League one

Fleetwood Fight Back Hits Bradford’s Hopes

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams - but couldn't prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams – but couldn’t prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Two late goals from Fleetwood meant that the Lancashire side came back from Valley Parade with a point, after being two goals down. The result against the ‘Cod Army’ leaves the Bantams in 12th, all be it with two games in hand on their play off rivals.

Bradford who missed the chance of a Wembley date earlier in the week with an agonising FA Cup replay defeat against Reading had Filipe Morais unavailable for this one. The former Chelsea man’s sending off in that defeat on Monday night means the 29 year old will have to sit out of this one.

As for the visitors Fleetwood they could call on Stephen Dobbie, after the midfielder was previously unavailable.

After enduring the heart ache of missing out on a chance of a Wembley date with Arsenal, the Bantams came into this one in determined fashion – and it was of no surprise when the home side took the lead.

Jonathan Stead who was a key part in the memorable FA Cup opened the scoring. Fleetwood keeper Chris Maxwell wasn’t able to hold on to a Billy Clarke cross, which allowed Stead to score.

The opening goal was a reward for Bradford’s dominance – and it was of little surprise when the home side double their lead. Christopher Routis who replaced the suspended Morais doubled the hosts lead. Routis managed to squeeze in James Hanson’s far post cross – and at that point the Bantams looked in complete control – but that goal seemed to spark Fleetwood to life.

The visitors who were dominated, managed to pull a goal back when Jamie Proctor pulled a goal back when he headed in Tyler Hornby- Forbes’ cross. Despite the disappointment of conceding that goal, you still would have back Bradford to see the game out – but unfortunately for the home fans Fleetwood’s Nathan Pond had the last say as the Fleetwood man scored in stoppage time after an all mighty scramble.

Two apiece it finished then – but this result will be a better result for the visitors no doubt. Having said that Bradford aren’t out of the promotion race just as they do have two games in hand on their play off rivals – but more dropped points in a fiercely competitive play off race is never ideal.

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Mow Of The Same Please

Alex Mowatt scored the only goal of the game as Leeds came out on top in the Championship relegation battle against Millwall.

Alex Mowatt scored the only goal of the game as Leeds came out on top in the Championship relegation battle against Millwall.

Alex Mowatt’s goal 6 minutes before half time proved to be the difference in the relegation battle against Millwall.

Both sides came into this ironically on the back of good form – but both sides league form over all this season is the reason why both sides are at the wrong end of the table.

Home side Leeds were pretty much unchanged for this one. Forward Mirco Antenucci continues on the bench – but there are starts for Sean Morrison and Sol Bamba. As for the visitors Millwall they had a full squad available. On Loan Michael Tonge is in eligible to play against his parent club Leeds so Angel Martinez comes in.

The match it self was quite even – but the home side Leeds slightly had the better of the possession. Both sides had plenty of shots on goal – but very few of those efforts were on target which showed why both teams are struggling.

In a game that lacked goals, this game definitely didn’t lack in tension as a lot of fouls were committed by both sides. The visitors did have some good periods in this game – but lacked the quality to turn that possession into any goals.

The home side did actually start this game well as Sam Byram hit the Millwall post. The home side eventually made their good early start and took the lead. Millwall’s Sean Williams brought down Sam Byram for a free kick which was beautifully scored by Alex Mowatt.

The visitors needed to respond – but unfortunately they weren’t able to. Martyn Woolford will rue blazing over the bar when well placed. This defeat leaves the Lions 1 point adrift of Championship safety. As for Leeds, the Whites can now look up the table – this win against their relegation rivals sees the Yorkshire side up to 12th.

O’Connor Is Bradford’s Bantams Menace As Port Vale Battle Back To Salvage A Point

Michael O'Connor secures last gasp equlaliser for Port Vale, which dents Bradford's promotion push.

Michael O’Connor secures last gasp equaliser for Port Vale, which dents Bradford’s promotion push.

Michael O’Connor scored one and set up the other to help snatch a point for Port Vale in an entertaining game against playoff chasing Bradford.

Port Vale came into this game with an outside chance of the playoffs themselves – but having played more games than their rivals around them, that looks like it’s not going to happen for this season.

The home side came into this one no doubt looking for a win. The Valliants although just three points behind visitors Bradford, are only seven points away from the relegation places, so Vale will no doubt no doubt looking to avoid getting sucked into a unwanted relegation battle.

As far as Port Vale’s team was concerned, that was pretty much at full strength. Frenchman Achille Champion starts on the bench along with fellow signing Tommy O’Sullivan who was signed on loan from Cardiff.

Bradford who have hit the headlines in recent weeks after that superb FA Cup win over Chelsea, have struggled a little bit of late. Despite going on an impressive 10 game unbeaten run, the Bantams have suffered costly defeats at the hands of playoff rivals Rochdale and League Two strugglers Yeovil with in the last month or so.

Those defeats have seen the Yorkshire side slip to ninth position after being in fifth position at one stage, part of that has been due to Bradford’s impressive cup run. With the Bantams having a game in hand over some of their play off rivals, Bradford were looking to take advantage here and gain ground on the teams above them.

