Super League: Bradford Bulls hold off Wakefield Wildcats
Last Updated: 02/06/14 9:29am
Bradford breathed new life into their bid to avoid the drop from Super League with a 20-12 victory over Wakefield at the Provident Stadium.
Adrian Purtell touched down twice in the first half as the Bulls opened up a 16-point lead by the break, one they managed to hang onto despite a comeback from the visitors.
Matt Ryan bagged a brace of tries but the Wildcats had left themselves too much to do, meaning they have now failed to register a win in their last seven trips to Bradford.
With their appeal against a six-point penalty for entering administration to be heard on Wednesday, the Bulls knew they could ill-afford to be beaten by the side currently perched above them in the table.
Although Wakefield made a promising start, it was the home team that took the lead when Gale's long final pass put Purtell in at the corner.
Gale added the extras and then had a hand in Bradford's second score, which he also converted, a cleverly delayed ball opening up the chance for Tom Olbison to get over behind the posts.
Purtell increased the advantage with his second on the half-hour mark and although the kick that followed was unsuccessful, the Bulls were charging their way to two vital points.
They could have gone even further ahead had Luke George been able to make more of a Lee Gaskell break six minutes before the interval.
Trinity should have got on the scoreboard themselves when Jarrod Sammut, playing against his former team, broke only for his potentially try-scoring pass to Danny Kirmond to go to ground.
Still, it only took Wakefield five minutes of the second half to breach the Bradford line, Sammut, Pita Godinet and Richie Mathers combining to send Ryan over.
Tempers became frayed after a huge hit by Richard Moore on Elliot Kear seemed to go unpunished but, after the Bulls winger showed his displeasure, a mass brawl broke out. After talking to his touch-judges, referee Richard Silverwood eventually sin-binned the Wildcats prop.
With their opponents down to 12 men, Gale added a penalty for Bradford before full-back Mathers was denied a try at the other end.
Gale missed an attempted drop goal but was on target with another penalty after Wakefield were pulled up for interference, making it 20-6 with just six minutes to play.
Ryan did cross again, Sammut adding his second goal, but Wakefield simply ran out of time, meaning they now six just six points clear of Bradford with that pivotal appeal looming large on the horizon for both teams.