BRADFORD Bulls’ 1895 Cup journey came to an end as Wakefield Trinity produced a strong second-half fightback to seal a 40-14 win in this afternoon’s semi-final at Odsal.

With a place in the final at England’s National Stadium at stake, both sides were well aware of just how much this contest meant to their respective supporters.

For Bradford, it was a chance to return to Wembley for the first time since 1997, while, for the visitors, they haven't played under the famous arch for 45 years - the last time being in 1979.

But it was to be Wakefield’s afternoon, both for the players and their well-travelled away support.

On Saturday, Bulls announced the signing of Hull FC’s Jayden Okunbor on a short-term loan, but it was too early for the former NRL star to make the squad.

However, John Davies returned for the hosts after recovering from illness in a huge boost for Eamon O’Carroll’s side.

Both defences started strongly in the West Yorkshire sunshine but it would be the visitors’ backline that would be breached first.

Eribe Doro, in customary fashion, went on a barnstorming run to bully his way past several Wakefield challenges.

The pitch began to open up and just as it did, Bradford’s no17 offloaded the ball to Joe Arundel who broke clear to leave a three-against-one situation in Bulls’ favour. 

Opting to go left, Zac Fulton gratefully accepted the pass to race away for the home side’s first try of the afternoon, which was met by an almighty roar from the home faithful. Lilley added the extras to put Bulls 6-0 ahead.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Zac Fulton touches down to finish off a great Bradford moveZac Fulton touches down to finish off a great Bradford move (Image: Tom Pearson)

Things got better for the hosts on minute 15 - Lilley taking a late hit from the Wakefield man - and he was on hand to strike the penalty over the posts from 15 metres out. 

An 8-0 lead against any side tends to be a slender one, but particularly against a side of Wakefield’s quality. And so it proved for Bradford.

After Jorge Taufua had remarkably kept out Lachlan Walmsley on two occasions with a couple of try-saving tackles, Bulls’ backline finally broke.

Despite appeals of a forward pass from the home crowd, Ky Rodwell burst through the tiniest of gaps to touch down centrally for the visitors. 

Max Jowitt added the extras to make it an 8-6 scoreline in favour of the Bulls at half-time.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Eribe Doro was at the heart of Bradford's brilliant first-half displayEribe Doro was at the heart of Bradford's brilliant first-half display (Image: Tom Pearson)

After the interval the visitors came out of the blocks quickly and had turned the game on its head in no time.

Matty Ashhurst was first over for Trinity as he darted over on the powerplay towards the left-hand touchline for a converted try.

Four minutes later (47), Liam Hood touched down under the posts for another converted effort for Trinity, with the score now at 18-8 in the away side’s favour.

Bulls responded, though, and thought they had a try of their own through Kieran Gill.

Lilley played a delightful grubber kick through the gap and Bradford’s top scorer touched down, but the referee deemed the prolific centre to be offside.

Ashhurt made Bradford pay moments later, as he burst through to score under the posts, despite claims of a forward pass from the Bulls faithful.

Jermaine McGillvary then scored in the corner after a brilliant juggling offload from Oliver Pratt, but Jowitt’s kick went wide on this occasion.

Gill did get his try eventually, as the same Lilley-Gill combo worked a treat once more - Bulls’ no4 touching down in the corner for a converted try to give the hosts a small glimmer of hope at 28-14 in favour of the visitors.

However, two late breakaway converted tries from Renouf Atoni and Derrell Olpherts sealed the victory and second-half comeback for the visitors as they cruised to a 40-14 victory.

It's back to the drawing board for Bulls now, as the Championship fixtures continue to come around think and fast, with the high-flying Sheffield Eagles visiting Odsal next Sunday.