BRADFORD BULLS made hard work of their Challenge Cup fourth round clash at home to National Conference League Premier Division side Underbank Rangers, eventually emerging with an underwhelming 22-0 victory.

Adam Rooks scored his first ever Bradford try after 20 minutes, and with further scores from the returning George Flanagan and Levy Nzoungou before the break, the hosts looked set to pull well clear in the second half.

But they failed to add to their 18-0 half-time lead until just before the final hooter, when Rowan Milnes dived over from a Ross Oakes pass.

John Kear had some harsh words for his side at full-time, and admitted that a couple of players may well have played themselves out of contention for this coming Sunday’s Championship clash at Oldham Roughyeds.

Bulls were on the attack from the off against Underbank and Oakes won a penalty after being held in the tackle by Owen Restall.

But the same player was held up over the line from captain Steve Crossley's pass in the resulting set.

Matty Dawson-Jones, who had scored three tries in his opening two Bulls games, was then brilliantly brought down on the left wing on the last tackle, as Rangers showed some determined defence.

There was some light relief as Richard Pogson’s kick for the visitors flew sideways out of the stadium after getting caught in the howling wind.

Pogson was not the only one struggling to get to grips with the game early on.

Young Bulls second row Brad Gallagher lost the ball after a heavy tackle, conceded a penalty, then worst of all dropped a Brandon Pickersgill pass with the line at his mercy.

But he was bailed out by fellow hot prospect Rooks, who scored a brilliant opening try.

A shocking pass out from Sam Hallas after Milnes, Liam Kirk, and Tom Doyle had gone close should have seen the move end there and then.

But Rooks' quick thinking saw him put boot to ball and he flew past two Underbank players to touch down. Milnes converted comfortably to make it 6-0.

George Flanagan came on for his 200th career appearance and scored within seconds. Hallas found a gap, and Flanagan was up supporting on the inside left and crashed over.

Pickersgill, who had already saved Bulls’ skin a couple of times with some great defence at full-back, then went on a great run.

He and young Ebon Scurr almost fashioned an opening, before Flanagan was brought down just short on the last tackle.

Then, Milnes' clever kick through saw Dawson-Jones haring after it, and that saw Underbank’s Jamie Stringer forced to run the ball out for a goal-line drop out.

Flanagan was showing exactly what Bulls have been missing during his enforced absence, and he won a penalty right under the posts for the tacklers not being square.

A kick for two looked certain, but Bulls played for the try and the gamble paid off.

Scurr was brought down just short, but the ball came back centrally to Nzoungou, who cut a great diagonal line to fly over to the right of the posts. An easy Milnes conversion made it 18-0 at the break.

It was Bradford on the attack again early in the second half. Flanagan made a great break to 20 metres out and won his side a penalty.

That saw Bulls earn a dangerous set and Flanagan nearly went over a couple of times before the ball was worked wide right by Jordan Lilley.

He found Joe Brown, who was poleaxed by a high tackle.

That meant a penalty for Bulls close in, and they looked absolutely certain to go over when Milnes floated it wide to Joe Brown.

He flicked the ball on to David Foggin-Johnston wide right, but under pressure from Rangers’ Courtney Allette, he knocked forward.

Flanagan then darted through from 20 metres out and fed Nzoungou. He was brought down on the line but young referee Cameron Worsley awarded Bulls a penalty for an infringement.

Hallas looked like he was over from the resulting set but was held up over the line before Rooks ended up in a similar position but made a handling error at the last.

Outstanding defence from Underbank had kept them in with the tiniest chance and they soon gained great field position.

Pickersgill made virtually his first error of the afternoon after mishandling a Pogson kick through, before the visitors won a penalty for a Hallas misdemeanour.

That put them right in front of the Bulls posts for virtually the first time in the match, but they lost the ball forward early in the set and Bulls breathed a huge sigh of relief with a scrum.

Alex Brown then made an error in a defensive position for Rangers, but Bulls failed to take advantage.

The ball was worked back to Pickersgill close in on the left, but he was clobbered in the tackle trying to get the ball to Dawson-Jones and the ball trickled out of play.

The same two players combined again five minutes later, and Dawson-Jones raced down the left wing to touch down, but Pickersgill’s final pass was ruled forward.

Another good Underbank chance came and went as an attacking kick through was blocked. Lilley picked the loose ball up and charged forward, before subsequently being brought down for a penalty.

Aside from struggling to control their kicks into the wind at times, Rangers showed a lot of composure.

But a bit of naivety crept into their game towards the end. First, Ryan Maneely smacked the ball far too long and out of play, before they gave away a careless penalty for a silly high tackle on Foggin-Johnston.

But it was the non-league side who nearly got the next score. A kick through from Pogson fell short of Pickersgill, but Alex Brown's toe punt for the line went awry and flew out of play on the full.

Bulls finally got their fourth try on 75 minutes, when Oakes received the ball from Pickersgill. His high pass was reined in well by Milnes, who swan dived over to score.

Milnes' conversion looked all set to go through the posts, but the wind grabbed it at the last second and it fell just short.

Crossley was held up just short of the line at the death, as Bulls finished with a measly four points in the second half.

Nilling the opposition and grinding out the win were the two obvious positives for John Kear’s side, but they know this kind of performance will just not wash when they travel to Greater Manchester in six days' time.