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Match Reports

REPORT: Bradford City 1-1 Grimsby Town

Last-minute equaliser earns Mariners a point

8 February 2020

An added-time equaliser earned Grimsby Town a valuable away point at Bradford City.

After an uneventful first half, the game came to life after the break and the hosts thought they had won it when Callum Coooke broke the deadlock with 10 minutes to go.

But the Mariners, who had battled well all afternoon, refused to be beaten and got their leveller through Luke Hendrie.

One change was made to the Town side after last week's home draw with Forest Green Rovers, as Luke Waterfall returned to the starting line-up in place of Ludvig Ohman.

James McKeown started in goal, with Hendrie, Mattie Pollock, Waterfall and Anthony Glennon forming the defence.

Harry Clifton, Elliott Whitehouse and Josh Benson were the midfielders, while James Hanson and Billy Clarke were both back to face their former club as they joined Charles Vernam in attack.

Ohman was given a place on the bench, alongside Sam Russell, Matt Green, James Tilley, Elliott Hewitt and deadline day signings Bradley Garmston and Elliot Grandin.

Bradford were under new management after club legend Stuart McCall returned in midweek.

He would be looking to stop a recent poor run of form which had brought the Bantams just three wins from their previous 15 games.

Hendrie conceded the first corner of the game on three minutes but the ball from the flag was comfortably headed clear by Glennon at the near post.

Another home corner came when a shot by Dylan Connolly was blocked by Glennon and it turned into a third, which was caught by McKeown.

Connolly fired over the bar from 20 yards on eight minutes, before Whitehouse tried his luck from distance in what was Town's first shot but he too missed the target.

After the hosts dominated the early stages, the Mariners were beginning to have spells of pressure of their own by the quarter-hour.

They nearly had a chance when a long ball forward from McKeown found Hanson but he was not able to get it under control enough to seriously trouble home keeper Richard O'Donnell.

A cross from the Bradford left on 23 minutes was deflected behind for a corner but the kick was cleared, before the return ball into the box found Clayton Donaldson in an offside position.

A cross from Adam Henley on the right was headed out by Waterfall for another corner and this time, it was caught by McKeown.

Jake Reeves blasted an effort over the bar from 25 yards after good hold-up play by Lee Novak as the hosts continued to attack.

And with Town struggling to keep the ball and deal with the strong wind, it was Bradford who kept the pressure on, although McKeown remained untested as half-time loomed.

Vernam hit a shot which deflected through to O'Donnell as the Mariners launched a rare attack on 44 minutes, before Donnelly hit the side-netting at the other end as he tried to keep a cross in play.

One additional minute was played at the end of the half and with no further opportunities for either side, the game remained goalless at the break.

No changes were made before the restart and after a Grimsby attack broke down, a quick break led to a Bradford corner on the right on 48 minutes. Centre-back Ben Richards-Everton headed over the bar frrom it.

A foul on winger Harry Pritchard gave the hosts a free kick on the left and it led to another one in a more central position soon afterwards. This time, Reeves stepped up to shoot but sent the ball just past the near post.

Whitehouse was fouled by Reeves at the other end to give Town a free kick in a dangerous position but Vernam's drilled shot went through to O'Donnell.

The game was moving from end to end at pace and an opportunity for Bradford came on he hour when a low ball was played into the box from the right but Donaldson could only turn it out for a goal kick at the near post.

Grandin was sent on for his Mariners debut in place of Clifton as the visitors made the first substitution on 63 minutes.

Vernam went on a run two minutes later but after getting into the box, he was unable to square the ball to Hanson and a good challenge brought the attack to an end.

Clarke was shown the yellow card for a foul on Connolly, before Bradford's first change saw Kurtis Guthrie replace Donaldson in attack.

Town won a corner on the left on 73 minutes but the ball from it was headed clear.

Tilley replaced Clarke in Grimsby's second change, before Dylan Mottley-Henry was sent on in place of Connolly as the hosts followed suit.

A low cross into the box by Mottley-Henry was well-defended, then Reeves was booked for a foul on Whitehouse as Town looked to break.

The Mariners fell behind with 10 minutes to go as the hosts finally made the breakthrough. Mottley-Heenry played the ball back to COOKE and he let fly from 20 yards and found the far corner of the net. The Town players, led by McKeown, launched protests but to no avail.

Green replaced Whitehouse and Hope Akpan came on for Pritchard as both sides made their last change with five minutess to go.

A low ball into the box proved just too far aheead of Green as Town looked for a way back into the game.

A home corner was caught by McKeown, before a shot from Vernam went just wide as Green narrowly failed to get a touch on it.

Four added minutes was signalled and in the second of them, the Mariners had their equaliser. A run down the right by Vernam led to him playing the ball across and HENDRIE was in the right place to slam it into the net at the far post.

The goal silenced the home supporters but sent the 2,545 travelling Town fans into raptures and they had one last chance to win it when Grandin was fouled on the edge of the box. The ball was swung in but was twice cleared off the line and the contest ended all-square.

Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they travel to Colchester United.

City: O’Donnell, Richards-Everton, O’Connor, Pritchard, Reeves, Novak, Donaldson (c), Connolly, Henley, Wood, Cooke 

Subs: McGee, O’Connor, McCartan,  Middleton, Akpan, Guthrie, Mottley-Henry.

Town: McKeown (c), Hendrie, Waterfall, Pollock, Glennon, Whitehouse, Clifton, Benson, Vernam, Hanson, Clarke.

Subs: Russell, Garmston, Öhman, Tilley, Hewitt, Grandin, Green. 

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 17,668 (2,545)

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