Bradford City 0 Preston North End 0
Though the game finished goalless, it was certainly an entertaining encounter with plenty of chances and attacking football but it was somewhat marred by a double red card incident in the first half involving debutant Kyle Bennett and North End midfielder Neil Kilkenny.
City started the game well and making his home debut for the Bantams was Aaron Mclean and it was his cross after good work from Bennett, that dropped to Adam Reach and he hit a low shot narrowly wide from just inside the area.
Josh Brownhill then had Preston’s first effort of note; he found space for a low shot from outside the area and from my angle the ball looked as if it may have been creeping into the far corner but Jon McLaughlin managed to hold the ball well.
It was mid-way through the half that Bennett and Kilkenny received their marching orders from referee Stuart Attwell. After Kilkenny was fouled, he quickly got up to confront Bennett and after a brief altercation, both sides were reduced to ten men.
Shortly after the dismissals, North End forward Paul Gallagher missed a massive chance to give his side the lead; Scott Laird’s cross was missed narrowly by Joe Garner before the ball seemed to hit Gallagher and go wide off the post.
City almost took the lead twice before the interval through Nathan Doyle and Aaron Mclean; after the visitors had half cleared a corner, Doyle’s low shot towards goal was cleared from inside the goalmouth.
Two new boys almost combined as Adam Reach’s cross from the left hand side was met by the head of Mclean and Declan Rudd pulled off an excellent acrobatic save to deny him a goal on his home debut.
Reach was having an impressive debut and after embarking on a solo 60 yard run he then produced a shot-cross that had to be tipped over alertly by Rudd.
Preston looked sharp on the counter attack and after pouring forward in their numbers the ball was worked to Gallagher who forced a decent low save out of McLaughlin.
City went close through Mclean once more after he’d latched onto James Hanson’s flick on but after emerging one on one with Rudd it was the latter who kept his sheet clean with an important save.
Moments later, Hanson went close when a Gary Jones corner dropped into his path, only for him to scoop a shot comfortably over the bar from around 10 yards out.
Preston’s front two of Joe Garner and Paul Gallagher were proving to be a lively combination but it was young midfielder Josh Brownhill who went the closest to scoring for the visitors when he saw a well-placed shot from 20 yards come back off the post.
The visitors were growing stronger as the game grew older but weren’t taking the chances that they were being presented with and after leading marksman Garner brought down a long ball excellently he proceeded to hit a shot wide of the target when he really had to be testing McLaughlin.
The game finished goalless and on the face of it probably a good point against a side who look like they are going to be in the promotion shake-up come May.