Stevenage 1 Bradford City 1
City produced a hard fought point with an encouraging second half display following a somewhat below par first half where the hosts went into the break a goal to the good thanks to a Greg Tansey penalty kick. The Bantams responded early in the second half when Kyel Reid’s superb free kick levelled the scores on the 48th minute.
Stevenage started the brighter of the two teams and it took only three minutes for them to try a shot on goal; breaking quickly the ball was worked to Robin Shroot who cut inside Rory McArdle before firing a low shot from 18 yards narrowly wide.
The hosts came even closer to opening the scoring shortly after; Michael Doughty’s cross was nodded down into the path of Jordan Burrow by Jon Ashton but the former Morecambe striker could only scoop his effort over the bar from a few yards out.
Graham Westley’s men were pushing for the opening goal with certain attacking players looking particularly lively and they did go ahead on the 23rd minute from the penalty spot. Luke Freeman latched onto a loose ball to fire a shot towards goal that was blocked by the arm of Gary Jones and former Stockport County midfielder Greg Tansey sent Jon McLaughlin the wrong way from 12 yards to open the scoring.
Despite being under the cosh for large spells early on, City almost equalised shortly after Tansey’s goal. Kyel Reid produced a superb far post cross that was met by Nahki Wells but he saw his effort bounce narrowly over the crossbar after he struck his attempt into the ground.
City were coming back into the game towards the close of the half and after a bright spell Reid saw his rising half volley sail narrowly over the crossbar after Ashton had only half cleared a long ball forward.
Despite this Stevenage almost sneaked a second before the interval. Tansey’s far post corner was headed downwards towards goal by Ashton from close range and McLaughlin had to make a smart low save to keep the difference at just one goal.
Phil Parkinson’s men needed to provide a response after being largely second best in the first 45 minutes and they equalised within 3 minutes of the second half. Wells was fouled 25 yards from goal and up stepped Kyel Reid to strike a terrific free kick over the wall and into the back of the net despite Chris Day’s best efforts to keep it out.
The Bantams were looking far better now and almost went ahead through Garry Thompson. Gary Jones’ free kick was headed down by James Hanson, Peter Hartley could only half clear and Thompson hit a half volley narrowly wide of the near post.
Luke Freeman was proving to be a threat all afternoon and after he had let a throw in run across his body he unleashed a low drive which deflected off a City player and clipped the bar before going behind for a corner kick.
Nahki Wells had had a quiet afternoon by his high standards but almost produced a terrific goal out of the blue. A long throw in was flicked on by Hanson and Wells tried his luck with an acrobatic overhead kick that Day had to alertly tip round the post.
The ground held their breath when after Roarie Deacon had found the feet of substitute Oumare Tounkara, Andrew Davies’ slip allowed him to unleash an unchallenged shot towards goal, but fortunately McLaughlin pulled off a terrific save to deny the hosts a late winner.
City themselves came close to snatching all three point in injury time at the end of the 90 when Wells’ pass allowed Raffaele De Vita to try his luck from a tight angle; he got plenty of power behind his shot but it could only rattle the side netting as both sides had to settle for a point a piece.