Port Vale 2 Bradford City 2
The Bantams were seconds away from recording another impressive away victory but were denied a deserved win by a last minute Port Vale penalty.
James Hanson scored the opener after being teed up by the impressive Filipe Morais but former City trialist Achille Campion scored the equaliser for the hosts. Morais fired the visitors back into the lead and despite looking comfortable for the remainder of the game, Phil Parkinson’s men were pegged back right at the death.
The game started out as a very low key contest with little to report on but the first real chance of the game belonged to City. Billy Knott, who of course spent the last four months of last season on loan at Vale Park, took a free kick early to Jon Stead who found space in the area for a low centre which was turned behind by Andrew Davies under the close attentions of Richard Duffy.
Vale had a big opportunity but were denied by some great defending by Rory McArdle. Chris Lines’ free kick was cleared by in his direction and his cross back into the area was headed towards goal by Duffy but McArdle was in the right place at the right time in the 6 yard box to clear the danger.
It was a bit of a sparring contest for the majority of the first half, with City probably edging the proceedings on the whole and the opening goal came through James Hanson. Filipe Morais who had an outstanding performance, was being heavily booed by the home crowd for going down under a challenge earlier on. The Portuguese winger silenced the critics by teeing up Hanson for a headed opener with a delicate cross to the far post after his initial cross was charged down.
Billy Knott had the ball in the back of the Vale net early in the second half but the referee disallowed it after Hanson was penalised for fouling Frederic Veseli in the process of knocking down a cross into the midfielder’s path for him to slam home.
Tom Pope missed a gilt edged chance to bring his side back on level terms shortly after. Mark Marshall who was proving a lively outlet for the hosts down the left hand side, found half a yard on Stephen Darby to deliver a cross into the area which Pope side footed inches wide at the near post.
Vale were level though, just three minutes later. Carl Dickinson progressed down the left hand side and delivered a cross into the area, Michael O’Connor found himself unmarked on the penalty spot and he headed the ball towards a melee of players at the far post and Achille Campion, the former City trialist brought on at half-time, tapped in from close range.
The Bantams were presented with a huge chance of regaining the lead but it was spurned somehow by Knott. Morais delivered a cross into the area which was knocked down by the effective Hanson and Knott connected with the ball only to see Chris Neal hold alertly on the goal line to thwart the visitors.
City were not to be left frustrated for too long though as Morais restored the lead. James Meredith got forward down the left hand side and hooked a cross into the area that Neal could only punch half clear under pressure from Hanson and Morais hammered a shot towards goal that found the back of the net despite the best efforts of a Vale defender to keep the ball out.
The visitors were very much in the ascendancy and looked the more likely of the two teams to score the next goal. Andy Halliday saw a low drive from distance go a yard wide of the target before Hanson’s close range effort was superbly kept out by Neal after Stead’s cross had fallen to him.
It looked to be another three point on the road for Parkinson and his team but it wasn’t to be as the hosts got a golden opportunity with virtually the last kick of the game. After possession was lost in the middle of the park, a through ball saw substitute Greg Luer played through on goal, a yard ahead of Davies and Jordan Pickford brought him down. The referee awarded a spot kick which Michael O’Connor converted and the young stopper received his 2nd red card in just a few weeks.
There was still time for Gary Liddle to arc a volley a yard or so over the bar from the edge of the area but a draw was the result as City spurned a chance to move back into the play-off positions. MK Dons next up for The Bantams, which is live on Sky Sports.