Southend United 2 (Tomlin 10, Assombalonga 11)
Bradford City 2 (Hines 53, Hanson 83)
npower League 2
(Good) Friday 29 March 2013
Kick Off: 3.00pm
at the Coral Windows Stadium
Attendance: 10,598 (222 visitors)
Pictures kindly provided by Gintare Karpaviciute
City fought back from two goals down to earn a fully-deserved point from an entertaining Good Friday clash with fellow Play-Off hopefuls Southend United.
After being on the wrong end of such a comeback in the first game between the two sides at Roots Hall back in December, second half efforts from Zavon Hines and James Hanson helped Phil Parkinson's men to recover from a nightmare start and secure a point from the first of their Easter weekend fixtures.
Despite starting well enough, City were plunged into deep trouble before even the quarter-hour mark when two close range tap-ins less than a minute apart from Southend striking duo Gavin Tomlin and Britt Assombalonga stunned Valley Parade and raced the visitors into a shock two-goal lead.
Southend's first goal on the ten-minute mark came about when Jon McLaughlin failed to cling onto a free-kick clipped into the box by Kevan Hurst. Bilel Mohsni was first onto the loose ball and struck the post before Tomlin steered home the rebound into an unguarded net.
With City still reeling from conceding such a sloppy goal, Southend caused even more disbelief in the home ranks when Sean Clohessy's low centre across the six yard box was nudged in from right in front of the goal by Assombalonga less than sixty seconds later.
City almost responded straightaway to the quick-fire blow, however, when Kyel Reid rattled the crossbar direct from a free-kick before Luke Prosser got back to clear Hanson's headed effort on the rebound off the line.
Parkinson's men continued to probe away for an opening but it wasn't until the second period that they truly came alive again.
Less than six minutes had been played after the restart before the Bantams thought they had a way back in when Hines was on hand to tap home after Garry Thompson and Southend 'keeper Paul Smith had competed for a Hanson flick forward.
The City support leapt to their feet to acknowledge the goal - but any celebrations were soon cut short when it became apparent Thompson had been flagged offside.
The decision was met by some disapproval from the home camp, and replays of the incident seem to suggest Thompson was no more than level with last defender Ryan Cresswell before racing onto Hanson's header on.
It didn't take long for Hines and City to engineer a goal that did stand though.
James Meredith's teasing cross eventually found Hines lurking on the far side of the box and the Bantams winger completed the move nicely with a low first-time drive into the far bottom corner.
City were the dominant force at this stage, forcing Southend to defend deep in their own half, although Parkinson's men were nearly caught out fourteen minutes from the end when Tamika Mkandawire was allowed too much space in the box to clip the outside of McLaughlin's far post with a low curling effort.
Following the earlier introductions of Alan Connell and Will Atkinson, Nahki Wells was brought on with nine minutes to go for City's final throw of the dice, and it was the Bermudian who was heavily involved in City's equaliser.
It was Wells' hanging far post cross that gave Hanson the inviting opportunity to head home from close range a rescue a point for City.
City pushed for a winner late on, with Reid debatably booked for diving on the stroke of ninety minutes after going down in the box, while Wells and fellow sub Atkinson were denied by smart saves from Smith in injury time.
FT: Bradford City 2 Southend United 2
90+3min Atkinson's drive from the edge of the area takes a slight deflection of Ryan Cresswell before Smith dives low to his left to turn the effort around the post.
90+1min: SUB - Southend bring on Barry Corr for Assombalonga.
90min: There will be five minutes of time added on at the end of match.
90min: YELLOW CARD - Reid is booked for supposedly diving after going down in the box following another threatening run into the area from the left wing.
90min: Wells cuts in from a wide position before firing in a rising drive from an angle that Smith does well to push away.
87min: SUB - Southend bring on Freddy Eastwood for Mohsni.
85min: The game finally gets underway again after nearly two minutes of treatment for Prosser after the defender had collided with the post trying to prevent Hanson from heading home.
83min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 2 Southend United 2 - City are level! Wells' hanging cross to the far post is headed home from close range by Hanson!
82min: Hurst's low cross into the area is latched onto by Tomlin but his near post effort is smothered by McLaughlin.
81min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Nahki Wells for Darby. City have now moved to a 3-4-1-2 formation.
79min: Connell's low drive from just outside the area is held relatively comfortably by a diving Smith.
76min: CHANCE - City are nearly caught out when they seem to all stop for a moment thinking Lund has rolled the ball out of play. With City waiting for a throw-in decision that never comes, Lund rolls the ball into Tomlin, who in turn finds Tamika Mkandawire in space inside the area. Mkandawire uses the space awarded to him to strike for goal and his low curling effort clips the outside of McLaughlin's post.
72min: SUBS - The Bantams bring on Alan Connell and Will Atkinson for Hines and Ravenhill respectively. Thompson will move over to the right wing now to accommodate Connell joining Hanson in attack. Atkinson has directly replaced Ravenhill in central midfield.
