THERE have not been too many happy tales coming out of Valley Parade of late.

Car park protests, crowd unrest, heavy defeats dished out on a pitch ridiculed by the rest of the division.

It’s been increasingly difficult to keep smiling during the toughest of watches.

So, it made a refreshing change to have such a positive storyline from the penultimate home appearance of this frustrating season.

Here was proof that nice guys do win.

Brad Halliday has been a beacon of consistency in a campaign that has fluctuated between the good, the bad and the downright ugly for the Bantams.

“Always a seven out of 10 who never drops that level” was Graham Alexander’s post-match bouquet – which makes the manager’s recent call to drop the number two from last month’s mauling by Mansfield even more head-scratching.

Rightly restored since, Halliday crowned his 100th appearance in claret and amber with the match-winner in front of the Kop. You can’t ask for a better script than that.

The way he was mobbed by team-mates after scoring his third goal since Christmas showed that they hold the “Ginger Cafu” in the same high esteem as the fans.

They appreciate a player who will always put the team first – summed up by his modest words afterwards.

“I knew going into the game that it was my 100th and I wanted three points more than anything,” he said. “But to get a goal as well was probably the perfect way to bring that up.

“When I hit it, I thought it was either going in the goal or row Z. It was great to see it go in."

Gillingham keeper Jake Turner will feel he should have done better with the shot but that is unnecessary nit-picking on a good news day.

Halliday should storm City’s end-of-season awards – anything less would be a travesty – and fully deserved his day in the sun.

But he had to share top billing as the Bantams enjoyed back-to-back home wins for the first time in two months.

On the afternoon that it was confirmed Harry Lewis will be back at Valley Parade next season after Carlisle’s relegation, his replacement continues to impress.

Sam Walker bagged a seventh clean sheet in 16 appearances and was pivotal in providing the platform for an ultimately fairly comfortable three points.

That result had not looked so assured in a first half when Gillingham’s physical edge threatened to make for a busy day for the big stopper.

Andy Cook, one of three changes from the City side that started Easter Monday’s stodgy draw at Grimsby, had fluffed an early chance to add to a record of seven goals in his previous four attempts against the Gills.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Brad Halliday jumps for joy after scoring in his 100th City gameBrad Halliday jumps for joy after scoring in his 100th City game (Image: Thomas Gadd)

But then it was the visitors, smarting from the previous week’s pasting by Harrogate, who posed serious questions – only to be met by emphatic answer from the imposing presence between the posts.

Walker clawed away a header from target man Oli Hawkins and then left Conor Masterson clutching his head in disbelief with a reaction save from close range.

When Walker was beaten, Daniel Oyegoke produced an athletic block on the line to deny Timothee Dieng another goal-scoring return to West Yorkshire.

Some managers play down keepers making big saves as simply doing their job. Derek Adams rarely went out of his way to pay tribute to the number one shirt.

But Alexander acknowledged the impact that Walker has made since January.

“Moments can change games and we’re trying to get a belief and a mentality that they can go for or against us but we keep going along.

“But it’s so important that players come up with them, certainly strikers and goalkeepers because of where they work (on the pitch). They are big moments in games because you either get the lead or lose it.

“Sam’s made a couple of really big saves for us in the past since he’s come in.

“He’s been a great character to bring in. He’s quite a composed person and I think he gives a lot of the young defenders in front of him an air of calmness.”

That was evident in the way City shut down Gillingham in the second half.

There was only one more flicker of concern when substitute Josh Walker shot across goal as the home side afforded their keeper a much quieter ride after the break.

For a team supposedly chasing the play-offs, Gillingham looked devoid of any attacking ideas from the moment they fell behind.

If City’s season has under-achieved, then what of the Kent side expensively assembled from the deep pockets of American property tycoon Brad Galinson?

The Bantams have not scaled the heights of the top seven once; Gillingham were the division’s early pacesetters. But their long-running, long-distance rivalry will be renewed once more come August.

Once City worked out a way to negate the aerial danger of Hawkins – cutting down on set-pieces and throw-in opportunities reduced the supply lines – their opponents had little else in their armoury.

There is a reason why Gillingham are League Two’s lowest scorers with 10 goals fewer than the third-from-bottom Bantams.

This was one of those games where the highlights package made it look much better than it was.

There was no shortage of incident – but also fallow periods where the place went flat as the teams found it difficult dealing with the standard tricky pitch and an increasingly gusty wind.

Alexander’s move to start Tyreik Wright at left wing back, where he had finished against Grimsby, certainly paid off.

Wright has played the role on the few occasions when he has had game time at Plymouth and offered a speedy attacking threat against the equally nippy Romeao Hutton.

Calum Kavanagh was always game in attack and earned the standing ovation on his late departure. But Cook looked down on confidence after Turner foiled that early opportunity created by his strike partner.

Still, this was a day when another less obvious source would pop up with the crucial goal – and how that made for a welcome change in narrative.