BARROW boss Mark Cooper saluted his “magnificent” players after they secured a battling draw away to high-flying Bradford.

But the Bluebirds could have come away from so much from Valley Parade having raced into a deserved 1-0 lead after only 21 minutes.

Josh Kay’s first-half cracker for the Bluebirds stunned the majority of the 15,403 audience

However, Charles Vernam hit back for the hosts after the break in front of the biggest crowd since they returned to the league.

“The players were magnificent and the fans were top drawer,” praised Cooper. “It’s a game we could have easily won.

“We could have lost it, but we went for it and had some brilliant chances early on. We could have been three goals up within the first ten minutes.

“But then we did get a goal and I can’t praise the players and the staff enough, they’ve been magnificent.

“I thought we looked a real threat going forward and worked really hard.

“And I thought we played some cracking football as well. It was a magnificent effort.”

568 travelling Barrow fans made the 260-mile round-trip to see if their side could register only their second away win of the season.

But Vernam’s leveller just before the hour mark meant that the Bluebirds had to settle for a well-earned point on their travels.

“I have a way I want to play,” stressed Cooper. “It’s about passing the football and getting control of the game.

“The reason I played Ollie Banks as a centre back is to try and gain that control – and I thought we did at the start.

“We had all of the ball and we looked a really good threat.

“You could tell we’d had a couple of really good sessions on grass. Full credit to the club for getting us some really good grass this week.

“And I think you could tell the difference, the boys really appreciated that.”

Cooper has spoken about his side finding the balance between attack and defence this season – and the Bantams tested the visitors resolve on a number of occasions.

“If we’d have defended like that last week we’d have beaten Colchester,” reflected Cooper.

“They’re [the players] are learning. Like I’ve said, the way I want to play, well there’s a bit of risk to it.

“You have to have courage with the ball and I thought the players were great.

“It’s [Bradford] a proper football club isn’t it? And I thoroughly enjoyed it [the match].”

“We defended when we had too, but like I say, the players have been incredible.”

Barrow sit 15th in the table with five positive results from their eight league outings thus far, which includes three wins.

And Cooper sees plenty grounds for optimism as the Bluebirds look to push their way into the top half of the League Two table.

“I think if you give everything you’ve got and they can see that you’re trying to do the right things, the Barrow fans will get behind you,” revealed Cooper.

“You could see with their reactions that they want us to do well. We want to do well and do things right because we’ve got some good players there.

“The fans have been behind us from day one and we really appreciate it.”