Story of the match

Danny Rowe, who is fast becoming a fan favourite, propelled the Bantams forward with an early strike. The 32-year old, who had his birthday yesterday, picked up the ball on the wing and chopped inside of his man before firing into the far corner, granting Bradford the lead. This was Rowe's second goal in three games now.

Callum Cooke nearly doubled City's lead, a he met an intelligent pass from Elliot Watt but his powerful strike was thwarted by Joel Dixon.

The Bluebirds nearly found an equaliser however, as Harrison Biggins pounced on a poor clearance from Paudie O'Connor and slotted the ball into Josh Kay, but his curling effort ricocheted off of the post.

They came close again, as Scott Quigley raced through on a loose through ball and rounded Sam Hornby, but the angle was awkward and his attempt was wayward of the target.

However, the away side would eventually find their breakthrough, as Anthony O'Connor tangled with Quigley and forced the referee to award Barrow a penalty. Quigley took the responsibility and calmly smashed placed the ball past Hornby. 

Heading into the second half, and Trueman's words at half-time proved influential as the home side re-took control. Cooke controlled the ball on the edge of the Barrow box, before sending the ball wide to Gareth Evans, the hero of Tuesday night, who cut inside of his man and laid it back to Cooke who calmly knocked the ball past Dixon.

The Bantams came close to doubling their advantage, as Connor Wood picked up the ball on the half-way line and battled his way to the edge of the box, but his audacious strike phased narrowly wide.

New signing Cook did come on for his debut, as he replaced Rowe up top.

In the closing stages Barrow nearly found their second equaliser, as Quigley wrestled with Paudie O'Connor in the box, but his shot was closed down by Hornby. Quigley immediately sprinted to the referee demanding a second penalty, which was quickly waved away.

But as the Bantams waived the Barrow storm, following an altercation and a late free-kick, the referee called the game to a close with Bradford extending their unbeaten run to eight.

Takeaways

A very nervy and tense game from a Bradford point of view, but Barrow were unlucky not to snatch anything on their travels.

The Bluebirds had the Bantams on the backfoot for the majority of the second half, with City sitting back following Cooke's early second half strike. One note that can be pondered is Trueman's impressive team talk effect, with his side scoring early on of either side of the halves. It demonstrates the improvement of the attitude and relationships between the players and management team, something which faded during Stuart McCall's tenure.

Barrow simply didn't create the chances to earn anything out of the game, but did control possession but unfortunately were unable to capitalise on the odd mistake made by the Bradford backline.

Stand-out player

Just like Tuesday night, Callum Cooke had an outstanding game for Bradford. He's becoming really suited in the number 10 role, often finding pockets of space in behind and contributing massively to the goals, getting two assists on Tuesday and bagging himself a goal today.

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