Port Vale 1-1 Bradford City: James Wilson netted his seventh of the season but a late equaliser by Bradford’s Lee Angol saw it end 1-1 at Vale Park.
Manager Darrell Clarke brought back striker Devante Rodney to the bench as David Amoo partnered James Wilson upfront. There was one change in the starting XI from the FA Cup tie against Accrington as Ben Garrity replaced Jake Taylor in central midfield.
It was Bradford who had the first chance as the ball dropped to Theo Robinson on ten minutes but an excellent block by Gibbons stopped the threat. There was another chance for Robinson three minutes later but Covolan blocked Robinson’s shot.
It was a patchy performance by the Valiants in the opening quarter with too many misplaced passes and no real chances. It was eighteen minutes before James Wilson cut inside to send a powerful drive just wide. However, the Bantams continued to threaten with a Gilliead drive going just wide on 20 minutes.
Vale rallied with a fierce long-range drive by James Gibbons saved. Five minutes later, there was another long-range shot from Conlon which was again well saved by Bradford stopper O’Donnell. The Valiants ended the half strongly but were unable to find the key pass to unlock a resilient Bradford defence who had another breakaway chance in the closing moments only for Vernam to blaze wide when well set.
Half-time: Port Vale 0-0 Bradford City
Clarke’s side started the second period strongly but again, just could not find the killer pass to open the scoring while Bradford were still looking dangerous on the break.
The Valiants finally got the break through when David Amoo was found by a through ball by James Wilson. Amoo drove into the box and when the ball broke the the in-form Wilson was on hand to force the ball home from an acute angle to give Vale the lead on 57 minutes.
Vale made a double change on the hour mark with Rodney and Taylor coming on for Amoo and Garrity. Moments later, James Wilson went down and George Lloyd was introduced. Lloyd soon had a chance from a cross from Worrall but his header went over. However, the visitors equalised on 74 minutes when Angol headed home after a period of Bradford pressure.
On 84 minutes, excellent play from Conlon gave Lloyd a golden opportunity as he found in the box but his shot went just wide of the post. There was some controversial moments in the closing minutes with O’Donnell appearing to leave a high boot in on Rodney and Lloyd felled by a Bradford defender. There was another chance for Vale as Worrall’s cross just missed Lloyd’s tow but despite six minutes added on neither side were able to find a winner.
It had been a hard fought point for the Valiants during an often fractious encounter. There were some strong performances by Pett, Conlon, Gibbons and Jones while Nathan Smith was as resilient as ever at the back. However, there will also be concerns as James Wilson left the field with an injury, Nathan Smith will be suspended after a booking and Vale’s usually solid defence struggled at times against a dangerous Bradford attack.
Full-time: Port Vale 1-1 Bradford City
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Port Vale: Covolan; Cass, Smith, Jones; Worrall, Garrity (Taylor), Pett, Conlon, Gibbons; Wilson (Lloyd), Amoo (Rodney)
Subs: Stone, Martin, Rodney, Politic
Port Vale bookings: Smith
Attendance: 7,010 (886 away)