Gary Bowyer praised in-form striker Ian Henderson after his stoppage-time goal earned Salford a 1-0 win at Bradford and lifted them into the Sky Bet League Two play-off places.
The match had moved into the first minute of time added on when Jordan Turnbull supplied a through pass for Henderson – a transfer target for the Bantams last summer – to clip the ball over the head of advancing home goalkeeper Sam Hornby for his 18th goal of the season and sixth in the last seven games.
It was a sweet victory for Bowyer against his former club, who sacked him in February 2020.
Bowyer said: “It was a great pass from Jordan Turnbull and the control and finish from Ian Henderson was sublime.
“He is a top marksman who is in a rich vein of form. He is a fantastic player who has been scoring goals in the north west for many years and hopefully there is more to come from him.”
Bradford’s players appealed for offside and Bowyer admitted it looked a “tight” decision, but added: “You can’t take anything away from the finish.”
Bowyer would not be drawn on the Ammies’ play-off prospects. He said: “I know it’s a cliche, but we will just concentrate on our next game at Colchester on Saturday.
“I felt we didn’t keep the ball well enough in the first half, but we brought on Paul Coutts in the second half and we benefited from his experience and knowhow.”
It was Bradford’s fifth defeat in a row and joint manager Mark Trueman was convinced Salford’s winner was offside.
“It was a tough one to take,” he said. “His arm and his leg looked to be offside.”
Trueman took encouragement from an improved performance, however, and said: “I thought we moved the ball well at times and created some good chances and on another night we would have won the game. At least our performance levels were higher.”
Trueman is planning for a busy summer, but said: “For the moment we are concentrating on winning our last two games.”