The Bantams suffered a late blow as Gillingham scored a dramatic equaliser late into injury time through Antonio German to take a point back to Kent.
City took the lead in the 56th minute through an own goal from Leon Legge after the defender had turned Andy Halliday’s cross past Gills 'keeper Stuart Nelson.
The game was probably edged by Phil Parkinson’s men at that stage but late pressure from the visitors told as they earned themselves a share of the spoils in the dying moments.
The Gills snatched their leveller deep into overtime when German pounced to fire home from close range after Legge had headed Brennan Dickenson's deep corner back into the mix.
Parkinson made just one change to the side that were victorious at Deepdale last weekend with Gary Liddle returning from an injury layoff to start in central midfield ahead of Jason Kennedy who dropped to the bench for this one.
The game started off at quite a pace and after Billy Clarke had received a pass from James Meredith, he produced a low cross towards the far post that was just ahead of the onrushing Jon Stead inside the area.
Cody McDonald had the ball in the back of the net for the visitors moments later but he had already been flagged for offside. There was a bit of a duel going on between Jon Stead and former City loanee John Egan, who was playing at Valley Parade for the first time since his leg break back in the 2012-13 season and after a penalty appeal was turned down after Egan had felled Stead in the area, the Irish centre half then made an excellent intervention to deny Stead as he looked to latch onto Filipe Morais’ cross.
Jon Stead was having a bright performance and after controlling Gary Liddle’s superb long pass, he cut inside from the left to curl a right footed shot towards goal which went a yard or two wide of Stuart Nelson’s far post.
A minute later though down the other end after Gavin Hoyte had burst forward from his right back position to latch onto a wide pass, he got into the area well before seeing a low shot kept out at the near post by Jordan Pickford.
Parkinson was forced to make an early substitution after only 18 minutes as Morais went off with what looked to be a shoulder injury picked up earlier in the game, to be replaced by Billy Knott.
Bradley Dack came close to opening the scoring twice for his side within the space of ten minutes. His first effort was from a very tight angle and his powerful shot could only rattle the side netting but his second attempt was almost a spectacular goal. After Doug Loft’s in swinging free kick was headed half cleared by Andrew Davies, Dack hit a fierce full volley towards goal from all of 25 yards which fizzed inches over the bar.
Legge saw a firm header go wide of the target from Dickenson’s excellent far post corner and a couple of minutes later down the other end, Nelson produced a fine save to keep Knott at bay. Stead came up with some sublime hold up play to allow Knott to arrive in the area and he teed him up for a first time shot which was tipped against the post by Nelson.
Jon Stead turned the ball in at the far post from Mark Yeates’ teasing cross on the stroke of half time but the flag was up late on the far side for an offside decision with the crowd on their feet.
The Bantams started the second half with the bit between their teeth and after Billy Clarke had seen a cross flash across the six yard box after buying himself half a yard on his marker Kortney Hause, the goal did come in shortly before the hour mark. A slip from Hause allowed Halliday to get in behind and his low centre was turned in on the slide by Legge for an own goal.
(pictures kindly provided by Gintare Karpaviciute)
John Egan went close down the other end almost straight from the restart as he headed Adam Chicksen’s floated cross towards goal but Pickford wasn’t troubled a great deal and he held the ball comfortably.
Jon Stead was putting in a real capable display and after controlling Clarke’s deft pass in the area, with his back to goal he turned to find a shot which was blocked behind for a corner kick by Legge.
James Hanson was introduced as a 70th minute substitute to replace Stead who had ran himself into the ground and with almost his first touch, he came a lick of paint away from scoring an all-important second goal. Halliday charged down an attempted clearance and Clarke picked up the loose ball, drove into the area and fed the ball to Hanson who clipped a first time shot against the post.
Hanson went close again, almost profiting from Yeates’ deflected shot; Yeates went on a long, mazy run to get into the area and his shot, aimed towards the far corner, deflected to Hanson and he saw a header towards goal dealt with capably by Nelson who held well.
City were made to pay for not taking the upper hand late on in the game and Gillingham got an equaliser in the third minute of the 4 added on. An obvious threat from set pieces due to the amount of height in their team, the visitors scored from Dickenson’s corner. His delivery was headed downwards at the far post by Legge and substitute German scrambled the ball in to hand Peter Taylor and his side a share of the spoils agonisingly late on.