Tranmere won for the first time since August after a spirited performance at Bradford City was rewarded thanks to Ryan Lowe’s strike.
The three points move Rovers off the foot of the table, and were claimed when Lowe profited from a Jake Kirby flick-off and tucked home the winner.
It was the striker’s third goal of the season, it earned Rovers their first points since early September.
Ronnie Moore made one change to the side that faced Swindon last week, with Jake Kirby replacing Akpo Sodje for his first ever league start. Meanwhile, Ian Goodison captained the side on his 400th appearances in a Rovers shirt.
The game started at quite a pace, and Rovers threatened first when Ash Taylor’s header was kept out by Jon McLaughlin, but the offside fan would have ruled it out anyway.
In the opening ten minutes Moore’s side looked solid, Ryan Lowe shot wide on 11 minutes following come good work down the right by Kirby.
However, Bradford came even closer moments later, James Hanson’s improvised cross wasn’t dealt with and Stephen Darby volleyed over the crossbar.
A training ground set piece created Bradford’s next chance, but Kyel Reid wasted the opportunity, firing a short free-kick well over.
Bradford penalty appeals were turned down on 20 minutes, with Rovers breaking quickly, and Max Power have a shot deflected wide. From the resulting corner Taylor shot straight at McLaughlin.
The set pieces kept coming for the visitors; Tom Hateley was next to try his luck, when Power’s free kick landed to him on the edge of the box, but the midfielder blazed over.
With Valley Parade already full of atmosphere, tempers over boiled mid-way through the first half, Bradford felt Goodison, whilst shepherding the ball out of play, raised an elbow to Reid.
Phil Parkinson immediately confronted the Rovers skipper, and that sparked a mass brawl right in front of the dugouts.
When the referee dealt with the situation he showed Goodison a yellow card, much to the disapproval of the majority inside the stadium.
Playing the pantomime villain on his milestone day, Goodison was then fouled by Hanson, who joined the defender in the book.
In terms of Rovers defending, a number of half-hearted penalty shouts from Bradford went unanswered, as Owain Fon Williams remained untested.
Four minutes before the break Tranmere had a golden chance to go ahead, Liam Ridehalgh’s cross was met by the head of Chris Atkinson, but his effort was clawed to safety by McLaughlin.
In first half stoppage time Jim McNulty’s free kick had to be turned away to safety by McLaughlin.
Hateley’s deflected drive, which was held by the City goalkeeper was the last action of the half, as Rovers went in satisfied with the opening 45 minutes.
Straight after the interval Tranmere were inches from taking the lead, Ryan Lowe knocked down to Power, whose sweetly strike effort whistle narrowly wide of the mark.
Kirby was next to come close, the winger cut in onto his left foot and fired off target.
A goal saving tackle kept the scores level on 57 minutes, with Goodison sliding in to deny Garry Thompson. Hanson then headed wide from the resulting corner.
Reid then was next to threaten for the hosts, he ploughed forward, received the advantage from the referee, after Hateley caught him, before firing over Fon Williams’ goal.
The Welsh stopper, who returned from international duty to play, then did well to cut out Reid’s dangerous looking cross.
Reid was beginning to really influence the game, and the winger tested Fon Williams again soon after, but the stopper held his low drive.
On 68 Reid tried his luck yet again, this time his effort flew wide of the mark.
With the next attack Rovers took the lead and stunned Valley Parade.
Fon Williams’ goal kick was helped on its way by Kirby into the path of Lowe, and the striker’s low effort snuck underneath McLaughlin to put Rovers ahead.
That goal sparked a spell of pressure from the hosts, which ended with Jason Kennedy shooting over.
Mark Yeates’ cross then clipped the angle and away to safety, as Evan Horwood replaced McNulty for Rovers.
With ten minutes left on the clock Moore switched again, Abdulai Baggie replaced Kirby, who had impressed on his first start for the club.
Fon Williams was the next goalkeeper in action however, and he pulled off a stunning one-handed save to keep out substitute Caleb Folan’s header.
At the death it looked like the Bantams would level, but Fon Williams made himself big and blocked Gary Jones’ goal-bound header.
That save proved crucial, as Rovers were to deny Bradford, and hold on for all three points.
Bradford: McLaughlin, Darby, Meredith, Oliver (Connell 75), Reid, Kennedy (De Vita 87), Hanson, Thompson (Folan 67), Yeates, Jones, Doyle. Unused substitutes: Ripley, Gray, McHugh, Bates.
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Goodison, McNulty (Horwood 78), Kirby (Baggie 81), Power, Hateley, Atkinson, Ridehalgh, Lowe (Stockton 90+2). Unused substitutes: Watkins, Morris, Rowe, Sodje.
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Yellow cards: McNulty (16), Goodison (27), Hanson (29), Thompson (59), Fon Williams (83), Folan (85)
By Mark Ridgway
Read more at http://www.tranmererovers.co.uk/news/article/report-bradford-131013-1111442.aspx#rUG0KZBDR5O6C6BC.99