Rochdale boss Jim Bentley hailed a “massive result” after his side came from behind to win 2-1 at Bradford and move out of the League Two relegation zone.
Mark Hughes’ side looked on course to go fourth with a third consecutive victory after Abo Eisa put them ahead.
But veteran striker Ian Henderson, who is 38 later this month, struck twice in seven minutes to earn Rochdale only their second win in 14 games in all competitions.
Bentley said: “It’s a massive result for us away from home against one of the top sides.
“We showed character, 1-0 down at half-time to come back and win the game. I thought there were some really strong performances.
“On the balance of the play, I think we deserved it. It’s been a long time coming but we have the belief we can win every game.
“We were resilient, put the bodies on the line and defended. We gave everything we needed in the position that we are to get a magnificent result.
“Hopefully it’s something we can build on and get ourselves away from where we don’t want to be.”
Bradford took the lead from their first effort on target in the 29th minute as Eisa finished cleverly after flick-ons from Harry Chapman and Levi Sutton.
Devante Rodney went close with a low free-kick that caught out home keeper Harry Lewis and struck the base of the post.
But Rochdale levelled after Rodney was brought down in the box by Brad Halliday. Lewis saved the striker’s penalty but Henderson converted the rebound.
He then clinched Dale’s first win since November 8 with a close-range finish after Rodney had got a touch on Danny Lloyd’s cross.
Bradford manager Hughes was disappointed not to be awarded a penalty for Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s sliding challenge on Eisa two minutes before Rochdale got theirs.
Hughes said: “We were quite comfortable 1-0 to the good and should have had a penalty. I’ve no idea why the ref didn’t give that because the lad has clearly taken out Abo.
“Then lo and behold, they go up the other end and get one. Brad was initially fouled because he had his arm pulled back, that’s what’s unbalanced him and there’s a coming together.
“The ref saw fit to give that as a penalty. I think everyone in the crowd, including the Rochdale fans over that side of the pitch, were surprised.
“We’ve had a lot of penalties go against us on that side. Whether it echoes a little bit louder and the referees react to it, I’ve no idea.
“Their second goal was offside so that’s another key decision. We found ourselves behind not through our poor play but the referee’s performance.”
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