Port Vale v Bradford City
Saturday 7th February 2015
Attendance: 5,205 including 895 visiting supporters
Vale managed to earn themselves a point from the game after twice going behind, when they were awarded a late penalty after Chris Birchall was brought down inside the box.
James Hanson had nodded the visitors in front four minutes before the interval, but Achillle Campion levelled for the home side with his first goal in the Football League.
Seven minutes later Filipe Morais restored the Bantams lead and they looked set for all three points until the penalty award in stoppage time, which was duly put away by Michael O’Connor to earn Vale a share of the points.
Vale boss Rob Page made two changes to the starting eleven ahead of the game, one enforced due to the injury last week of Ben Williamson, and the other down to tactics.
Michael Brown was re-introduced to the side and Richard Duffy came in at the heart of the Vale defence, with Fredi Veseli moving over to right back to take the place of Adam Yates.
The visitors started strongly with much of the early play taking place in the Vale half of the pitch and the home side were finding it difficult to get any fluency in their play.
Vale complained to the match officials about off the ball incidents on more than one occasion, with the visitors demonstrating the physical side of their game when they felt it necessary.
Despite the visitors looking the more threatening of the two sides early on, Vale gradually began to cause more problems to a well organised Bradford outfit.
Bantams’ ‘keeper Jordan Pickford was relieved when the ball fell straight into his hands off one of his defenders after the ball had been pumped into the Bradford box by Chris Lines on the Vale right.
Vale had to adopt an all hands to the deck approach when Phil Parkinson’s men pushed forward in numbers, but although they looked a little jittery at times, they generally defended well and Chris Neal had little to do.
Itwas more of a scrappy battle at times that a game to be appreciated by the football connoisseur, yet it was difficult to take your eyes off the action in case you missed something.
Vale made their first substitution in the 36th minute when Chris Birchall was called from the bench to replace Colin Daniel.
GOAL:Vale’s defences were finally breached on 41 minutes when Filipe Morais floated the ball in from the right and JAMES HANSON rose highest at the far post to nod down over the line.
Vale made an attacking change at the start of the second half with the introduction of striker Achille Campion who came off the bench to replace midfielder Chris Lines.
Tom Pope went close with a looping header which Pickford snatched hold of just under his crossbar then former Val loanee Billy Knott had the ball in the net at the other end, only for the referee to blow up for an infringement.
Pope wasn’t too far off target, firing inches wide of Pickford’s right hand upright after receiving the ball to feet from Marshall on the left.
GOAL:Vale were on level terms in the 58th minute when Michael O’Connor nodded down a cross from Carl Dickinson and ACHILLE CAMPION, who has made a habit of scoring goals in the reserves, was in the right place at the right time to force the ball over the line for the equaliser.
GOAL:Chris Neal kept Vale in the game at the other end with a point blank save from Knott, but in the 65th minute the visitors retook the lead when FILIPE MORAIS fired home from close range.
Bradford kept up the pressure, forcing Vale to defend deep inside their own half and therefore creating little at the other end to cause the visitors problems.
Another point blank save from Chris Neal, this time to deny Hanson, kept Vale in with a chance of getting something from the game, but it was at the other end where they needed heroics of some kind.
Vale made a final substitution in the 86th minute with Greg Luer coming on to join the Vale attack, with defender Richard Duffy making way.
The youngster may well have got his name on the score sheet with a left foot drive from the edge of the box, had a deflection not taken it wide of the target.
There was still plenty of drama to come, when in the second minute of stoppage time, ‘keeper Pickford upended Chris Birchall and was promptly given his marching orders with Vale awarded a penalty.
GOAL:The visitors took off substitute Mark Yeates so that substitute goalkeeper Ben Williams could face the spot kick, but he stood no chance as MICHAEL O’CONNOR hammered home from twelve yards.
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Fredi Veseli, Chris Robertson, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Chris Lines, Michael Brown, Michael O’Connor, Colin Daniel, Tom Pope, Mark Marshall. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Chris Birchall, Ryan McGivern, Tommy O’Sullivan, Greg Luer, Achille Campion
BRADFORD CITY: Jordan Pickford, Stephen Darby, James Meredith, Andrew Davies, Gary Liddle, James Hanson, Billy Knott, Jon Stead, Filipe Morais, Rory McArdle, Andy Halliday. SUBS: Alan Sheehan, Billy Clarke, Ben Williams, Francois Zako, Mark Yeates, Gary Mckenzie, Christopher Routis
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