Derek Adams hails the ‘bravery’ of Bradford matchwinner Paudie O’Connor
Derek Adams hailed the “bravery” of matchwinner Paudie O’Connor after his header earned Bradford a 2-1 comeback victory over 10-man Salford.
Centre-half O’Connor, who lost a tooth from the earlier challenge that saw Salford goalscorer Brandon Thomas-Asante sent off, headed home the winner from Callum Cooke’s cross in the 85th minute after Ryan Watson’s own goal had levelled the scores.
It was Bradford’s first home victory since October 2.
Manager Adams said: “Paudie showed his bravery at the end to get that header. He’s lost a tooth and has had to go to get some dental surgery.
“It was a red card. The amount of blood that came from him after losing a tooth proved that.
“But I thought it was a really good performance.
“We started the game very well and dominated the first half. I thought we were unlucky to go a goal down.
“Niall Canavan slips and they get a 1-0 lead out of nothing.
“But over the piece, we got what we deserved. It was only a matter of time before we scored.”
Adams was impressed with debutant Jamie Walker, who has joined on loan from Hearts.
He added: “Jamie was the best player on the pitch today with the way he took the ball and opened up the defence. He looked a class act.
“What he does really well is sprints. That’s what you need in your team in this modern day.”
Salford, managed by former Bradford boss Gary Bowyer, had taken the lead in the 35th minute.
Thomas-Asante held off Canavan to control Matty Lund’s pass before shooting past Sam Hornby.
But the striker was dismissed eight minutes later for an elbow into the face of O’Connor.
Salford’s 10 men could have gone further ahead early in the second half but Ash Hunter shot wide on the counter-attack.
Bradford brought on top scorer Andy Cook and his header was deflected into the net by Salford’s Watson, making his debut after a move from Tranmere.
Charles Vernam and Alex Gilliead went close before O’Connor completed the comeback. It was the first time Bradford have beaten Salford in six meetings – and ended the Ammies’ three-match unbeaten run.
Bowyer said: “I was very impressed with the way we went about things in the first half. We played the way I want us to play.
“Ryan Watson made an impressive debut for us and he will score goals. He had a great opportunity and when we took the lead, it was deserved.
“The game changed with the red card. It was the right decision.
“I’m not disappointed with the decision but I am disappointed with the way that the red card resulted.
“But even when we went down to 10 men, we had glorious opportunities to score. Ashley Hunter had a very good chance.”
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