Sheffield United 2 Bradford City 2
The Bantams produced a terrific second half comeback to snatch a draw after being 2-0 down and looking dead and buried at half time. Jamie Murphy and Harry Maguire gave The Blades a substantial lead in the opening period but Gary Jones and James Hanson scored in front of over 3,000 away supporters to rescue a point in the Yorkshire derby.
Inside the opening 8 minutes or so, the hosts went ahead. After making a decent run down the right hand side, Tony McMahon produced a cross towards the far post which was tapped home by Jamie Murphy to give the hosts a perfect start to the game.
City reacted well to going behind and shortly after, new signing Aaron Mclean had headed over the bar, then from a Gary Jones corner James Hanson headed against the bar before Carl McHugh saw a volley cleared off the line by Jose Baxter, which later looked to be a handball; the players appealed at the time but referee Roger East waved them away. From the resulting corner though, Rory McArdle headed wide after getting above his marker.
Former Everton youngster Jose Baxter was looking like a creative spark for the home side and after testing Jon McLaughlin with a long range strike, it was his corner that was met by the head of Harry Maguire before McLaughlin made an excellent fingertip save.
During the second half, Kyel Reid was stretchered off injured to respectful applause from all sides of the ground, the injury later proved to be a very serious one that ruled the flying winger out for 6-8 months – a major loss to the side.
With 5 minutes of the second half remaining, United doubled their lead. Baxter’s corner was met by the head of Maguire at the far post and the ball couldn’t be kept out by a combination of Jason Kennedy and Jon McLaughlin at the far post.
City made a great start to the second half and Mark Yeates produced a cross that narrowly evaded Hanson before Mclean scooped the ball over the bar from close range.
Inside the 56th minute the Bantams were back in the game in rather fortunate fashion, Jones hit a hopeful shot from 25 yards which took a couple of deflections before wrong footing George Long and heading into the back of the net.
Shortly after, the comeback was complete. Jones’ excellent delivery was inches away from being met by the head of McArdle before Hanson turned the ball in from close range amongst a melee of players in the area.
From then on City really had to defend with all they had as their box was barraged with crosses. Stephen McGinn was picked out with a precise through ball from the impressive Ryan Flynn before his firm shot from a tight angle was kept out well by McLaughlin.
After a brief stoppage following an injury to Baxter, McMahon tried his luck with a free kick from distance that went narrowly wide of the target.
Dealing with everything that was thrown at them City’s defence was almost undone in the 89th minute when after half clearing their lines, Flynn curled a shot from the edge of the area inches over the crossbar.
The Bantams held on for a point that looked completely out of the question after the opening 45 minutes to get a result that would ultimately please the mass of travelling fans that had made the short journey South.