Notts County 1 Bradford City 1
COMPETITION | Sky Bet League One
SCORERS | Stead (45), Edwards (75)
ATTENDANCE | 5,166 (1,094 away)
REFEREE | Mark Brown (East Yorkshire)
Mike Edwards earned Notts County a point as they came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Bradford City at Meadow Lane.
The visitors took the lead deep into stoppage time in the first half, Jon Stead side footing a Francois Zoko cross beyond Roy Carroll.
Mike Edwards equalised midway through the second half, heading home from a Gary Jones corner.
The Magpies nearly won it late on, substitute Balint Bajner’s shot was saved at the near post by visiting keeper Jak Alnwick.
Magpies’ manager Shaun Derry made two changes to the side that were beaten at Swindon Town on Saturday. Coming into the side were Elliott Whitehouse and Garry Thompson. Whitehouse came into the side to replace the suspended Liam Noble, who was dismissed for two yellow cards last weekend. Garry Thompson too was restored to the starting line-up, as he came in for Jamal Campbell-Ryce.
There were four former Magpies in the opposition squad for Bradford, with Stephen Darby, Gary Liddle, Francois Zoko and Alan Sheehan all the in the squad of eighteen, the latter was sat on the bench.
The Notts fans were in good voice as the game got underway. Garry Thompson earned the home side a corner early on. Gary Jones took the set-piece. It forced a punch from Jak Alnwick in the Bradford goal to clear the danger, with Mike Edwards lurking in the six yard box, ready to pounce.
A glorious chance fell to the Magpies with eight minutes gone. Hayden Mullins had the ball on the right, he floated a cross in for the two forwards in Leroy Lita and Garry Thompson. Thompson got to the ball and Blair Adams came running in to hit the layoff first time, he couldn’t get his shot on target however, as Bradford cleared their lines once again.
Down the other end, Bradford had a chance to go ahead themselves. Mark Yeates stood over a freekick 25 yards out. He got his shot over the wall, but Roy Carroll got down well to deny the midfielder. Jon Stead got to the loose ball, but Carroll got there once again to keep the scores level as Stead tried to side foot home from a tight angle.
Bradford continued their pressure on the Magpies defence. On a number of occasions bodies were on the line from the Notts defence, as Hayden Mullins denied Yates from getting in on goal after he weaved past a number of players.
Top goalscorer Garry Thompson was close to adding to his tally for the season. Good work down the left from Paddy McCourt allowed the on-loan midfielder to cross into the box. Thompson was waiting in the six yard box, he got a head to it, but Bradford cleared the goal bound header away.
With ten minutes left of the first half, a fantastic counter attack nearly resulted in the game’s first goal. Paddy McCourt was dispossessed in the middle, but Curtis Thompson pounced onto the loose ball. He ran at a back peddling Bradford defence, before trying his luck from the edge of the area. Hid shot went narrowly wide of the right post.
In injury time of the first half, Bradford took the lead. Former Notts forward Francois Zoko burst past Hayden Mullins on the left and pulled it back for Jon Stead who was waiting in the box. He got on the end of the pass and slotted it into the far corner beyond Carroll’s reach to give Bradford the lead.
HT: Notts County 0 – 1 Bradford City
Minutes into the second half, Notts won a freekick on the left as Lita was fouled. McCourt whipped in a freekick for the back post. Garry Thompson was waiting, but Alnwick claimed well. Haydn Hollis too had a shot from distance, but it flew well wide of the target.
Leroy Lita hadn’t seen much of the ball during the first half, but came close to equalising ten minutes into the second half. He latched onto a loose ball in the Bradford half and ran at goal. He had Garry Thompson in support, but tried to curl a left footed effort beyond Alnwick, however his effort went over.
Notts were certainly giving Bradford something to think about, but Bradford were looking to build on their slender lead. Mullins blocked a shot from Yates, but it fell to Matthew Dolan on the edge of the box. He hit it sweetly, and it was flying into the bottom corner, but Carroll got across fantastically to deny the defender from doubling the lead.
Bradford continued to attack. First Christopher Routis had a shot deflected into the side netting. Then a goalmouth scrambled followed from a corner, but Notts had bodies on the goal line before clearing.
Lita had another chance down the other end, his shot from inside the box was blocked. With 20 minutes left, McCourt played a brilliant pass into Curtis Thompson, his touch was excellent, but his shot was straight at the keeper.
It was end to end at this point as Notts looked to salvage a point. Mullins made an excellent challenge to deny substitute James Hanson when he looked clear on goal. Whilst Carroll saved well from a Zoko header.
McCourt was turning the Bradford players inside out. He took on three opposition players before playing to Gary Jones. The former Bradford man shot first time, but it was blocked for a corner. From the resulting corner, the Magpies got a well-deserved equaliser with 15 minutes remaining. Gary Jones whipped in the set-piece and Mike Edwards rose above everybody else to head into the far corner to level the game.
Bradford thought they had snatched it late on, a cross from the wing was floated in for James Hanson, who tried to guide his header into the far corner. Carroll was rooted to the spot, but his effort went wide.
Notts pressed as they searched a winner themselves. Balint Bajner was played through on goal, he went for the near post, but Jak Alnwick got across to deny the substitute. Curtis Thompson too had a chance late on, but he sliced his effort wide of the near post. Notts searched for a winner, but couldn’t find it as both sides settled for a point.
FT: Notts County 1 – 1 Bradford City
MAGPIE PLAYER MAN OF THE MATCH | Curtis Thompson
The young midfielder had another excellent performance in the centre of midfield. He linked up well with both Gary Jones and Paddy McCourt. He was tireless again today, making a number of key interceptions at the back, whilst contributing up front too.
He could have been on the score sheet a couple of times today. His long range effort going wide, whilst his second attempt was saved. A great performance once again.
Roy Carroll too deserves a mention for making a string of excellent saves across the game, most notably the long range effort from Matthew Dolan.
Notts County: Carroll, Adams (Newton, 72), Mullins ©, Hollis, G Thompson, Jones, C Thompson, Lita (Wroe, 88), McCourt, Whitehouse (Bajner, 64), Edwards
Substitutes: Pilkington, Smith, Hayhurst, Wroe, Newton, Daniels, Bajner
Bradford City: Alnwick, Darby ©, Meredith, Dolan, Liddle, Zoko (Clarke, 73), Yeates, MacKenzie, Stead (Hanson, 60), Routis (Morais, 68), McArdle
Substitutes: Williams, Sheehan, Hanson, Clarke, Knott, Morais, Halliday
Look out for full reaction and post-match highlights on Magpie Player
NEXT UP: Notts County v Rochdale | Sky Bet League 1 | Tuesday 17 March 2015 (7:45pm Kick-Off) (BUY TICKETS)
Photos by JMS Photography