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Sunday 6th July 2014, 15:00 - Round:19
|Tom Olbison, Adam Henry, Jamal Fakir, Luke Gale 2,||T||Morgan Escare, Vincent Duport, Ben Pomeroy, Julian Bousquet, Elliott Whitehead,|
Luke Gale 5,
Sam Williams 6,
Attendance: 5,188 Official: G Stokes Venue: Provident Stadium, Odsal
A converted try from former Bradford player Elliott Whitehead three minutes from time helped Catalan Dragons claim a dramatic comeback victory over the Bulls which strengthens the French side's grip on a top-eight play-off place.
Catalan coach Laurent Frayssinous, who was this week handed a new two-year deal, saw his side fight back from 16-6 and 24-12 behind to complete a First Utility Super League double over the relegation-doomed Bulls, having already beaten them 46-4 when the sides met in Perpignan at the end of May.
The sides shared five tries apiece but Sam Williams' kicking - six goals from six attempts - ultimately decided the issue in the French side's favour.
Catalan have now just one defeat - an agonising last-gasp single point loss at Leeds Rhinos - in their last seven games whilst second-bottom Bradford have not won in their last five.
In front of Bradford's lowest Super League crowd of the season, just 5,188, the Bulls took the lead after swift handling from Luke Gale and Lee Gaskell enabled Tom Olbison to crash over. That was after the Bulls had been given favourable field position when Morgan Escare had been adjudged to have knocked on while wrenching the ball free from Bradford's debutant loan signing from Salford Red Devils Danny Williams in a one-on-one tackle.
Gale landed the first of his five goals but the Catalans were level within six minutes as Zeb Taia broke clear down the left and Dragons try-machine Escare was on hand to go behind the posts for his 17th Super League try of the season.
Sam Williams converted and Escare almost grabbed a second try in support of a wonderful 70-metre dart down the touchline from Daryl Millard but lost control under pressure from Danny Williams as he attempted to ground the ball.
Adam Henry put the Bulls back in front following an incisive Danny Williams break from deep in his own half - the Kiwi centre completing the try with a thrilling 50-metre diagonal dash into the corner.
Gale missed the difficult conversion but the home side went further ahead within minutes as, helped up field by a penalty for a high shot, Adam O'Brien fed ex-Dragons prop Jamal Fakir, who barged his way through a posse of former team-mates to score against the side he left in April.
But the French outfit ensured that they were very much back in the game at half-time when Sam Williams sent Vincent Duport skipping past full-back Brett Kearney to score on his 150th career appearance.
Gale edged Bradford 18-12 clear at the break with a penalty for when Catalan were caught not standing square at the play the ball right on the hooter.
Within two minutes of the restart the Bulls had doubled their lead when Millard was unable to field a high Gale kick under pressure and Gale was quickest to react and pounce on the loose ball and score.
The Dragons were then forced to desperately defend numerous successive sets as errors and penalties against them mounted but, having weathered the storm, they hit back through Ben Pomeroy, who finished off a powerful charge from former Bulls star Whitehead.
It was now Bradford's turn to defend and pressure told when Julian Bousquet forced his way over from close range and Sam Williams' conversion tied the scores.
Escare thought he had put Catalan in front with a 60-metre break but referee George Stokes called play back into the Dragons half after advice from his touch judge.
But the Bulls conceded a penalty near the posts with 13 minutes remaining and Sam Williams accepted the offer to kick the Dragons ahead for the first time.
The Bulls response was immediate as Gale burst clear and under the posts before converting his own try.
However, the Dragons had the final say as Whitehead, who emerged via the Bradford academy before moving to France, scored after the Bulls defence failed to deal with a towering Escare kick to the corner.
Sam Williams' sixth successful conversion ensured both points for the visitors.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals