Gillingham 3 Bradford City 1
The Bantams opened their league campaign with an away day defeat to Martin Allen's Gillingham. City did, however look a threat for large parts of the game, and on the balance of play, deserved something out of the contest.
Gills skipper Andy Frampton was brilliantly denied by Matt Duke early doors, as his close range header was beaten away by the City stopper. Seconds later Gary Jones heads a Danny Kedwell header off the line. Gillingham are trying to open the scoring early doors and set the tone for the game.
City regroup quickly and have their own go at getting forward, shots from Hanson and Atkinson are blocked away precariously by Gillingham bodies. Kyel Reid is also bundled over in the area by Charlie Allen, staking his claim for a penalty with referee Mick Russell not interested.
As the half progresses, City arguably become the better team in the game, looking a constant threat going forward, through the likes of Kyel Reid and Gary Jones and creating several chances that keep both the Gills back line and stopper Stuart Nelson on their toes.
As the half comes to a close, former AFC Wimbledon hit an Danny Kedwell gives the Kent side the lead. A ball is played to him, and he uses his strength to hold it up well. Starting with his back to goal he loops an unorthodox chip towards goal, which ends up in the back of the net with Duke stranded. He'll say he meant it, but some would say otherwise.
With the second half underway, the game is still in the balance until Kedwell tucks away his 2nd of the afternoon from the penalty spot after Will Atkinson had brought down Charlie Lee in the area
The introduction of Nahki Wells and new boy Zavon Hines from the bench, put the Gills on the back foot somewhat, within about 5 minutes of this substitution, Wells was brought down in the area by Andy Frampton. The resulting spot kick was well finished by the Bermudian himself, and City were deservedly back in the game.
City dominated their hosts in the next 20 minutes or so in search of an equaliser, with Zavon Hines and Kyel Reid continuing to look a threat. In the final third City were often wasteful, and a neutral would say the equaliser, had it arrived, would've been deserved due to the amount of time City spent in Gillingham's half.
Gillingham, though defended resolutely against the attacking threat posed by City, with Zavon Hines in particular looking some player in possession of the ball, and an exciting signing for The Bantams.
Parkinson brought on Andrew Davies for Stephen Darby, throwing Davies upfield and playing 3 at the back, going all out to try and nick a point.
Gillingham were starting to counter attack effectively late on, with Danny Jackman firing narrowly wide and Myles Weston missing a low Matt Fish cross by a matter of inches. The game was put to bed though in the 88th minute; Myles Weston had the pace to get down the left wing, before finding half a yard on McArdle and firing excellently into the bottom corner from an angle.
In the last minute Bradley Dack should've made it 4-1 after finding space in the area, his low drive firmly striking the post.
City were beaten on the opening day, once again, but City looked a good side during the best Parton the 90 minutes, and could certainly cause Tuesday's opponents Fleetwood Town plenty of problems.