Shrewsbury Town 1 Bradford City 1
The Bantams were left to think about what could have been after a dominant display from start to finish at Shrewsbury Town wasn't rewarded with a deserved victory. City were barely out of the home side’s half in the first period, with Billy Clarke denied by the offside flag early on. After even more dominance in the second period, Jamie Proctor thumped home a header after connecting with Tony McMahon’s cross. City looked set to be heading to a fifth straight win after Proctor's opener but Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro headed home from Mat Sadler's free-kick to give the hosts a barely-deserved share of the spoils.
Backed by over 1,200 travelling supporters, City had the ball in the net after just nine minutes only to be denied by the linesman’s flag on the far side. Kyel Reid’s cross looked to be heading in off Abu Ogogo before Billy Clarke made sure on the line - only for the goal to be chalked off for offside.
The decision looked harsh against Clarke as he appeared to be in an on-side position when the ball hit off Ogogo.
Phil Parkinson’s men were truly dominant in the early stages of the first period and the next real chance of the game fell once again to Billy Clarke; McMahon lined up to swing a free kick into the box but he played it along the ground for Clarke to run onto but the Irish forward's shot was blocked importantly inside the 18 yard box.
Josh Cullen saw a shot from the edge of the box blocked by Ogogo shortly afterwards after the ball had broke loose to him following McMahon’s corner kick. Clarke had another chance before the half was out but it was one he engineered himself; he moved into a pocket of space before seeing a curling left footed shot go wide of the post.
Before the half was out, there was still time for one more chance and it came the way of Kyel Reid. Breaking forward with pace on the counter attack, the winger got to the edge of the Shrewsbury box before seeing a low drive deflect behind for a corner kick.
After bringing on Andy Mangan at the end of the first period, Shrewsbury made a double substitution at half time with Shaun Whalley and James Wallace brought into the action to try and halt City's dominance.
Wallace saw a shot blocked vitally by Josh Cullen after Sadler’s cross had been cleared as far as the Sheffield United loanee midfielder.
Penalty appeals came the way of the referee from the travelling support behind the goal, as well as Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin, when Jamie Proctor appeared to be wrestled to the ground by Ogogo as he looked to attack McMahon's cross following a short corner routine with Billy Clarke.
Referee Andy Haines was unmoved, however, much to the annoyance of Parkinson and the City bench.
Andy Mangan headed over the bar after connecting with Whalley’s hooked ball across goal before Billy Clarke missed a real opportunity to finally break that deadlock.
Proctor, who was one of the star performers on what was ultimately a frustrating afternoon, he broke forward before feeding the ball into Clarke in the box. The attacker was in with a clear sight of goal but he saw a right-footed attempt kept out well by Jayson Leutwiler.
Proctor was the orchestrator in the next move as a relentless City kept asking questions of the Shrewsbury defence. The striker broke forward and this time fed the ball to McMahon who saw a first time drive from a tight angled pushed round the post by the impressive Leutwiler.
Whalley - one of Shrewsbury's half-time substitutes - came inches away from giving Shrewsbury the lead when he latched onto a neat flick by Ogogo before riffling a low shot inches wide of the target from just outside the box; had the ball found the net it would’ve been against the run of play to say the least.
Leutwiler was at full stretch to tip Proctor’s header over the bar after he’d connected with Reid’s cross, but he found the net with his next chance. McMahon’s corner was cleared back into his path and his second delivery was thundered into the back of the net by the head of Proctor for his fiftth goal in a Bradford shirt.
With City heading towards a fifth successive 1-0 victory, Shrewsbury were unfortunately allowed to equalise with just six minutes left on the clock.
After Sadler had floated a cross into box from a deep free-kick, Ben Williams came to punch clear but Akpa Akpro beat him to the ball to head the ball into an unguarded net.
An undeserved and possibly preventable equaliser for the relegation-threatened Shrews was a tough one for City to take.
There was still time for City to try and push for the winning goal. Steven Davies headed narrowly over in the final minute of normal time before Leutwiler held onto McMahon’s angled drive in injury time to ensure the hosts went away with a share of the spoils.