Bradford City 0
Charlton Athletic 0
Saturday 10th December 2016 | Sky Bet League One | The Northern Commercials Stadium at Valley Parade
The Bantams and Charlton went toe to toe in Karl Robinson’s maiden league fixture in charge of the Londoners but both ultimately had to settle for a share of the spoils. The Addicks were denied twice by the woodwork in the first half with Josh Magennis and Jordan Botaka both left cursing their luck. City edged the second half and it was Jordy Hiwula who came closest for Stuart McCall’s men but both keepers held on for a clean sheet and a draw was probably the fairest outcome.
City started the game well and Mark Marshall tested the Charlton back-line with a dangerous cross into the box towards James Hanson that had to be headed wide by Patrick Bauer. Following this attempt, Jason Pearce was forced to limp off early with what appeared to be a groin injury, to be replaced by Jorge Teixeira; certainly not the start Karl Robinson will have wanted in his first league game in charge.
James Hanson was unfortunate not to score in City’s last league outing at Swindon Town and he went into this one with four goals in his last five league appearances; the towering frontman controlled James Meredith’s cross well before firing a shot towards goal on the turn with his second touch and it was one that Charlton stopper Dillon Phillips certainly had to deal with.
After a slow start, Charlton really started to get a firm grip on the game. Josh Magennis caused all sorts of problems in the final third, particularly for Nathaniel Knight-Percival and he was probably a tad fortune not to give a penalty away after seeming to bring the imposing Northern Irishman to ground as he looked to bear down on goal.
Magennis looked the most likely man on the pitch to score the first goal and he was mightily unfortunate not to score it with his and Charlton’s next opportunity. Nicky Ajose picked him out in the box and he found a yard of space on Stephen Darby before seeing a shot hit the inside of the post before rolling across the goalmouth and to eventual safety.
Leeds United loanee winger Jordan Botaka saw a cross-shot clip the bar with the visitors’ next chance after he had shown a trick to evade the close attentions of Knight-Percival inside the box and then Magennis’ header from Lee Novak’s cross had Colin Doyle back-pedalling and he breathed a sigh of relief to see the ball land on the roof of the net with Charlton certainly the team in the ascendancy.
Arguably the most consistent performer so far this season, a below-par Knight-Percival had Darby to thank moments later. His attempted clearance was charged down by Novak who made his way into the box and cut the ball back to an unmarked Magennis; he could have almost walked the ball into the net but his shot was cleared off the line by Darby, one of countless amounts of goal-line clearances that man had made during his time with the club.
City were on the ropes for a spell in the first half, but they came back into the game towards the latter stages. Josh Cullen brought the ball forward from midfield before seeing a low drive go inches wide of the target and then Nicky Law dragged an attempt wide after Marshall had picked him out following some great work by Man of the Match Meredith down the left hand side.
The next chance was without doubt City’s best one of the first half; Law who was the man of the match during the week, showed great vision to pick out the run of Hiwula and he ran through on goal before being denied by Dillon Phillips in Charlton’s goal to keep the scores level.
Before the half was out, there was time for a Bradford penalty appeal in front of the Kop. Timothee Dieng received a pass wide in the area before he saw an attempted cross blocked by the arm of Fredrik Ulvestad; the ball certainly hit his arm but the Norwegian was probably too close to get his arm out of the way in time meaning the referee probably got the call correct.
Going into the second half, you felt this was a game that really could go either way and it was Hiwula with the first half-chance of the second period. The ball was worked to Marshall on the right-hand side and he swung a cross into the box which was met by Hiwula but he got his coordinates wrong and the ball went comfortably wide of the target.
Jordan Botaka tried the spectacular down one end of the pitch, seeing a low drive from 30 yards tipped around the post superbly by Doyle before Hiwula was left cursing his luck after seeing a thumping effort from 25 yards beat Phillips all ends up before going marginally wide of the top corner.
Hiwula was probably wondering how he had not yet got himself on the scoresheet and he was denied this time by a save from Phillps. Marshall burst forward and played a superbly weighted pass into the path of Hiwula’s run into the box, he did the right thing by firing a shot across goal but the young Addicks stopper made another smart stop.
City probably looked the more likely to score in what was quite an evenly contested second half and Hanson was the next to go close. Some great interplay was ended with Cullen’s cross into the box from the right-hand side; Hanson powered a header towards goal but it was too close to Phillips who held onto the ball.
Hiwula saw another drive from distance go narrowly wide of the target after he’d been picked out by Knight-Percival before Patrick Bauer came forward from the back for Charlton to lash a 30 yard volley a good distance wide of the target.
You felt City could have won this one but the second half was crammed full of nearly moments; Law had a shot on the turn blocked by substitute Johnnie Jackson as Stuart McCall’s men looked to probe against tired legs. Morais came on for the final exchanges and almost caught out Phillips with a mis-guided cross that headed towards the far corner of the goal.
Bauer was given a second yellow card in the first of four minutes additional time at the end of the regulation but momentum couldn’t provide a winning goal as both of these sides had to settle for a share of the spoils in preparation for the upcoming festivities.