April 2015: DONCASTER 0 CITY 3 (MacKenzie 55, Clarke 64, McMahon 90)

GOOD Friday proved to be anything but for the Bantams this time last year.

Lunchtime defeat at Coventry, followed by results elsewhere, confirmed relegation from League One, as a dire season was officially put out of its misery.

Easter fixtures have generally thrown up a mixed bag for City in recent years.

Simon Grayson’s team were soundly beaten in front of the TV cameras at Blackburn on Maundy Thursday evening the previous season.

A year earlier, Stuart McCall was heavily criticised by Edin Rahic, after the 3-0 loss to Sheffield United on Easter Monday finished off their hopes of a finish in the automatic promotion places.

Phil Parkinson’s side in 2016 chiselled out back-to-back 1-0 wins over the holiday weekend against Millwall and Crewe on their way to the play-offs.

But this week’s nostalgia game focuses on a Good Friday visit to Doncaster the previous year.

The FA Cup heroics that had gripped the nation had died out just over a fortnight before, with a weary defeat at Reading in their quarter-final replay.

City’s hopes of forcing their way into the top six had been hit by Chesterfield’s 1-0 win at Valley Parade three days earlier. The Spireites were now six points ahead in the final play-off spot from two games more.

Parkinson could at least call on Filipe Morais once more, after the winger served his three-game ban for a red card at the Madejski.

But Andrew Davies and Andy Halliday were injured for this Yorkshire derby.

Gary MacKenzie, a Scottish centre half signed from Blackpool reserves on deadline day, deputised for Parkinson at the back.

Tony McMahon, who had also arrived from the Tangerines just the week before, was already in line for a third appearance from the bench.

City needed the win to keep up the pressure on the play-off spots – but were nearly a goal down inside a minute as Jonson Clarke-Harris whipped a shot past the post.

Then the striker went down under Stephen Darby’s challenge, but strong home shouts for a penalty were waved away by referee Graham Salisbury.

Nearly 2,500 City fans made the trip and the volume grew as James Hanson and Mark Yeates went close.

The heat was also building on the touchline, where fourth official Declan Ford had to get in between Parkinson and Rovers boss Paul Dickov.

The woodwork came to City’s rescue as half-time approached. Curtis Main, who had scored Doncaster’s winner at Valley Parade earlier in the season, threw off Rory McArdle and fired against the post, with Ben Williams beaten.

Parkinson’s men certainly cashed in on that let-off when they stepped it up after the break.

Andy Butler blocked Hanson’s goal-bound header, before City struck the first blow.

A Morais cross was prodded into the mix by McArdle and MacKenzie dived in where it hurts to apply the decisive touch home.

Doncaster looked for a quick response, but Williams saved brilliantly from a powerful blast by former Bantam Dean Furman.

Then Stephen Bywater pulled off his own goalkeeping heroics, with a fine close-range stop to deny Billy Knott.

But City doubled their lead on 64 minutes. Hanson held off Luke McCullough with his back to goal, before picking out Billy Clarke to do the rest.

The Irishman confidently fired past Bywater from just outside the box to claim his 11th of the season and put his side firmly on the way to the win.

City were in control and many of the home fans had seen enough, deciding to make an early exit as the travelling army basked in the glow of an eighth success on the road.

And there was still time for one more reason to cheer, as McMahon opened his account for his new club.

Reece Wabara slipped up and McMahon, playing on the left side of midfield, took full advantage with goal number three.

“In the context of wins this season, that’s got to be right up there,” beamed Parkinson.

“The talk in Doncaster’s camp was how they’d had two weeks to prepare and we’d had two tough games in that time. But there was only one team looking fatigued when the final whistle went and it wasn’t us.”

DONCASTER: Bywater, Stevens, McCullough, Butler, Wabara, Wellens, Furman, Forrester (Bennett 68), Coppinger (Tyson 68), Main, Clarke-Harris (Mandeville 84).

CITY: Williams, Darby, McArdle, MacKenzie, Meredith, Morais, Liddle, Knott (Stead 89), Yeates (McMahon 69), Clarke (Dolan 89), Hanson.

REFEREE: Graham Salisbury.

CROWD: 8,592.