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22:33 24th November 2012
By  Luke Gallagher

Bristol Rovers 3 Bradford City 3

A six goal thriller in rain soaked Bristol was ended with an altercation following a rash tackle on James Meredith. The referee decided to send Nathan Doyle off to put a damper on City's 'never say die attitude' to earn a hard fought point during the 90 minutes of play.

The hosts were starting on the front foot and took the lead within the first minute. Jim Paterson's corner was met by the head of debutant and former Bantam Guy Branston as he steered his side into an early lead.

City tried to reply immediately and carved out a couple of openings for themselves; Gary Jones found Nahki Wells who who escaped the attentions of Rovers skipper Garry Kenneth before hitting a low shot narrowly wide via a deflection.

The next chance fell to Will Atkinson after Nathan Doyle had looped the ball back into the crowded area, the ball made its way to Atkinson who hit a fierce half volley wide of the target.

The feeling grew that once City got their first goal they would have the strength in key areas to go on and win the game. Will Atkinson drove forwards with the ball before finding Wells in space in the area with an incisive pass, Wells dispatched the chance brilliantly firing his shot neatly into the bottom corner leaving Rovers keeper Sam Walker with no chance.

Without chance for City to grow further into the game, they fell behind once more. Only four minutes after the equaliser Tom Eaves received a pass before cutting inside two Claret & Amber shirts before firing a shot into the bottom corner beyond the reach of the despairing Matt Duke.

Bristol Rovers went into the half time interval in the lead but Nahki Wells almost equalised for the second time shortly before the break; Garry Thompson found him well with a pass and The Bantams' top scorer hit a ferocious shot from an angle that dipped marginally over the crossbar.

City started the second half brightly and Hanson's header from a Gary Jones corner slipped off the wet gloves of Sam Walker and went precariously behind for another corner.

Five minutes later, City were back on level terms once again; Gary Jones' corners were causing no end of trouble and on this occasion his delivery was met powerfully by the head of Carl McHugh to leave Walker with no chance.

Much to the frustration of The Bantams, Bristol Rovers were ahead once more shortly after. City failed to clear their lines to allow the hosts to pour forward in numbers, an initial shot was blocked away but the loose ball was superbly drilled home by Michael Smith in front of the home fans behind the goal.

James Hanson ended his long goal drought six minutes later by giving City their third equaliser of the afternoon. Hanson found Thompson out wide with a pass and Thompson delivered an accurate cross for him to steer a trademark header beyond Sam Walker and put his side on level terms once more.

In injury time a confrontation developed in front of the away dugout after Seanan Clucas had brought down James Meredith with an ugly tackle from behind. After the melee had settled the man in charge David Phillips decided to give Nathan Doyle a straight red card and hand Wayne Brown a second yellow. It later emerged that Doyle was found not guilty of a red card offence and his ban was lifted and also that Brown had been punished for a tackle that was committed by Clucas.

In the 10th minute of injury time The Bantams could've snatched all three points when Hanson headed the ball into the path of Alan Connell but the substitute striker couldn't get enough contact on the ball to truly trouble Walker.