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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
23:33 15th December 2012
By  Luke Gallagher

Southend United 2 Bradford City 2

A late comeback from the hosts salvaged them a late point after a Nahki Wells strike and a Luke Prosser own goal had looked set to hand The Bantams all three points to follow on from their terrific Capital One Cup victory over Arsenal a few days earlier.

 

Kevan Hurst who currently leads the way on the assists chart, almost got himself on the scoresheet early on. Matt Duke's clearance was unconvincing and went straight to the former Carlisle United man who tried his luck from range but the ball dropped narrowly over the bar with Duke struggling to get back into his goal in time.

 

Will Atkinson linked up with James Meredith down the left hand side producing some great build up play; Meredith was allowed the space to pick out a cross, James Hanson was on the end of it but he couldn't keep his close range header down a the ball fizzed narrowly over the crossbar.

 

Hanson was proving a major aerial threat in Southend's area and Gary Jones' pin-point delivery was powered against the bar by the big man as City went in search of an early goal.

 

Will Atkinson was looking typically positive in possession of the ball and after playing a neat one two with Nahki Wells he found space to shoot but his shot from the edge of the area was tame and comfortably held by Paul Smith.

 

Meredith's combination down the left hand side with Atkinson was proving effective and after Atkinson found the full back with a brilliant return pass he charged into space and found the feet of Wells who turned and hit a shot towards goal that was blocked by Prosser; the deflection sent Smith the wrong way and fell kindly back to him and he was left with a simple tap-in.

 

United looked to use their own flanks effectively and Sean Clohessy picked out a brilliant cross that was powered narrowly over the bar by leading scorer Britt Assombalonga.

 

Just before the break, Southend were presented with a decent chance: Michael Timlin hit an excellent angled pass that was brilliantly brought under control by Gavin Tomlin, he was hurried by City defenders and could only poke a shot narrowly wide of the target as Matt Duke raced out in attempt to deny him.

 

Timlin's passing ability was becoming more and more obvious as he continued to spray long passes across the field, on this occasion he picked out Kevan Hurst who patiently ran at James Meredith before curling a fierce shot narrowly wide of the target that had the home faithful on their feet.

 

Southend were becoming ever more involved in the contest as the game grew older and Hurst's delivery into the area came out to Luke Prosser who hit a venomous shot towards goal that went wide of the target via a deflection.

 

Against the run of play The Bantams doubled their lead. Will Atkinson found space to run at Chris Barker before fizzing in a low cross that Prosser made a mess of dealing with and ended up slicing the ball into the bottom corner of his own goal to give Phil Parkinson's men a two goal cushion going into the last 25 minutes of the game.

 

Substitute Zavon Hines looked bright upon his introduction and immediately tried to use his pace to go for the jugular of the Southend back line; he ran at Prosser before unleashing a shot that fizzed across the goalmouth.

 

He was at it again minutes later and after driving unchallenged into the area his shot deflected out into the path of Atkinson who curled a first time shot towards the top corner of the goal that Smith had to alertly deal with to force a corner.

 

Seconds after this chance, Southend had a goal back. Hurst's corner caused chaos in the area and Ryan Cresswell rose highest to head home and bring his side very much back into the game.

 

Britt Assombalonga almost equalised with 3 minutes remaining when he had appeared to be through on goal but Rory McArdle rushed back to make a last ditch challenge that took the sting out of the Watford loanee's shot and allowed Duke to make a relatively easy save.

 

Into injury time Paul Sturrock's men equalised to keep their impressive unbeaten run going; a long punt forward was simply not dealt with and Gavin Tomlin crept through a gap in City's defence to prod the ball past Duke and snatch a late point for his side.