Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News

In Focus: Robins v. Bantams

26 April 2013

Fan and columnist Murry Toms looks ahead to this weekend's league finale.

So it's gone down to the wire after Russ Penn's early strike in the Devon sunshine handed Mark Yates' side a vital victory to take matters through to the last day.

The Abbey Business Stadium is set to welcome its biggest crowd of the season this weekend on a day loaded with twists and turns.

Seventh-placed Bradford are assured of their involvement in this season's play-offs following last weekend's narrow win over 10-man Burton Albion at the Coral Windows Stadium.

James Hanson scored the only goal to clinch a top seven berth and all but end the Brewers' automatic promotion hopes.

But Burton - like Cheltenham - still have hope, albeit the slimmest of chances to bypass the play-off lottery and confirm League One football come Saturday night.

They both need big favours up north, but first Cheltenham must see off promotion hopefuls Bradford.

The Bantams' away record must be respected, but certainly not feared.

Just six of their 18 wins this season have come away from Valley Parade, drawing nine and losing seven. 

Interestingly the current play-off contenders have all been imperious at home, but have undermined their respective campaigns for a top three spot through inconsistency on the road.

Cheltenham of course extended their unbeaten home run to 19 games in seven months with victory over league champions Gillingham a fortnight ago.

Bradford will be making their fifth trip south to Gloucestershire, searching for their third win after victories in 2006 and 2009.

Jermaine Johnson netted the winner on their first visit despite Kayode Odejayi's fourth minute opener.

The game though will be remembered for John Finnigan's reaction, and subsequent sending off following Dean Windass' extra-curricular ball skills.

Three years later the South Yorkshire side edged a remarkable game by the odd goal in nine, Michael Townsend's own goal splitting the sides 19 minutes from time.

An astonishing afternoon saw five goals and two substitutions inside the opening 20 minutes of the match. 

However Bradford's luck has run out recently, losing the two most recent meetings by 4-0 (after a back-breaking, snow-shovelling effort by the supporters) and 3-1 scorelines.

Jimmy Spencer, with two, and Ben Burgess grabbed the goals last season despite Nahki Wells' eighth minute opener.

Bradford already have the edge this time around after a 3-1 win in mid-October, Wells on target again (twice) and James Meredith after Marlon Pack broke the deadlock from the penalty spot.

But victory tomorrow over Phil Parkinson's Capital One Cup runners-up might just be enough for another shot at League One, with a little help from Aldershot in Rotherham. Step forward Jeff Goulding, who may feature for relegation-threatened Shots.

The former Robins striker was an unused substitute last weekend when Andy Scott's side saw off Dagenham and Redbridge 1-0 to keep their survival hopes alive, just.

Whatever happens, we're in store for an afternoon of high drama.

Advertisement block