72min: Clohessy's cross into the area flicks off the head of Tomlin but Lund's ambitious overhead kick from around the middle of the area on the follow up is sliced well wide.
70min: Lund's drive from distance is gathered by McLaughlin.
69min: A neat move from Southend gives Tomlin a clear sight of goal around the edge of the area. The striker's drive for goal is powerfully struck but also palmed away by McLaughlin.
69min: Lund seizes on a loose clearance by Stephen Darby but his attempted curler from outside the area sails a good few yards wide of McLaughlin's goal.
67min: Picking up a weak low drive from Reid, Thompson spins inside the area and drives for goal with a rising strike that deflects narrowly over the bar. Despite the flick off a Southend body though, no corner is awarded.
65min: YELLOW CARD - Assombalonga is booked for bringing down Reid around 25 yards from goal as the winger looked to surge forward with menace. Jones strikes the wall with the resulting free-kick.
60min: Leaning back to reach a Reid corner, Andrew Davies heads over by a few yards.
55min: A dangerous counter-attack by Southend led by Assombalonga eventually ends when Tomlin pokes a shot straight at McLaughlin from around twelve yards out.
53min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 1 Southend United 2 - This time it stands! Hines has the ball in the net for a second time, but this time it counts! A teasing cross from Meredith is left by Thompson before it eventually falls into the path of Hines over on the far side of the box. Taking on the ball first time, the winger drills a fine low half-volley into the far bottom corner.
51min: GOAL!!!!!!........NO!!! City think they are back in the match when Hines taps home into an unguarded goal after Garry Thompson and Paul Smith had tangled trying to get hold of a headed flick forward by Hanson. Just as City's supporters celebrate, however, their joy is cut shot when it becomes clear Thompson had already been flagged for offside before Hines tapped home.
46min: The Bantams restart the match.
HT SUB - Southend bring on Matthew Lund for Reeves.
HT: Bradford City 0 Southend United 2
45min: There will be two minutes added on at the end of the first half.
35min: Assombalonga's low drive from around 25 yards out is straight at McLaughlin.
30min: YELLOW CARD - Tomlin is booked for a late challenge on James Meredith midway in City's own half.
25min: Jones feeds the ball into the path of Hines positioned just outside Southend's penalty area. The Bantams winger swivels on the ball and hooks a first-time shot for goal but the effort sails well over the bar.
21min: Zavon Hines drags a low shot from just outside the area a good few yards wide of Smith's goal.
14min: CHANCE! Oh so close for City! Kyel Reid's stunning effort direct from the resulting free-kick rattles against the frame of Smith's goal before Luke Prosser gets back onto his own line to head clear a goal-bound header from James Hanson on the follow up.
13min: YELLOW CARD - Mohsni is booked following over the award of a City free-kick around 25 yards from Southend's goal.
11min: GOAL - Bradford City 0 Southend United 2 - Valley Parade is stunned. Nightmare for City as Southend score a second less than a minute later! Rory McArdle is caught on the ball, allowing Tomlin to spring forward on City's goal with menace as a result. Tomlin eventually clips the ball over to the marauding Sean Clohessy, who fizzes a cross along the six yard box for Britt Assombalonga to bundle home from right in front of goal.
10min: GOAL - Bradford City 0 Southend United 1 - City concede the first goal of the game on the ten-minute mark. Alarm bells begin to ring in the City defence when Jon McLaughlin falls to cling onto a floated free-kick into the area from Kevan Hurst. Bilel Mohsni pounces on the loose ball and drills a strike against the base of the post before a well-placed Gavin Tomlin scoops home the rebound into an unguarded goal from close range.
7min: Gary Jones takes aim from around 20 yards out but his low drive is simple enough for Paul Smith to gather up by his near post.
0min: Southend kick off the match. The Bantams will attack towards the T.L Dallas Stand end in the first half. The pitch at the Coral Windows Stadium is perfectly playable despite the recent cold snap, although it looks heavily battle-scarred and will cut up. With piles of snow built up around the edges of the pitch, it's seems more like a scene from a mid-winter match than a fixture near the end of the season.
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP
McLaughlin, Darby, Davies, McArdle, Meredith, Hines, Jones, Ravenhill, Reid, Thompson, Hanson
Subs: Duke, Atkinson, McHugh, Connell, Wells, Nelson, Doyle
Connell for Hines (72), Atkinson for Ravenhill (72), Wells for Darby (81)
SOUTHEND UNITED LINE UP
Smith, Clohessy, Prosser, Cresswell, Straker, Hurst, Mohsni, Mkandawire, Reeves, Assombalonga, Tomlin
Subs: Bentley, Spillane, Eastwood, Corr, Lund, Leonard, Laird
Lund for Reeves (46), Eastwood for Mohsni (87), Corr for Assombalonga (90+1)
Mohsni (13), Tomlin (30)
Referee: Steven Rushton
Assistant Referee: Richard Wigglesworth
Assistant Referee: Kevin Mattocks
Fourth Official: David Benton