Bulls tame the Wildcats
Adrian Purtell scored two tries as Bradford Bulls gained a vital 20-12 First Utility Super League victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
The relegation-threatened Bulls are now six points adrift of the Wildcats and safety with the possibility of the gap reducing further when an appeal against a six-point penalty for entering administration earlier in the season is heard next Wednesday.
Bradford continued a stranglehold over the Wildcats at Odsal - a run of seven games without defeat - through three first-half tries and four goals from five attempts from inspirational half-back Luke Gale.
Gale also engineered each of the Bulls tries as they completed what could turn out to be a crucial double following their February win at Wakefield.
Bradford boss Francis Cummins was able to welcome back captain Matt Diskin, who missed the defeat at Catalan Dragons, centre Matty Blythe and second-rower Dale Ferguson, who had both not played since the Maunday Thursday visit of Leeds Rhinos, and front-rowers Jamal Fakir and Chev Walker.
Wakefield included Lee Gilmour, a former Super League and World Club Championship winner with Bradford, who made his debut off the bench on loan from Castleford Tigers, while Chris Riley returned after missing the previous week's defeat against his parent club Warrington Wolves due to a clause in his loan agreement.
Hooker Paul McShane also recovered from illness, however Trinity remained without Dean Collis (knee), Reece Lyne (toe), the forceful Taulima Tautai (hamstring) and Ali Lauitiiti (knee ligaments), while on-loan Jacob Fairbank has returned to Huddersfield Giants and Chris Annakin was beginning the first of a five-match suspension for a dangerous throw in the Wolves game.
The Wildcats were prominent in the opening stages but it was the home side who struck first. Some imaginative handling kept the ball alive before a long final pass from Gale put Purtell in at the corner for his eighth try of the season. Gale added the extras.
Gale then helped double the Bulls advantage through a cleverly delayed pass that put Tom Olbison in behind the posts and was again the instigator when his pass sent Olbison clear and Purtell added his second and the hosts' third try just after the half-hour mark.
The Bulls could have gone 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 when Jarrod Sammut, against his former team, broke only for his potentially try-scoring pass to Danny Kirmond to go to ground.
Pita Godinet almost latched on to one of his trademark interceptions but again just failed to grasp the ball.
Wakefield began the second half with intent and Sammut, Godinet and Richard Mathers combined to send Matt Ryan over for a try, Sammut converting to give them hope.
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 conversing with his touch-judges, referee Richard Silverwood sin-binned the Wildcats prop.
Whilst Trinity were down to 12 men, Gale added a penalty for Bradford before Mathers was denied a try at the other end.
Gale missed an attempted drop goal with 13 minutes remaining and Jay Pitts went close before the former sealed matters with another penalty after Wakefield were pulled up for interference.
Ryan claimed another consolation for Trinity with barely two minutes remaining with Sammut adding his second goal.