BURTON Albion boss Gary Rowett has praised his men for clawing their way back onto the victory trail — albeit against 10 men.
The Brewers had to wait until the 80th minute for Calvin Zola’s headed winner as Bradford City tried to battle their way to a point after the controversial dismissal of skipper Ricky Ravenhill just after the half-hour mark.
Rowett said: “It’s not easy against 10 men sometimes — we saw that down at Southend a few weeks ago.
“But we kept trying to do the right things even when the fans were getting a bit impatient, and in the end I thought we just about got our right rewards.
“Bradford defended very well — they’re a strong side — but I felt we were good on the whole today.”
The solitary goal came when Zola arrived at the far post to convert Damien McCrory’s cross with a diving header.
Rowett said: “We kept trying to put the ball into dangerous areas and that eventually won us the game.”
The Brewers boss diplomatically tried to avoid the debate about former Premier League referee Andy D’Urso’s decision to send off Ravenhill for his part in a minor confrontation with Albion midfielder Lee Bell.
“We’re not there to ref the game,” said Rowett.
“We stand on the sideline and we try to be as passionate as we can be and do what we can for our own team.
“Really, I prefer to focus on what my players have done, though I imagine Bradford do feel little bit aggrieved.”
The dismissal of Ravenhill left a bitter taste in the mouth of Rowett’s opposite number Phil Parkinson, who urged D’Urso to review his decision.
The Bantams boss said: “I have had a look at the incident again and it was never a sending off.
“Ricky’s gone in for a challenge and the lad Bell has jumped up towards him.
“They did come together but Ricky didn’t actually do anything only for Bell to go down as though he’s been severely injured.
“At half-time, the ref said he was 100 per cent sure that Ricky had head-butted him, but I’m going to ask him to have another look at it.
“Sometimes you get officials who have refereed at a higher level who come into these games on a cold, windy day in front of 2,000 people and they are not on the ball.”
The victory ended a run of only three points from four games that had seen Albion drop to 10th place in the table.
They are now back up to eighth and are only a point off a play-off place.
Rowett said: “We’ve got a really honest group of players who work really hard.
“This week we’ve drawn with Port Vale and beaten Bradford √ two of the better teams in the division — and we’ve picked up four points, so I’m delighted with that.
“One thing I will never, ever discredit our players for is their character.
“Every game, no matter what’s happened, they try to do the right things.”