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Bradford City 2 (Dieng 58, McCartan 89)
Bury 2 (Cameron 62, Miller 90+5)
Saturday saw Valley Parade host a tense encounter between playoff chasing Bradford City and relegation threatened Bury. Following a forgetful first half, a lively second half witnessed a red card and four goals, including a Bury equaliser with almost the last kick of the game.
With this being the first game City had played since the departure of Stuart McCall at the beginning of the week, it was not surprising to see the emotion from many of the home fans, with “Stuart McCall’s Bradford army” ringing out around the stadium early in the first half.
In what can only be described as a dire first half where both teams were largely restricted to efforts on goal from distance, Bradford had an excellent opportunity to take the lead. Dieng’s perfectly lofted pass played Poleon through on goal, only for the striker’s effort to be well-saved by Ripley in the Bury goal.
The second half was almost a complete opposite to the first with plenty of chances for both sides. It was Bradford that took the lead, however, through Dieng. After some neat work by Robinson on the left, the ball looked to be going out of play only for Gilliead to retrieve it and drive into the box with his shot being deflected into the goal by Dieng.
In typical footballing fashion though, Bury found their equaliser only a few minutes later. A corner delivered in the box caused complete havoc among the two sets of players with the ball eventually finding the back of the net thanks to Cameron.
Things were to go from bad to worse for Bradford when defender, Matthew Kilgallon, received his marching orders for a second yellow card after bringing down Miller on the edge of the box.
Despite this setback, it was Bradford who thought they had snatched the game at the end when Shay McCartan slotted home. A lofted effort from Knight-Percival was chased down superbly by McCartan to put him one-on-one with the keeper. Although the striker’s initial effort was saved by Ripley, the ball somehow fell into the path of McCartan to slot home into the empty net.
The game did not end there, however, when Bury managed to snatch an equaliser with only seconds remaining. Some neat headed passing in the box resulted in Miller heading past Doyle in the Bradford goal to give Bury another crucial point.
As expected, a lot of attention pre-match was on Bradford City’s dismissal of Stuart McCall and whether the team would respond positively on match-day. However, Bradford’s first half display reflected similar defensive problems which appear to have plagued the team this season.
Without trying to be too hard on Poleon, the striker’s failure to covert again illustrated his struggles in scoring when put through one-on-one with the opposition keeper. This is something which has now happened on several occasions with Poleon failing to capture the same form he had at the first few months of the season.
Shay McCartan got his first opportunity to show the fans the pace and finishing ability that the club signed him for after his excellent chasing down of the ball and composure to beat the keeper and slot the ball home in front of the kop end.
As for Bury, their recent performances – which has seen them pick up some much-needed points – were again shown today where they largely played without fear and had confidence in bringing the ball forward.
On reflection, Bury’s performance deserved a goal, and arguably a point, after they continued to push forward and strive for an equaliser which is sometimes difficult to do when playing away from home. Recent performances will only help to generate confidence that they can escape relegation, which is more than possible with the number of games still to play.
Bradford City: Doyle, McMahon, Kilgallon, McGowan, Chicksen, Robinson (Taylor 65), Gilliead (Knight-Percival 82), Vincelot, Dieng, Wyke, Poleon (McCartan 74). Subs: Raeder, Knight Percival, Warnock, Guy, Gibson, Taylor, McCartan.
Bury: Ripley, Edwards, Cameron, Clarke (Maguire 90+4), Leigh, Danns (Tutte 90+2), Laurent, Bunns, Ismail (Hanson 59), Mayor, Miller. Subs: Murphy, Dawson, Thompson, Maguire, Tutte, Hanson.
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