The Bantams left the Lions’ den with a creditable point on Saturday evening, Millwall are a side fancied to do well this season so a share of the spoils is certainly no mean feat. Both teams had their chances; City had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the first half and Ben Williams had to be at his best with an outstanding save to keep out Shaun Williams late in the second half.
City have looked a great deal more threatening from set-pieces in recent weeks and part of that has got to go down to Tony McMahon’s ability from a dead ball situation. His deliveries weren’t at their best this afternoon but on this particular occasion, his free kick was headed down by Rory McArdle and as the lurking Devante Cole looked to pounce, Millwall cleared hurriedly under pressure.
Millwall’s first opportunity came with the front two of Steve Morison and Lee Gregory linking up well to create the chance. Carlos Edwards’ diagonal ball into the area was flicked into the path of Gregory by Morison, but the former FC Halifax Town frontman fired over the bar to let City off the hook.
A major penalty appeal came from the City ranks shortly after; James Hanson controlled Kyel Reid’s low cross superbly and played a little pass for Cole to run onto in the area, as he looked to get a shot away he appeared to be sent tumbling by Tony Craig.
The Bantams bench shouted for a penalty but City's appeals were in vain as referee Mr Johnson allowed play to continue.
Former Trinidad & Tobago international Edwards may be well into is thirties now but he showed great energy to cover about 30 yards with the ball to get to the edge of the area after intercepting Lee Evans’ pass; unfortunately for him though, he didn’t have the finish to match as his effort went over the bar.
Reid had the best chance of the half a few minutes before the interval and it from some poor defending by the home side. Evans’ long throw into the box was allowed to bounce two or three times and Reid ghosted in at the far post but he scooped a shot over the bar from close range.
Early in the second half, Cole showed a great bit of acceleration to turn away from his marker before passing the ball square into the direction of Hanson; his attempted shot from 18 yards was blocked by a thundering challenge incoming from Craig. The Millwall captain though, had to make way after feeling the full force of the collision.
Notoriously passionate and at times hostile, the home fans began to really raise the volume levels inside the ground and they appealed for a penalty after substitute Fred Onyedinma went down under a challenge from the once again outstanding Reece Burke. The challenge was a completely fair one though and the referee rightly waved the appeals away.
A minute later and Williams was called into action to make a vital save. Morison’s cross was cushioned neatly by Gregory for Shaun Williams to run onto and his firm drive from 18 yards out was tipped round the post expertly by the Bantams stopper. After the game, defensive duo Stephen Darby and Rory McArdle called the save ‘World Class’ and in honesty it was exactly that.
Any one of the back line of defence combined with Williams could’ve had the man of the match vote and one of the certain contenders Stephen Darby lead by example to make a vital intervention. Morison was a handful, particularly in the air, and he guided a cross into the path of Gregory; thankfully though, Darby read the situation and flicked the ball out of the path of the Millwall forward.
It was a superb away display by the Bantams, typifying what has to often be done on the road to ensure you take something away with you rather than leaving empty handed. A point is a good one but it will be a superb one if Phil Parkinson’s men can follow it up with a victory against a resurgent Blackpool side on Tuesday evening.