A late stoppage time header from Jamie Walker denied Town all three points in this afternoon's Yorkshire Derby as both sides were forced to settle for a point at the University of Bradford Stadium.
Matty Daly’s delightful dink on 78 minutes looked sure to be the difference between the two sides before Jamie Walker’s glanced header in the fifth minute of added time prevented Town from taking away all three points.
Simon Weaver opted for an unchanged Town side despite skipper Josh Falkingham being forced off in last week’s narrow 1-0 defeat to Gillingham. As for Bradford City, they were without their top goalscorer of last season Andy Cook.
Former Town loanee Lewis Richards started the match for the home side having made a summer move to The Bantams from Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Tempers flared in opening five minutes with Abraham Odoh setting the tone of a Yorkshire derby early as he sent Bradford's Bradley Halliday into the advertising boardings which the home crowd didn’t warm to very well.
Town had the first key chance of the game as Odoh was brought down on the edge of the box following a cheap giveaway from the Bradford defence. George Thomson stepped over the free kick from 20 yards out but unfortunately hit the Bradford wall and Harry Lewis in the Bradford goal was left untroubled.
Chances were few and far between in the opening half, however on 20 minutes, Daly broke through the middle of the park and released Armstrong on his way and bearing down on goal, but Town’s top goal scorer of last season got the ball stuck under his feet and failed to get his shot off.
Only the one card was shown on the pitch in the first half and that was Odoh who entered the referee’s book for a late challenge on danger man Jamie Walker. However, Assistant Manager Paul Thirlwell was also shown a yellow card.
Former Town loanee Lewis Richards had a half chance on 36 minutes when the ball dropped to him perfectly on the edge of the box but his shot was seen sailing over the bar into the top stand.
The game livened up in the final 15 minutes of the half with both teams pushing to open the scoring. Jamie Walker was the standout man for the home side causing Town’s defence to monitor him closely.
He had success down the right flank and tested the hands of Oxley for the first time on 42 minutes with a powerful strike, but it wasn’t enough to break the deadlock going into half-time.
Jamie Walker continued to shine for Bradford early in the second half as his acrobatic effort from the penalty spot following a chipped cross from Chisom Afoka just couldn’t find the target as the shot drifted just wide of the post.
On 58 minutes, Afoka sought to turn the tide in Brafford’s favour and certainly heightened the noise levels at Valley Parade. His jinking run in from the left wing saw the forward unleash a low curling effort which Oxley parried away to clear the danger.
On 67 minutes, Town were the first team to change personnel as Levi Sutton was bought on in replace of George Thomson to face his former club. Shortly after, Jeremy Sivi also came on to be the attacking spark for town as he took the place of Sam Folarin.
Sivi made an instant impact and was the attacking spark Town needed as Daly opened the scoring on 78 minutes. The Boro loanee showed positive play by taking his defender on 1v1 before releasing a cross which was deflected and fell into the path of Daly.
The former Bradford man was alert to pounce and produce a wonderful finish from point blank range.
The final 10 minutes saw Bradford up the tempo in search of an equaliser which the crowd reacted to. A late ball into the penalty area caused a defensive mix-up which the lively Walker was able to take advantage of as he headed home an equaliser.
While the side come away from Bradford with a well-earned point, there will be some disappointment that it wasn't all three.