DAYS like this are what persuaded Stuart McCall to take the job again.

“Give me a 4-3 win over a 1-0, any day.” It was one of the first things he said on returning to office at Valley Parade.

It was a similar mission statement from the owners when they took the plunge to buy a club in England.

Along with the obvious wish to be successful, Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp wanted to be entertained for their investment.

So for any moaning ninnies complaining about this or that after Saturday’s breathless encounter – tough.

You couldn’t imagine a Phil Parkinson side bombing forward with such abandon – while inviting the opposition to do exactly the same.

For a fanbase that have long grown accustomed to a diet of tight, hard-fought wins, the Rochdale showdown was a glorious throwback. You might score a few, but we’ll back ourselves to get more.

It had been a while since the stadium had witnessed such a gung-ho exhibition.

By the end, Valley Parade had seen its most goals in a game for 12 years since Barnsley won an FA Cup second-round replay 5-3 – and that had included extra-time.

In fact, McCall was playing the last time City won 4-3 on home soil when Eoin Jess scored a hat-trick against Watford in October 2001.

This time of year often springs up the odd whacky game. The combination of pitches starting to feel the strain of heavy usage and the change of weather – although City’s surface held up remarkably well given its third pounding in eight days – and the toll of mid-season injuries can conjure up unpredictable scorelines.

But nobody should have been too surprised by the way Saturday panned out.

The big, juicy clue was in the team line-up that McCall had unveiled.

Partly forced by necessity with the absence of Jake Reeves and Timothee Dieng to add midfield ballast, he also knew they would be facing a team likely to buck the recent trend of bringing the bus with them.

An accident on the M62 meant Rochdale’s only rolled up at the ground an hour before kick-off. But Keith Hill had no intention of “parking” it across their penalty area.

Hill said it wasn’t in their DNA to try to shut a game down, although their openness at defending free-kicks brought a post-match blast from a manager still looking for a first win of the season on the road.

So, we were treated to a League One version of the Gunfight at the OK Corral; both sides prepared to go toe-to-toe, bullet-for-bullet and almost to hell with the consequences.

Dominic Poleon’s recall up front meant a switch back to the wing for Paul Taylor, from the start at least although he would pop up all over.

Nicky Law was a constant driving force through the middle of the park, Tyrell Robinson and Tony McMahon always willing participants out wide along with Alex Gilliead. City were prepared to come at Dale from all angles.

Not that Rochdale were exactly backward at coming forwards themselves. With Matt Done and Ian Henderson supporting battering ram Calvin Andrew, they possessed a three-pronged attack to keep the home defence fully occupied.

Romain Vincelot, the one midfielder not constantly looking to join the charge upfield, was almost sucked into the role of a third centre half as City virtually went man-for-man at the back.

His side’s openness, with shades of the Chesterfield FA Cup game, will have reminded McCall why he is probably right not to go with two out-and-out wingers too often.

But it made for a gloriously exhilarating spectacle.

The signs that City could get plenty of joy from a porous Rochdale backline were evident from the off.

Charlie Wyke, who won more than his fair share despite being outnumbered three to one, had two great chances early on. One should have been a penalty when he was clearly elbowed in the back by Andrew.

But it was no surprise that the opening goal would come from a set-piece.

Tony McMahon’s free-kick was nodded into the mix by Nathaniel Knight-Percival and there was his defensive partner-in-crime Matt Kilgallon to stretch his studs and prod in from close range.

Rochdale responded well and, after Rouven Sattelmaier pushed out a skidding cross, he clipped Oliver Rathbone in the scramble for the loose ball.

But the German atoned for the error by guessing correctly with Henderson’s penalty to meet it with a solid right hand.

Poleon was thwarted when through before the game went into overdrive with a madcap finish to the half.

Four goals followed in the final seven minutes – anyone looking to beat the rush to the bar or toilet would have emerged into a parallel universe.

Once again, Rochdale failed to cope with a City free-kick, Wyke’s looping header catching keeper Josh Lillis in no man’s land as it dropped in off the underside of the bar.

But any thoughts the visitors would roll over quietly were instantly dispelled as Callum Camps’ shot fell conveniently for Henderson to pull one back.

City’s two-goal lead was cut for approximately 37 seconds. Straight from the kick-off, the ball was fed to Gilliead and Poleon peeled off his marker to clip a neat volley at the near post – his first goal since September.

Still there was time for more. A long punt from Lillis was helped on by Andrew and Henderson reacted quickest with a flashing half-volley past a startled Sattelmaier.

The second half threatened to be calmer apart from Lillis foiling another one-on-one with Gilliead.

But then Hill threw on Steve Davies, the striker who hated the “super sub” tag during his days coming off the bench to score for City.

True to form, he needed only a minute to strike the equaliser amid lax defending – Sattelmaier will also feel he should have done better.

The spectre of a fifth home game without a win suddenly loomed large for the Bantams.

But then Wyke flicked a through ball every bit as delicious as the one that had unlocked Shrewsbury last time out.

Robinson was straight on it and switched on the after-burners to race away. Lillis made a headlong dash to meet him, making up the youngster’s mind to slip the ball on his favoured left foot and stroke into the unguarded net.

Robinson milked the adulation beneath the Kop and Valley Parade could finally savour an occasion that will not be forgotten in a hurry.