Fleetwood Town 0-0 Bradford (agg: 0-1): Stuart McCall's men reach Wembley
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 08/05/17 10:52am
Bradford City will play Millwall in the Sky Bet League One play-off final after shutting out Fleetwood Town in their semi-final, second-leg.
Rory McArdle's goal in the first-leg proved decisive as a 0-0 draw at the Highbury Stadium was enough to take Stuart McCall's men through 1-0 on aggregate.
Despite being the away side, Bradford never looked in trouble against a nervy Fleetwood team who have now scored just one goal in their last five home games.
The result stretches Fleetwood manager Uwe Rosler's run of never winning a play-off match (D4 L3) but it shouldn't deter from what's been a fantastic season for the club, who finished in their highest ever league position.
The final will be played at Wembley on Saturday, May 20, live on Sky Sports.
The onus was seemingly on Fleetwood to make the running as the home side but they looked timid in the tackle early on.
Bradford's muscular and direct approach, added to some silky play from Mark Marshall, caused Fleetwood plenty of problems.
Marshall provided decent width on 29 minutes and his cross towards the back post found Charlie Wyke, who arched his neck brilliantly to divert at header towards goal but the post denied the strike from opening the scoring.
Rosler was urging his Fleetwood players to up the tempo from the touchline but all they could muster in an underwhelming first-half was a header from Ashley Hunter that was easily gathered by Colin Doyle, who was making his first save of the entire tie.
Improvement was expected after the break from the hosts, but it was Bradford who maintained their positive approach.
Marshall created more carnage down the left and tested Alex Cairns with a low drive that goalkeeper blocked away to safety.
Fleetwood's only effort on target in the second half came from Bobby Grant on 72 minutes but his header from 18 yards was easily saved by Doyle.
Bradford saw the game out very professionally and booked a date at Wembley with Millwall, who knocked them out at the semi-finals stage last season.
Bradford boss Stuart McCall:
"I know the fans were edgy and nervous but my lad asked me this morning if I was nervous, I wasn't with the team I picked and the squad I've got," he said.
"This was the aim, we said it at the beginning of the season, let's see if we can go one better than last season. It was going to be a big ask after getting beat in the play-offs and then Phil (Parkinson) leaving, because he's a top manager.
"We've come in and brought our own side and staff - the players that were here have been outstanding and the players we've brought in have been terrific."
Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler:
"I have a clear message - I have one more year left on my contract and I'm sure the club will talk to me regarding my future.
"Then we'll see what happens. I'm planning. We'd already started to plan and put things in place. I'll have two days off - two days' sleep - and from Wednesday onwards we'll start for next year.
"We have to speak and find out what the expectations are next year, find out what the framework is. We have to recruit, have to understand that the expectations are rightly rising from our supporters."