Bradford City gave their hopes of League Two promotion a welcome boost on Sunday, as they ran out 2-0 winners over Mansfield Town at Valley Parade.
A penalty in either half from James Vaughan was enough to seal all three points for the Bantams, and send them fourth in League Two, just one point adrift of the automatic promotion places heading into the new year.
That is something that ought to offer plenty of encouragement for manager Gary Bowyer heading into the new year, as he looks to ensure his side make it a brief stay in the fourth-tier of English football over the coming months.
Here, we take a look at three things we learned about Bradford from that win over Mansfield.
It was perfectly timed
Despite their promising position in the League Two standings, it still feels as though this is a win that was very much needed sooner rather than later for the Bantams.
Heading into this clash with Mansfield, Bowyer’s side had won just one of their last six games, a run that had seen them drop out of the automatic promotion places in the fourth tier table.
Given Mansfield’s position at the wrong end of that table, this will surely have been a game they will have targeted for all three points in order to keep pace with the top three, while also keeping the chasing pack at bay, and despite that recent drop in form, they were able to do just that, showing they can find results when they have to one way or another in the fight for promotion this season.
Home form looks set to be key
Even with that recent disappointing run by their standards, it still looks as though Bradford will be a formidable opponent for any opposition when the Bantams are on their own turf this season.
Indeed, that victory over Mansfield on Sunday means that no side in League Two has picked up more points at home this season than Bradford, who have lost just two of their 12 league games at Valley Parade in the current campaign.
With just about every team looking to their home form each and every season as their main source of points, the fact that Bradford have once again shown their efficiency on their own turf, certainly looks as though it will keep them in the running come the end of the season.
James Vaughan has some strong nerves
Despite how it may seem, taking a penalty is never easy, with the expectation to score surely a heavy weight on whoever is stepping up to take the spot-kick.
But having overcome that to put Bradford ahead – firing into the top right-hand corner after just 13 minutes – Vaughan was then faced with the challenge of having to take a second penalty in the same game.
Once again, that is an unenviable task in many ways. Not only is there that expectation to score, there is also the question of whether to go the same way, or take a different approach.
On this occasion, Vaughan went for the latter, and Bradford fans will be glad he did, firing into the bottom left-hand corner to seal a vital three points that keep them right in the hunt for an automatic promotion spot.