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League Two

Coleman: We defended magnificently

3 October 2012

John Coleman praised his backline after 10-man Rochdale held Bradford City to a goalless draw at Spotland.

Bobby Grant gave referee James Adcock little alternative but to brandish the red card following a reckless challenge on former Dale defender Rory McArdle 35 minutes into the clash. But Phil Parkinson's team were unable to press home their numerical advantage against a stubborn Dale rearguard, who deserved a share of the spoils according to Coleman.

"No disrespect to Bradford because I thought they were smashing and started really well, but I thought we defended magnificently and coped really well after Bobby's sending off," said Coleman.

"There weren't too many heart-in-your-mouth moments for us. Okay, Joe Rafferty kicked one off the line late on and they smashed one straight at Josh Lillis. But there were not too many scares, we competed throughout and I don't think anyone could begrudge us a point.

"We dropped a bit deeper at times, but that's only natural for a side down to 10 men trying to protect their clean sheet. But they threw bodies on the line and when you consider three of the back four are under 20 years old, it was a great achievement."

George Donnelly sent an early 20-yard strike whistling wide of the upright, but after that the visitors took charge. James Hanson's volley and a glancing header from Luke Oliver were kept out by Josh Lillis, and even when the hosts went down to 10 men, the goalkeeper stood firm.

His best save of the night came early in the second half when Bantams' skipper Ricky Ravenhill smashed a fiercely struck effort at goal, Lillis beating the attempt away. Bradford came close to scoring eight minutes from time when Andrew Davies poked the ball goalward following a corner, but full-back Rafferty hacked his shot off the line.

Bradford number two Steve Parkin, a former Rochdale manager, admitted his side lacked sufficient quality in the final third to break down Dale. He said: "We are reasonably pleased with the performance and keeping a clean sheet is always important.

"Sometimes it can be difficult to play against 10 men, but we're not entirely happy with the quality in the final third. We had ample opportunities to score but we need to be more clinical in front of goal, so we're a little bit disappointed in that sense.

"If Rochdale had kept us to next to nothing then we'd have accepted a point, but we had ample chances to show a bit more quality in the final third to win the game."

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