The Bantams battled to a goalless draw at Bury this Saturday - their third consecutive scoreline of this nature out of four encounters with the Shakers this season. Conditions were tough for both sides, the recent wintry weather had clearly taken it’s toll on the Gigg Lane playing surface and the rain was unpredictable throughout making for a real battle. A point a piece was probably a fair outcome in reflection and City move up to eighth in the League One table.
It didn’t take long for a couple of chances to arise, with decent ones coming the way of both teams. Danny Pugh, urged to shoot by the home crowd, saw an audacious shot from the best part of 30 yards from goal, pushed away by Ben Williams. Just a minute later, Lee Evans powered a header inches wide of the target after he’d connected truly with Tony McMahon’s free kick into the box.
There was a spell where the game became a bit of a midfield battle, with chances for both team’s front pairing coming very much at a premium, and the next chance in the game fell to midfielder, in the form of Kyel Reid. The flying winger worked the ball onto his favoured left foot, evading a couple of Bury players before seeing a low drive from the edge of the box take a deflection before going behind for a corner kick.
The game suddenly sparked into life and the impressive John O’Sullivan, an exciting winger on loan from Championship side Blackburn Rovers, saw a shot from 20 yards held onto by Williams after he’d charged up the pitch heading a quick Bury counter attack.
Before the half was out, there was time for a big penalty shout from City. Josh Cullen floated a cross from the right hand side into the box and as James Hanson looked to read the flight of the ball and produce a headed attempt, he appeared to be nudged in the back by Reece Brown. The challenge was under the noses of the 1,200 City supporters, who became riled once referee David Webb had shaken his head at the appeal.
Danny Mayor is clearly a pivotal player for Bury and he conjured up a relatively lively performance for the home side; after moving into a pocket of space outside the 18 yard box, he saw a hopeful shot held onto by Williams as both sides looked to grip the game by the scruff of the neck.
The Bury left sided midfielder drew a foul from Cullen who was subsequently booked, handing themselves a decent opportunity to have a shot on goal from the resulting free kick. Andrew Tutte’s 25 yard effort dipped over the wall but it didn’t come down enough and went comfortably over Williams’ bar.
City then missed a decent chance down the other end through Wes Thomas; Reid picked up the scraps on the left hand side to keep an attack alive, and he delivered a cross with his weaker right foot; Thomas connected with a header but his attempt went a yard or so over Ian Lawlor’s goal frame.
Thomas’ next attempt was with his head again and it was on target. Lee Evans delivered a superb free kick into the box and the City forward glanced one towards the far corner and Lawlor had to make an instinctive save to keep his clean sheet in tact.
Hanson hadn’t had many opportunities on what was an afternoon which wasn’t littered with chances, the scoreline your evidence on that one, but he had a decent one late on. McMahon’s corner was headed downwards by Evans and Hanson fired one over the bar on the turn from 12 yards out.
The big front-man sensed an opportunity to make a chance for himself when he looked to intercept Chris Hussey’s header back towards Lawlor; thankfully for the home side their stopper got to the ball before the City number nine.
The Bantams finished the match with ten men but there wasn’t a red card issued. With all three subs used, Rory McArdle went to ground injured as his left shoulder temporarily popped out of place and he walked off the pitch with his arm in a ‘home made’ stretcher made from his shirt.
Focus now turns to Tuesday night as City entertain table-toppers Burton Albion at the Coral Windows Stadium, looking to make up for the home defeat to a side at the other end of the spectrum in the form of Colchester United, earlier in the week.