Charlton Athletic 1 Bradford City 1
The Bantams came from behind to earn a share of the spoils at Charlton Athletic on Tuesday evening. The hosts went ahead through Jorge Teixeira in the first half but Timothee Dieng pounced just before the break to head City back onto level terms. Stuart McCall's side certainly rode their luck in the second half and a point ended up being a really hard-fought one against a side who are unlikely to mount a play-off push but will be looking to finish their first season back in League One, strongly.
City started the game at a good pace and almost took the lead inside the first few minutes. Romain Vincelot was afforded space to move into and he rocket a shot from 25 yards out which went inches wide of the target with Charlton stopper Declan Rudd rooted to the spot.
Charlton offered City a stern test, and looking at their team on paper they're a side who have clearly under-achieved this season. Despite being away from home and against quality opposition, the Bantams were looking to make all the moves in the early stages of the game and Tony McMahon was the next to try his luck with a shot from distance which went comfortably over the bar.
Karl Robinson's side were looking like potentially causing a problem or two through the likes of Ricky Holmes, Tony Watt and Lee Novak as the half grew but the next chance belonged to City and once again, Tony McMahon. After Josh Cullen was fouled, he took a free kick from a fair distance out; it was well-stuck and on target but Rudd was equal to it.
Responsible for all of City's set pieces, McMahon's corner just before the half hour was headed across the goal by Rory McArdle who found himself unmarked in the box and Nathaniel Knight-Percival connected with an attempt that he couldn't keep below the crossbar.
Charlton went close through Lee Novak's half-volley which was held onto by Colin Doyle before they actually did take the lead a few minutes later. Ricky Holmes was a real threat all evening long and his free kick into the box was met by Novak who helped the ball into the path of Jorge Teixeira and the Portuguese defender slammed the ball into the roof of the net to give the home side the advantage.
Just before the break, City got themselves back on level terms. Mark Marshall engineered a yard of space for a shot and his low drive from just inside the box was too hot to handle for Rudd who spilled the ball into the path of Timothee Dieng, and the French midfielder followed up with a header into the bottom corner.
Tony Watt could have given his side the lead once again in stoppage time at the end of the first half but he was denied superbly by Doyle after the former Celtic forward had turned away from Rory McArdle brilliantly.
The second half was dominated by the home side who certainly looked by far the more likely scorers of a next goal which ultimately never came and Andrew Crofts almost gave his side the lead in spectacular style. The ball bounced into the path of the former Norwich City man and his dipping half-volley from at least 30 yards out had Doyle back pedalling before the ball landed on the roof of the net.
Holmes was linking up well with Novak and after the former crossed to the latter, the latter could not guide his attempt on target whilst on the stretch inside the six-yard box. Novak then had a hand in the next chance as the hosts really began to turn the screw. His deflected attempt fell kindly to Watt and he somehow couldn't hit the target from 8 yards out, a really big let off for the Bantams just after the hour mark.
Looking back at the game and the pattern of play, particularly in the second half, little will argue that it has ended up being a point gained and the next opening belonged to Burnley loanee midfielder Fredrik Ulvestad. The Norwegian turned away from Vincelot and McArdle but he got his shot execution wrong, curling a shot a few yards wide of the mark.
Rory McArdle had to be at his absolute best to make a tremendous block from Holmes after he had been picked out with a cross from Novak. Down the other end, City had a chance of their own, engineered by Billy Clarke and after cutting inside from the right and onto his left foot, he saw a shot, which was on target held onto by Rudd.
Teixeira spurned a real opportunity to double his and his side's lead after being picked out by Holmes' pin-point delivery into the box, but although he directed a header towards goal, it was straight at Doyle who held onto the ball firmly on his goal line.
City really had to dig in to make sure they would be heading back north with at least a share of the spoils but Johnnie Jackson came a whisker away from scoring the winner; his free kick from 25 yards clipped the top of the bar minutes before McMahon had to hook the ball clear after Novak's header had moved towards goal.