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Match report: Bradford City 1, York City 1
GARY Mills complained about schoolboy errors after last week’s 4-0 thumping against Coventry, but on Saturday his York City side passed a stern examination of their League Two credentials.
Prior to the Minstermen’s visit to Valley Parade, high-flying Port Vale had been the only team to take points off well-supported hosts Bradford City this season.
Refusing to be daunted by a near 12,000-strong crowd, though, Mills’ team matched the Bantams and led at the interval courtesy of a spectacular Ashley Chambers strike.
A double substitution by home boss Phil Parkinson saw the former Premier League outfit respond strongly after the break and, even though former West Ham winger Zavon Hines’ 55th-minute equaliser could have been better defended, his fellow replacement Garry Thompson thumped another effort against an upright and Nahki Wells also missed a one-on-one opportunity.
The final outcome, therefore, represented a fair result at the end of an entertaining encounter.
Earlier, Bradford target man James Hanson had dragged a 25-yard chance wide after just 14 seconds when Clarke Carlisle miskicked an attempted clearance.
The Minstermen had to wait until midway through the first period before creating their first chance of the match with Matty Blair carrying the ball 50 yards through midfield before releasing the recalled Jamie Reed down the right flank.
Reed then picked out Jason Walker with a low centre but the City striker missed the target with his sidefooted effort from seven yards.
Moments later, the trio combined again but play was puzzlingly pulled back by an offside flag after Walker had released Reed for a clear run on goal.
At the other end, Connell fired a 30-yard effort straight down Ingham’s throat before Chambers broke the deadlock.
Jon Challinor’s cross from the right was deflected towards Chambers who, 20 yards from goal, aimed a perfectly-timed sidefooted full volley beyond Jon McLauglin’s outstretched left arm.
The home ’keeper then made his only save of the afternoon early in the second half from eyecatching on-loan Peterborough midfielder Danny Kearns’ curling 20-yard effort after Reed had charged down the right flank.
But Hines and Thompson’s twin introductions gave Bradford a timely boost.
Within two minutes, Thompson headed over from a Nathan Doyle free-kick and, after Chambers went close for the visitors from 20 yards, Hines had levelled the scores.
Ex-Minsterman James Meredith, whose every touch was booed by the away fans, fed the former England under-21 international down the left flank and, after leaving Challinor trailing in his wake and despite having Scott Kerr in hot pursuit, he then sidestepped a flat-footed Carlisle before firing into Ingham’s bottom left-hand corner from ten yards.
Just past the hour, Thompson’s thumping 15-yard angled drive then thudded against Ingham’s near post and, on 72 minutes, Doyle’s through ball presented Wells with an excellent chance to fire the home team in front.
The Bermudan forward sprinted clear of last man Challinor and dinked the ball over an advancing Ingham but saw his shot bounce wide of the City ’keeper’s right-hand post.
Bradford continued to exert pressure with Thompson’s rising 20-yard drive saved by Ingham and, after City substitute Michael Coulson missed the target by a distance with his curling free-kick, Luke Oliver headed over from another Doyle set-piece and Wells went close with a stoppage-time back-heeled attempt borrowed straight from the Danny Welbeck book of cheeky finishes.
The Minstermen held on, however, with the challenge now, for a team that have lost just two of their last 24 away games, to improve on a home record of one win from eight games.
Eighth-bottom Dagenham & Redbridge are next visitors up at Bootham Crescent on Saturday.
Bradford City 1 (Hines 55), York City 1 (Chambers 44)
Michael Ingham 8
Left exposed for goal and handling of crosses and command of six-yard box was exemplary.
Jon Challinor 6
Struggled with crosses and given a tough time by Hines, whose pace might have been better matched by Parslow at right-back.
Chris Smith 8
STAR MAN – a typically determined display from City’s captain, who attacked every first and second ball.
Clarke Carlisle 6
Still playing catch-up fitness wise after missing pre-season and might have ushered Hines away from goal for equaliser.\ Jamal Fyfield 7 Reliable and in the right place at several times to make important interceptions and clearances.
Scott Kerr 7
Great to see him approaching his best so early in his comeback from seven months out even if he tired late on.
Danny Kearns 8
Showed genuine quality in possession and protected the ball whenever he was given it.
Matty Blair 7
Gave his most disciplined display in midfield to date, curbing his natural desire to bomb forward to do a job for the team.
Jamie Reed 7
Not a natural on the flank but involved in most of City’s promising counter attacks before his substitution.
Jason Walker 7
A constant outlet for the visitors as they came under the cosh with his ability to hold the ball up or win a foul.
Ashley Chambers 8
Concerned the hosts with his movement around the pitch and provided a thumping finish for City’s goal.
Subs: Coulson 6 – eager (for Reed, 62), Parslow (for Kearns, 83). Not used: Musselwhite, McGurk, J Smith, Johnson, McLaughlin.
Bradford City: Jon McLaughlin, Stephen Darby, Andrew Davies, Luke Oliver, James Meredith, Will Atkinson, Ricky Ravenhill (Zavon Hines, 53), Nathan Doyle, Alan Connell (Garry Thompson, 53), Nahki Wells, James Hanson.
Subs not used: Matt Duke, Ritchie Jones, Carl McHugh, Adam Baker, Scott Brown.
Star man: Doyle – kept probing and provided quality service in general play and from dead-ball situations.
Referee: Mark Heywood (Northwich). Rating: 7/10 – firm and decisive without over-reacting amid a cauldron-like local derby atmosphere.
Booked: Kerr 90.
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 11,883 (1,440 from City).
Shots on target: Bantams 5, City 2.
Shots off target: Bantams 7, City 3.
Corners: Bantams 5, City 3.
Fouls conceded: Bantams 20, City 18.
Offsides: Bantams 3, City 4.