S a l f o r d
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Team Sheet

Bradford City
1
Richard O'Donnell
2
Kelvin Mellor
4
Paudie O'Connor
5
Ben Richards-Everton
6
Anthony O'Connor
7
Harry Pritchard
1 goals for Harry Pritchard

Taylor 90+2'

8
Jake Reeves (c)
19
Dylan Connolly

McCartan 76'

23
Connor Wood
25
Aramide Oteh
26
Callum Cooke
Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
3
Ibou Touray
4
Oscar Threlkeld
5
Liam Hogan (c)
7
Luke Armstrong

Rooney 46'

8
Lois Maynard

Jones 62'

15
Cameron Burgess
17
Richie Towell
28
Brandon Thomas-Asante
32
Jake Jervis
44
Craig Conway
Substitutes
30
George Sykes-Kenworthy
11
Zeli Ismail
14
Shay McCartan
15
Tyler French
16
Matt Palmer
18
Jermaine Anderson
29
Chris Taylor
Substitutes
12
Kyle Letheren
6
Carl Piergianni
9
Adam Rooney
1 goals for Adam Rooney
10
Danny Lloyd
18
Danny Whitehead
25
Joey Jones
Managers
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Carl Boyeson
Assistant Referee - Billy Smallwood
Assistant Referee - Helen Edwards
Fourth Official - Matthew Smith

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Match
Report

Adam Rooney’s goal 11 minutes from time secured a point for Salford City on their first ever visit to Valley Parade. Home side Bradford City had dominated a goalless first half before going ahead early in the second. The Ammies responded with real determination and and their efforts paid off with that late leveller.

Graham Alexander’s side had been unlucky to lose at home to Exeter City last week, so there were no changes made to the side that started that game. There was a real sense of occasion at Vallet Parade and in front of near 15,000 crowd Salford were soon under pressure from a promotion chasing outfit in good home form.

As early as the 2nd minute a Kelvin Mellor pass was collected by Harry Pritchard whose left-footer from nearly 25 yards wasn’t far wide of Chris Neal’s right-hand post. Salford’s defence would have plenty to do during the first half and a couple of minutes later impressive midfielder Jake Reeves tried his luck from a similar range. The powerfully hit shot seemed to swerve a little, with Neal forced to dive to his left and turn the ball wide of the upright. It was Reeves who took the corner, from the right, with his delivery dropping beyond the far post. Central defender Anthony O’Connor got up high – and unattended – only for his header to drop harmlessly over the crossbar.

An enterprising start for the Bantams and they went close from another Reeves corner with half-a-dozen minutes on the clock. This time Dylan Connolly got up to glance the ball on for Mellor to meet at the far post. The angle was tight and with Neal covering his right-hand upright the Bradford defender could only direct his header over the bar.

The opening stages were virtually all Bradford, with their patient possession already creating a handful of opportunities. It would be the width of the goalpost that came to Salford’s rescue on the quarter hour after Callum Cooke picked up the clearance from his own ball into the box. The Peterborough United loanee advanced, right of centre, prior to letting fly with a low effort that smacked off the outside of Neal’s right-hand post and away to safety.

An escape for the Ammies, but they were still labouring under an amber and claret cosh. Reeves aimed a corner from the left at the near post where O’Connor got in a header that dropped just over the target.

There was no real let up as Bradford played some neat football in their determined quest to open the afternoon’s scoring. On 24 minutes the home side were awarded a free-kick that was dummied by Reeves, leaving Pritchard to hit a left-footer that dropped just outside Neal’s left-hand post.

Salford’s attacking efforts so far had amounted to no more than a few hopeful forays that had been snuffed out by a solid looking Bantam rearguard. As the second half progressed, they would begin to offer a degree of threat and could have snatched a 27th minute lead. Brandon Asante passed inside to Richie Towell who moved the ball back out wide for Oscar Threlkeld. The full-back dropped a cross into the area aimed at Luke Armstrong who, from 7 yards out, was off-balance and only able to head over the bar.

