posted on 4 August 2013

Bradford came away from the Rapid Solicitors Stadium with a nail biting 26-24 victory to leapfrog the Wildcats and put a major dent in their top eight chances.

Lee Smith's superb individual try was in vain as the Wildcats fell to a narrow defeat.

In a fast paced end-to-end contest quick fire tries from Brett Kearney and Jamie Foster 15 minutes from time secured the Bulls fourth win in a row against Wakefield.

A late score from Lee Smith left the game in the balance until the final play but the visitors held on for a crucial victory.

Coach Richard Agar made several changes to the Wildcats line-up with Reece Lyne coming in for Dean Collis who is still struggling with a reoccurring hamstring injury.

There was also a change in the halves with Lee Smith moving in to partner namesake Tim, this meant Danny Cowling lined up in the centres with Danny Washbrook at loose-forward.

Captain Danny Kirmond also returned to the starting line-up after missing the game against Leeds meanwhile Kyle Trout kept his place on the bench with Oliver Wilkes dropping out of the team.

Bradford also made a couple of changes to the side which defeated Hull FC 19-12 last time out with James Donaldson coming in for the injured John Bateman. The only other change saw Jarrod Sammut start at stand-off in place of Danny Addy who dropped down to the bench for Francis Cummins’ side.

The game started at a high tempo and it was Trinity having the majority of the possession and territory but the Bradford defence stood firm to keep them out.

The deadlock was finally broken on the 20 minute mark as centre Reece Lyne marked his return to the side with a try as he split the Bulls defence from close range to score.

That lead was extended further 10 minutes later as Danny Cowling burst through before providing Peter Fox with a simple run to the line. Lee Smith’s second successful conversion made it 12-0.

Moments later and the Wildcats nearly went further in front as first Paul Aiton, and then Richard Mathers went close but scrambling Bradford defence denied them.

The Bulls got their first points of the match five minutes before half-time as Heath L’estrange caught Wakefield’s defence out on the short side before offloading for Keith Lulia to dive over.

The visitors then went in again on the half-time hooter after referee James Child gave a penalty against Ben Cockayne for moving off the mark.  From the resulting tap the Bulls threw the ball wide and Lulia was on hand to side step over to grab his second.

Jamie Foster missed the conversion meaning the Wildcats took a slender 12-10 lead into the break.

The second half started at the same electric speed and six minutes in Trinity scored their third try. Tim Smith’s brilliant short ball released Frankie Mariano who powered through to continue his fine form.

However errors began to creep into the Wildcats game and they were made to pay as a grubber kick deflected into the arms of Tom Olbison who planted the ball down, Foster’s conversion reduced the deficit to 18-16.

The Bulls completed their comeback with 15 minutes to go as Jamie Foster raced through some hesitant Wildcats defence before passing to Brett Kearney who scored under the posts. Foster made no mistake with the kick to make it 22-18.

Seconds later and Bradford were over again to the dismay of the home crowd, a scruffy last tackle play ended in the hands of Lulia again whose exquisite offload out of the back put Jamie Foster in the corner. This gave the Bulls an eight point cushion with little time remaining.

The Wildcats needed a lifeline and they got one with just five minutes left as Lee Smith’s superb individual run saw him beat five defenders to score. Trinity’s number four converted his own try meaning Wakefield trailed 26-24 going into the final moments.

Despite numerous breaks in the remaining minutes the hosts were unable to get over the line to leave the majority of 8,084 crowd wondering what might have been.

Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Cowling, Lyne, Cockayne, L. Smith, T. Smith, Poore, Aiton, Amor, Mariano, Kirmond, Washbrook. Replacements: Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Trout, Tautai.

Bulls: Kearney, Kear, Purtell, Lulia, Foster, Sammut, Gale, Scruton, Diskin, Evans, Langley, Olbison, Donaldson. Replacements: L’estrange, Manukafoa, Walker, Addy.

This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.

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