Port Vale picked up a point away from home at the Utilita Energy Stadium as they braved Baltic conditions in a goalless draw against in-form Bradford City in their final game of 2020.
The Vale controlled the opening minutes of the game, with David Fitzpatrick unleashing two shots on goal, the first coming as he got on the end of an Alex Hurst cross and the second flashing just wide from 25-yards out.
Bradford began to work their way into the game as it approached the 15 minute mark, but the Vale, who were playing a high-line, held solid and prevented any attempts on Scott Brown’s goal.
With 18 minutes on the clock, David Fitzpatrick went down holding his head and had to receive treatment after being caught by a flailing arm, but was able to play on.
Bradford found their first real opening of the game soon after, a great through ball fed the Bantam’s free-scoring captain Lee Novak, but Fitzpatrick got back to make an important challenge with the resulting corner nearly finding the far post as it was missed by everyone
Minutes later Brown was called upon for the first time in the match, as Novak teed up Callum Cooke on the edge of the area, but Vale’s number one got across and made an impressive save.
Both sides displayed beautiful passing football as the half-hour mark was reached, but neither of them were able to find a route through their opponents’ rigid defences.
With just over five minutes left of the half, Hurst and Danny Whitehead, who had caused problems for the Bantams all game, linked up well, with Hurst delivering a teasing cross into the area but David Amoo’s header was deflected out for a corner.
The hosts started the second period brightly but it was the Vale who went closest first, with Amoo driving in-field and letting fly from 20-yards, before the keeper, Sam Hornby, nearly carried the ball over his own line as he was chased down by Devante Rodney.
With 70 minutes on the clock, some good play by Vale saw Rodney played through one-on-one and he knocked it under Hornby before being brought down by the keeper but the referee waved away what everyone in Green believed should have been a penalty.
Tom Pope was introduced soon after and nearly made a fast impact on the game, knocking the ball down with his head to Rodney who hit a volley from 25-yards out that went wide of the mark.
Bradford nearly found the opening goal of the game with less than 10 minutes remaining, Billy Clark hit a venomous strike from range but Brown got down and made a superb stop, before Fitzpatrick made a key block and clearance.
The Bantams went close again almost immediately after, substitute Gareth Evans striking on goal from inside the Vale box as he latched onto a pull-back, but again Brown made a top class save to keep the game level.
Port Vale: Brown, Smith, Legge, Brisley, Fitzpatrick, Joyce, Whitehead, Burgess, Amoo, Hurst. (73’ Pope), Rodney
Unused Subs: Visser, Crookes, Mills, Chambers, Lennon, Bailey.
Bradford City: Hornby, O’Connor, O’Connor, Pritchard (70’ Evans), Cooke, Novak, Clarke, Wall, Sutton, Wood, Cousin-Dawson.
Unused Subs: Longridge, Donaldson, Samuels, French, Sikora, Scales.