The visitors came into this game pretty much unchanged. Jordan Pickford who missed the famous FA Cup win over Chelsea due to not being grated permission by parent club Sunderland, starts in goal ahead of Ben William’s. Billy Clarke who had been so influential at the start of the season for Bradford, still isn’t ready to start after a long injury layoff – but does make the bench for this one.

In a game that was important to both sides, it was in fact the visitors who started the better. Bradford who famously went to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea in the FA Cup, were showing the confidence and the belief that they can be just as rampant here.

It was they who deservedly took the lead as well (Bradford). Filipe Morais who is having an excellent season, crossed into the box for James Hanson to open the scoring and the floodgates it looked at that point as well . The visitors who were well on top at that point failed to make their period of dominance count – and were made to pay dearly.

Port Vale managed to weather the Bradford storm, and went in at half-time just one goal down. Vale manager Robert Page introduced Frenchman Achille Champion who would make a telling contribution. Champion after coming as a second half substitute levelled for the home side with a well placed shot into the bottom left corner of Jordan Pickford’s goal, Michael O’Connor who would go on to save the game for the Valliants provided the assist.

Bradford after enjoying the better of the game would have been bitterly disappointed to have let their hosts back into this one. To rub further salt into the wounds James Hanson missed a great chance for Bradford to retake the lead as his header was easily saved Vale keeper Chris Neal. That disappointment how ever was to be short lived as Bradford did retake the lead through Filipe Morais. The 29 year old former Chelsea trainee scored from outside the box after being set up by James Meredith.

At this point the visitors must have been thinking that the game is surely – but the real drama was yet to come. Jordan Pickford who was sent off last month in the home defeat to Rochdale was to receive the same feat here. Bradford’s defence were playing a high line and were brutally exposed by a through ball which prompted visiting keeper Pickford to bring down Vale’s Greg Luer in the penalty area.

The referee was left with no other option – but to send off the Bradford keeper and reward Port Vale a last minute spot kick . The Bantams needing a keeper to face that spot kick were forced to bring on Ben Williams at the expense of Mark Yeates, sadly though one of Williams’ first touches was to pick the ball out of his net. The former Manchester United keeper was unable to save Michael O’Connor’s effort.

That penalty was to be the last action of a truly entertaining game – but for Bradford they will be no doubt thinking what could have been.

A draw does neither side many favours. Port Vale are 14th in the table and four points off the play positions – but the Valliants have played at least two games more than the sides above them. As for Bradford this draw sees them in ninth place. This result although it wasn’t a defeat isn’t ideal especially with extremely difficult games against Swindon and Mk Dons to come.

Bradford Vs Rochdale Match Report

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson saw his sides 10 match unbeaten run come to an end against Rochdale on Saturday. The Bantams boss will be hoping this set back will help them to an FA Cup third round replay win against Millwall.

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson saw his sides 10 match unbeaten run come to an end against Rochdale on Saturday. The Bantams boss will be hoping this set back will help them to an FA Cup third round replay win against Millwall.

Rochdale sub Calvin Andrew struck late to break 10 man Bradford’s hearts and end their 10 match unbeaten run in the process, which damaged their play off hopes – and re ignited Rochdale’s.

Bradford came into this game looking to build on their recent good form which has seen them move into the play off places into fifth. Bradford had keeper Jordan Pickford available and the Bantams keeper came in for Ben Williams for this game, star midfielder Billy Clarke is still unavailable and missed this match as the Yorkshire side came into this match looking to consolidate their place in the play offs.

The visitors after suffering back to back defeats were looking to get back to winning ways and force themselves back into play off contention. After starting Rochdale’s last game, Michael Rose started on the bench for the away trip to Valley Parade while Stephen Dawson starts as Rochdale looked to address their mini slump.

Bradford had the worst start possible, and lost goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to an 11th minute red card. Rochdale’s Matt Done drew a foul from Pickford in the penalty area which left the referee no option but to point to the spot and send the Bradford keeper off for a professional foul. The visitors missed the chance from the resulting penalty as Ian Henderson’s effort hit the bar – but Peter Vincenti made no mistake from the rebound as Rochdale went a goal up.

The home side who were a goal down and a man down – but refused to give up and levelled through former Huddersfield striker John Stead. Billy Knott who has been in and amongst the goals of late, this time turned provider by setting up Stead who had a tap in to make the game all square at 1-1.

Bradford after overcoming the disappointment of losing an early goal and a player, got more of a foothold in the game and looked the more likely to score the next goal -but the man disadvantage was always going to leave The Bantams always looked vulnerable to the ‘sucker punch’ – and the ‘sucker punch’ duly came.

Just when the game seemed destined for a draw, which in the circumstances wouldn’t have been the worst result for Bradford, Rochdale through Calvin Andrew snatched a dramatic late winner which the visitors hope will reignite their play off push.

Despite losing this match which ended their 10 game unbeaten, Bradford remain fifth – but the chasing pack below them, which includes Rochdale have closed the gap on the Yorkshire side. Rochdale are now only two points behind The Bantams in eighth. Sixth place Sheffield United also took advantage of their play off rivals defeat and are now only a point behind Bradford – but have played a game less than their Yorkshire rivals.

Phil Parkinson will need to pick up his Bradford side for the midweek FA Cup replay with Millwall – but with a chance to face Chelsea in the fourth round I doubt there is much motivation needed.