A very presentable chance for the Ammies and within another minute a lung-bursting Jake Jervis run on the right earned his side a corner. The set-piece was cleared, and the established pattern of the game resumed as Bradford sought the goal they’d been threatening to score since the start. They very nearly got it in the 31st minute after Mellor swung in a cross from wide on the right. The ball spun off Liam Hogan’s head, falling for Aramide Oteh who cleverly wrong-footed Threlkeld. The shot was on but the left-of-centre 8-yarder was well saved by Neal who managed to push the ball around the far post.

The corner was dealt with, but Bradford were soon back on the offensive. Pritchard’s lofted cross from deep and wide on the left dropped to the far post where O’Connor arrived to lift a first-time effort over the bar from very close range.

The ‘sucker punch’ is a well-known football phenomenon, and Salford very nearly delivered one 11 minutes before the interval. Asante’s nicely weighted pass sent Jervis racing into space on the right, and he rolled a low, square ball across the 6-yard box. Craig Conway had spotted the possibilities and was bare inches away from providing a near-post touch that would almost certainly have put the Ammies ahead. Bradford struggled to clear their lines and Threlkeld’s pass picked out Conway, now stationed on the edge of the box. The shot was on, but this time the Scottish winger could only lift an effort high over the bar.

Better for Salford – not that there had been much to compare it with previously – and the home side’s domination was beginning to lessen as half-time approached. The Bantams were still looking to find a way through, but a corner or two was the best they could offer in the time that remained. The most promising attacking moment came from the Ammies when Ibou Touray hoisted a free-kick into the area, forcing Richard O’Donnell to punch clear under pressure from Cameron Burgess.

The half ended on an unusual note as a promising Bradford attack was brought to a premature end by the referee’s whistle, sounded at 45 minutes to the second. The home side weren’t best pleased and as they made their way to the dressing room would probably have been reflecting on a half they had entirely dominated without a goal being scored.

HALF-TIME: BRADFORD CITY 0 SALFORD CITY 0

Graham Alexander made a change at the break, introducing Rooney for Armstrong in what was a like-for-like switch.

The second half started off at pace, with Bradford testing the visiting defence within a couple of minutes of the restart. Oteh’s neat touch on the right-hand angle of the box was followed by a low drive that was saved comfortably enough by Neal.

At the other end a Lois Maynard pass down the left flank should have been cut out by a defender, but wasn’t. Instead Asante was away on a run and he passed to Conway on the far side of the area. The return cross was decent but as Asante waited for the ball to drop onto his head, a defender got in to nod behind.

Lively stuff, and in the 53rd minute Bradford City finally made the breakthrough. It was a nice move too, starting with Reeves’ accurate cross-field ball that dropped for Mellor on the right. The full-back did well before slipping a pass to Connolly who squared inside and into the path of PRITCHARD. There was work still to do, but the home midfielder kept his cool before using his left peg to side-foot a finish between Neal and his left-hand upright.

In all honesty that was a deserved goal for the Bantams, and they were soon looking for another one. Pritchard’s diagonal run from the right towards the area included a one-two with Oteh before a pass was slid out to Connor Wood on the left. The full-back made a yard of space on the angle of the area but failed to keep his effort on goal down.

Considering the pattern of the game so far, the Ammies had a job on if anything was to be rescued from this match. To their credit, they would rise that challenge but, in the meantime, Bradford were intent on earning themselves a two-goal cushion. After a Salford free-kick routine came to nothing the Bantams broke forward on their left flank as Oteh carried the ball forward. Possession was moved on to Reeves whose pass to the right sent Connolly on a run into the penalty area. The angle was getting tight and with a defender closing in the AFC Wimbledon loanee could only lift a shot high over the bar.

Still Bradford in the driving seat, but the game was slowly tipping back in Salford’s direction. From a throw-in on the left Asante swiveled inside the area before seeing his snap-shot charged down. A couple of Touray crosses were cleared in quick succession before Maynard’s run into the left-hand side of the area almost took him to the line. An attempt to square the ball in was deflected wide by a defender and from the corner that followed Burgess headed over the bar.

