BRADFORD Bulls have injected electricity into their dying play-off hopes with their first victory in four games.

John Kear’s men were the Raiders in their long trip to face Barrow, stealing a valuable two points with a 46-22 win in Cumbria.

It comes at a pivotal time for the Bulls, breaking a winless run of three in the Betfred Championship which has seen their play-off chances free-fall.

That doesn’t give the full picture though, as they have come close in all three of those games.

The Bulls were particularly impressive last time out in their narrow 25-20 loss at the hands of division champions Toronto Wolfpack, who have preyed on most all season.

But, nothing but a win would be good enough for the Bulls in their quest to keep hold of their slim top-five hopes.

The Odsal outfit sat five points adrift of Featherstone Rovers in fifth before play, with eight points left to battle for.

Kear has made a point of insisting his side will not be dropping their heads until the chance of a spot becomes mathematically impossible.

That much was clear from the off with the Bulls coming out like the storm – apt considering they were having to deal with the harsh seaside elements, which include 30-mile per hour winds.

On six minutes, the visitors had their first of eight tries.

This was arguably the best of the whole bunch and set the tone for a slick, emphatic Bulls performance.

Joe Keyes – who impressed once again – put the finishing touches on it, but it all began with Jy Hitchcox, just 10 metres out from his own line.

The winger broke free from deep on the right-wing and then ran through the middle of the pack with ease.

Hitchcox was able to shift the ball to Jordan Lilley, who made a dart forward himself, before making its way on the left to Matt Garside whose neat offload proved key to allow Keyes to get under the posts.

The try-scorer made no mistake with the kick either taking the Bulls into an early lead.

Just as the visitors looked to be leading their hosts on a merry dance, Barrow levelled it from nowhere.

As the game passed the 10-minute mark, Jamie Dallimore escaped on the halfway line and had the presence of mind to play it to Deon Cross as the Bulls final line approached.

Cross then had acres to run into and planted the ball under the posts.

It was a slick move that would have settled the nerves of a side who have their own battle to contend with.

Barrow haven’t tasted the sweet savour of victory since late June – a five game pointless run – and are fighting for their Championship lives.

Their tenacity and will to survive was evident immediately after the try and it seemed to buoy them into showing much more offensive capability.

But, any hope for Barrow was short-lived as the Bulls ramped it up a gear and responded in the best possible way for a first-half to remember.

There were no less than five converted tries for the visitors, two of which were clean as can be and showed smart play deep in the Bulls half, as Kear’s men turned puppet-masters.

Just moments after a Barrow attack, and three minutes after their only points of the first-half, the visitors had a second try through Garside.

This time it was a role reversal with Keyes turned provider.

He twisted and turned to try get over the line himself, but thought better of it and offloaded to Garside.

Then came their third, a try of epic proportions and similar to the first.

Lilley managed to break free in the middle – a soft spot for Barrow – and bore down on full-back Luke Cresswell.

He had to approach and in doing so left Ethan Ryan open, who collected a deft flick pass from Lilley to then charge 40 metres forward for the four points.

With the Bulls pulling 12 points ahead, with relative ease, they could have been forgiven for resting on their laurels.

But that will never form part of the John Kear mantra and his troops were as avid in defending high as they were pulling the strings in attack.

At one point, Keyes chased the ball and Barrow men in the host’s 10-metre zone like a man-possessed and just would not let them have a moment to breath.

Such tenacity proved fruitful come the 31st minute when Minchella got in on the act, after yet another fantastic offload from Keyes as he took the Barrow line on.

There was joy for substitute George Flanagan four minutes later when his famous show-and-go paid dividends right on the Barrow line.

A late penalty goal from Keye rounded the half off for the visitors, taking them in at 32-6 to the good, in a game they were firmly in control of.

But, the Bulls seemed to loosen their grip on the strings immediately after the break, as the wild wind took a turn for the worse and was against the visitors for the second 40.

Barrow came out firing on all cylinders and were rewarded early on, as Dallimore scored, following a sustained spell of pressure. He followed up with the extras to take it to 32-12.

The patter of the first-half seemed to be repeating itself though, as the Bulls responded straight after with a try of their own through Ross Oakes – five tries, five separate scorers.

Keyes missed his first and only conversion of the game and then the Bulls became the masters of their own downfall in the run up to Barrow’s third of the match.

They gifted the hosts a seven-set restart and then gave away a penalty for a high challenge which put undue pressure on the Bulls line.

With the visitors scrambling all over, the quick passing of Puara Junior was able to avoid the line and sent Adam Ford through to make it 36-18, with the extras added.

The pendulum continued to swing back and forth wildly, with a musketeer entourage of Pickersgill, Rhys Evans and Minchella combining majestically for the latter’s second of the game, but Barrow pegged it back through Declan Hulme after a rare Pickersgill error.

He had to dance like a ballerina to try to collect a high bomb, but even then, it evaded him and Barrow got the points from the restart.

But, any semblance of a miracle comeback was firmly halted when Pickersgill atoned for the missed catch – which he could do little with anyway – and rounded off his impressive display with a 78th-minute try wide on the left after the Bulls had pushed hard in the Barrow 10-metre zone.

It was a welcome return to winning ways for Kear’s men, and the Bulls know they did what they had to.

The Odsal outfit will continue to rely on the failings of others for the unlikely to happen.

But their focus remains firmly on ensuring they maintain a perfect record heading into the final three and then you wouldn’t bet against a miracle unravelling given the Bulls’ magical season so far.