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23:36 27th April 2013
By  Luke Gallagher

Cheltenham Town 0 Bradford City 0

The Bantams rounded off their 46 fixture league campaign with a creditable draw at fellow play-off participators Cheltenham Town. 

Phil Parkinson made eight changes from the starting lineup that saw off Burton Albion at The Coral Windows Stadium a week earlier with only Stephen Darby, Michael Nelson and Ricky Ravenhill keeping their place in the first eleven.



The hosts, fielding a full strength side as they attempted to snatch the last automatic promotion place from Rotherham United, started the game brighter than City in the opening stages. Byron Harrison picked out the run of Billy Jones on the left flank and his teasing cross was inches away from being met by Sido Jombati inside the area.


Town should've scored five minutes later; Sido Jombati was fouled by Zavon Hines and Billy Jones' teasing delivery was met unchallenged by the head of Steve Elliott but he could only watch his header creep fractionally wide of the far post with Matt Duke a spectator.


Sido Jombati was enjoying a positive start to the game and after receiving a cross field pass he squeezed past Carl McHugh before producing an improvised cross that was headed narrowly wide at the far post by Kaid Mohamed.


Cheltenham continued to enjoy a bright spell early in the game and Marlon Pack was the next to try his luck as he forced Matt Duke into an uncomfortable looking save when his dipping 25 yard freekick was heading towards goal.


City's attacking spells were limited in the first half but a chance almost arose when Zavon Hines got in behind after Billy Jones misjudged a bouncing ball. He got to the byline excellently but his low centre towards Alan Connell was hooked to safety by a home player.


After Byron Harrison had looked to be breaking away from City's back line of defence down the right hand side he was brought to ground by an incoming challenge from Andrew Davies. Davies had looked to have got something on the ball but after the linesman had flagged for a foul it looked as if he could be about to receive a red card. Fortunately though, he got away with just a booking.


Continuing to go in search of the opening goal, Town centre half Steve Elliott was almost the unlikely source. Kaid Mohamed's dangerous in swinging corner was clawed away by Duke and the ball dropped to Elliott, instead of trying his luck with a shot he opted to square the ball across the area and it was eventually cleared to safety.


Minutes before the interval City lead a counter attack through Alan Connell which initially looked very promising. The ball was worked wide to Zavon Hines and after galloping forward into space he was eventually crowded out by a pair of Cheltenham players who cleared the danger.


The Bantams were to discover early in the second half that Marlon Pack possesses a menacing long throw in and it was from one that Cheltenham almost scored the opening goal as Steve Elliott headed a few yards wide from inside the crowded penalty area.


On the hour mark City were reduced to ten men; with Andrew Davies already on a booking he was dismissed by referee Andy D'Urso after shrugging Jermaine McGlashan in the back to end his mazy run that had started to gather momentum. A nightmare for the towering centre half who now misses the first play-off leg through suspension.


Robins' skipper Russell Penn almost scored the opener in spectacular fashion as he latched onto a loose ball to hammer a half volley marginally over the bar but a minute later City missed a gilt-edged chance at the other end. Zavon Hines, who was enjoying a superb second half display, got the better of Billy Jones before checking back and delivering a floated pass to Nathan Doyle just inside the area. Doyle however could only loop a volley half a yard wide of Scott Brown's far post.


Cheltenham were denied by the woodwork with ten minutes of the ninety left to play. Billy Jones' floated corner kick was met by Marlon Pack with a glancing header but his attempt came back off the inside of the post and was cleared to safety, much to the relief of the near 1,500 visiting supporters in the away end.


Tall loanee centre half Michael Hector tried his own luck with a speculative rising drive that flew narrowly over the bar after he had picked up Matt Duke's punched clearance from Billy Jones' delivery.


The hosts kept pressing for a late winner and substitute Shaun Harrad was denied by Matt Duke. After initially winning back possession, Zavon Hines was robbed by Billy Jones whose pass infield picked out Harrad inside the area and the former Burton and Northampton forward produced a low shot that was held by Duke.


Mark Yates' side lead a counter attack in the last minute and the ball was worked wide to Jermaine McGlashan who ran at Carl McHugh before blazing a shot well over the bar from the edge of the area after the Irishman had stood him up well.


The final whistle sounded and both teams were to discover that they would avoid each other in the play-off semi-finals. Burton Albion's 3-2 victory over Gillingham meant that they leapfrogged Cheltenham Town and moved into 4th place. The Bantams now come up against Burton Albion in the play-off semi-finals while Cheltenham Town face Northampton Town.