Much more encouraging for the vocal travelling contingent and Joey Jones came on for Maynard with just less than a half-hour to play. It was an attacking change and seemed to pay dividends quickly as Salford began to exert some consistent pressure.

Conway lofted in a free-kick from wide on the left and only a couple of yards into the Bradford half, with Burgess glancing a header wide of O’Donnell’s left-hand upright. A modest opportunity but the Ammies were looking busier, enjoying more possession and getting some decent crosses into the danger area.

With 20 minutes to play substitute Joey Jones nudged a quickly taken free-kick to Conway before receiving the return and advancing through the inside-right channel. The shot that followed, from outside box, had the pace to beat O’Donnell but didn’t dip quite enough, scraping the top of the bar on its way our for a goal kick.

Close for Salford, but they had some more defending to do 4 minutes later. Oteh got up on the left to flick on a header and Connolly was racing into acres of space. Fortunately for the Ammies Burgess was alert to the danger, getting in a tremendous sliding challenge at the cost of nothing more than a throw-in.

The Bantams broke with pace again a couple of minutes later, and this time Oteh’s pass found Pritchard who hit a low 20-yarder was saved and held by Neal. Down at the other end of the field Rooney bundled past a challenge on the right-hand side of the area but couldn’t keep his shot on goal down.

End-to-end stuff at this point and for Bradford Reeves’ pass to the right set up substitute Shay McCartan to hit a low 22-yarder well over.

A goal was in the air, and in the 79th minute it went the way of Salford City. There seemed to be relatively little danger when Asante picked up possession on the left, but the young forward muscled his way past Paudie O’Connor, paused to beat the defender again before advancing on the near post. Once there he resisted the temptation to shoot from a tight angle, instead opting to flick a pass inside for ROONEY. From 6 yards out the Irish striker placed a cool finish wide of O’Donnell to level the scores and record his 7th goal of the season.

The Ammies had been a much more potent force since conceding the opener and now Bradford had only 10 minutes to find a winner. McCartan was brought down by Burgess just outside the area on the right but the visiting defence held firm when the dangerously positioned free-kick came in.

A point would represent a very decent return for Salford from this game, yet they almost had the temerity to snatch what could have been a winner, 5 minutes from time. A Threlkeld pass up the right squeezed its way through for Asante who got into the box and kept ahead of his marker. There was a clear sight of goal, albeit from an angle, but the former MK Don could only blaze a shot over the bar.

There would be a half chance apiece during the time that was left (and 3 minutes added on). A neat passing move from Bradford ended with Burgess blocking Connor Cooke’s shot inside the box. In the very final minute Reeves uncharacteristically gave possession away in midfield and was almost punished as Asante played a low forward pass into Bradford territory. Jervis set off in pursuit but was thwarted as Ben Richards-Everton got across to whip the ball away.

The final whistle sounded out not long afterwards and Salford City could head back over the Pennines with a very creditable point.

FULL-TIME: BRADFORD CITY 1 SALFORD CITY 1

This is what the EFL is all about. An awayday to an impressive venue that has hosted football at the highest level, a big crowd (the largest ever for a game involving Salford City) and a point taken against the run of play.

The Ammies had to soak up a lot of pressure during the first half and couldn’t have complained had they gone into the interval behind. Bradford got their goal early after the restart but Salford responded positively to the setback and were able to produce a goal threat of their own.

The equalizer was all about Asante’s strength, persistence and skill (added to a neat Rooney finish) and Graham Alexander would have left Valley Parade in a happier frame of mind that would counterpart Gary Bowyer. The Bantam's occupy a play-off position at present and have been in good form recently - all in all, this has to be viewed a good point won.

A very acceptable start to the busy festive period, a first point in 3 games and a first league goal from open play since the trip to Newport just before Bonfire Night.

Next up is Crewe Alexandra on Boxing Day, followed by trips to Oldham, then Grimsby to bring in the new year. Perhaps Santa would consider a few three-point presents for the Ammies...

Attendance: 14,642 (including 418 Salford City)

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk