Ban­tams hang in there af­ter Evans red

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Liam Cole­man

TEN-MAN Brad­ford held on for a point against play-off hope­fuls Port Vale who re­main un­beaten at home since Septem­ber.

Ajay Leitch-Smith fired home his eighth of the sea­son to give Vale the lead af­ter just two min­utes, get­ting on the end of a Richard Duffy cross at close range.

Lee Evans, on loan from Wolves, saw red five min­utes into the se­cond half for a reck­less tackle on An­thony Grant, and the Ban­tams grabbed their equaliser when Jamie Proc­tor, mak­ing his de­but on loan from Fleet­wood, headed home in the 65tth minute.

Brad­ford boss Phil Parkin­son said:“That char­ac­ter that I al­ways ask for was there. Af­ter the last two games we’ve shown it’s hard to com­pete against ten men and the shoe was on the other foot to­day and we made it hard for Vale. Our fans can see how frus­trat­ing it can be against or­gan­ised and well-drilled sides even with ten men.We were ex­tremely hard to break down.

“We had the set­back of the send­ing-off, but we re­sponded bril­liantly and I’m so pleased we got back in the game. The red card was a poor tackle and I knew it was a send­ing-off.”

The Valiants have lost only once at Vale Park this sea­son and Leitch-Smith got them off to the ideal start, scor­ing af­ter two min­utes. He should have put them two ahead ten min­utes later af­ter JJ Hooper’s shot was par­ried but he fired over from less than five yards.

The clos­est the vis­i­tors came in the first half was when Billy Clarke’s pull-back forced a fin­ger­tip save from Jak Al­nwick.

Five min­utes into the se­cond half and the West York­shire side were re­duced to ten men af­ter Evans lunged two-footed into Grant.

And Proc­tor made them pay 15 min­utes later, con­nect­ing with for­mer Valiant Mark Mar­shall’s weighted cross. Brad­ford came close to snatch­ing three points when a Reece Burke thun­der­bolt in the 69th minute forced a fine save from Al­nwick.

Vale boss Rob Page ad­mit­ted it was a frus­trat­ing af­ter­noon to watch from the side­lines. “We cre­ated enough chances to be out of sight, but we were not ruth­less enough and I’ve said this too many times this sea­son,” he said.

“It feels like a de­feat. We weren’t clin­i­cal enough, and we’ve suf­fered be­cause of that.

“We played into their hands a bit, and it was frus­trat­ing be­cause we don’t have the cen­tre-for­wards to com­pete with their mon­ster cen­tre-halves.

“We will have two new faces join­ing us on Mon­day, a winger and a striker, and they will be faces that will help us to deal with sit­u­a­tions like to­day.”


FEEL THE PAYNE: Jack Payne, who scored Southend’s opener, cel­e­brates with goal hero Ty­rone Bar­nett, cen­tre. In­set, keeper Daniel Bent­ley en­sures a clean sheet STAR MAN



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-SMITH PortVale

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