The Bantams produced a superb hard-fought, battling second half display at Vale Park to take a share of the spoils despite being down to ten men. Lee Evans was given a straight red card early in the second half for a challenge on Anthony Grant but debutant Jamie Proctor levelled proceedings with a header from Mark Marshall’s cross. The equaliser came after Ajay Leitch-Smith had opened the scoring for the hosts after just two minutes.
Port Vale got off to a flier of a start in the game and took the lead with the first real attack of note; Richard Duffy hooked a ball forward in behind the back line for Ajay Leitch-Smith to latch onto the he moved towards goal before finishing past Ben Williams from close range.
Leitch-Smith was involved in Vale's next opening when Louis Dodds delivered a cross into the penalty area from the right hand side and the former Yeovil and Crewe striker scooped the ball over the bar from 12 yards.
Goal-scorer Leitch-Smith was in the action shortly afterwards, the forward guilty of spurning an opportunity to double his tally. Tony McMahon gave the ball in the middle of the pitch and JJ Hooper came forward before seeing a shot pushed away by Ben Williams. The ball rolled into the path of Leitch-Smith but the striker fired over from close range on the stretch.
For City, Proctor came inches away linking up with former Crawley team mate Billy Clarke. The Irishman did excellently well to get into the area and beat a couple of Vale defenders but his low cross was marginally to far away from the out-stretched leg of the Fleetwood Town loanee.
Later in the half, Vale right back Adam Yates came forward to deliver a cross from the right hand side where Vale seemed most effective but it was just too high for Louis Dodds and Leitch-Smith was half a yard away from a tap in at the far post.
Evans had a couple of sights of goal towards the end of the first half, the first was held onto well by former City loanee Jak Alnwick and his second ‘daisy cutter’ of an attempt went inches wide of the target.
Before the half was out, Proctor had a chance to open the scoring for the club on his debut. Kyel Reid held the ball up and found James Meredith on the overlap and his delivery into the area was headed powerfully wide by the head of the front-man.
The first moment of note in the second half was unfortunately a straight red card for Evans.
The Welshman lunged in to win the ball from Vale midfielder Grant but he was given his marching orders by the referee Lee Swabey. Evans will now serve a three match suspension starting with Tuesday's rearranged home match with Barnsley.
Evans' dismissal saw Proctor playing up front on his own and Billy Clarke dropping into central midfield.
Vale tried to make their one-man advantage count, Sam Kelly and Richard Duffy went close before JJ Hopper galloped into the area to cut back for Grant to see a low drive from 20 yards take a slight deflection before going narrowly wide of the target.
City levelled just after the hour mark and it was Proctor who scored - a great start to life with City for him. Introduced as a half time substitution, Mark Marshall, who was returning to his former club, and came up with a superb performance, and put the cross on a plate for the new City striker to thunder a header past Alnwick from inside the box despite Grant's efforts on the line.
Reece Burke was returning to the team for the first time since the renewal of his loan deal from West Ham United and he saw a stunning first time drive from 20 yards tipped over brilliantly by Alnwick, it would’ve been some goal by the young defender. Marshall, looking bright after his substitution at the interval, was again heavily involved in the passage of play.
With City sitting in and looking to see out the game for a fully-merited point, Vale were restricted purely to efforts on goal from outside the box.
Sam Kelly went closest for Vale in injury time but his 20 yard drive went inches wide of the target with Ben Williams at full stretch.