The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beardmore

BRAD­FORD boss Stuart McCall believes his goal­shy Ban­tams are head­ing in the right di­rec­tion de­spite be­ing held at Wal­sall.

The Ban­tams’ pro­mo­tion tilt is be­ing built on the sec­ond most miserly back-line in League One – with only top-six ri­vals Bolton boast­ing a bet­ter goals against record.

But no team in the top half has scored fewer than Brad­ford, who wasted sev­eral chances to see off Wal­sall and were grate­ful to Jordy Hi­wula for earn­ing them a point.

McCall said: “We worked their keeper, we did bet­ter in that re­spect. We got a lot more shots off.

“And we made a pos­i­tive change at half-time, tak­ing Stephen Darby off and throw­ing Marc McNulty on.

“We played with four strik­ers a lot of the sec­ond half. We went all out to win the game. It was just dis­ap­point­ing we didn’t.

“Ef­fort and de­sire-wise, we were fully com­mit­ted but we prob­a­bly just didn’t show enough care in the fi­nal third late on.

“We got a bit too des­per­ate be­cause of how much we wanted to win the game.”

And McCall knows his team – front and back – will have to be at their best for their next test, a Boxing Day cracker at home to lead­ers Scun­thorpe.

He added: “We will have a cou­ple days’ re­cu­per­a­tion but what a game to go back to.

“It should be a great at­mos­phere and hope­fully we can get the best present of all with three points.”

Brad­ford could have led four min­utes in as a low cross reached Mark Mar­shall at the far post and he lashed in a shot that was in­stinc­tively – and su­perbly – tipped over by Wal­sall keeper Neil Etheridge.

The keeper made a su­perb low save to foil Cullen’s 20yarder early in the sec­ond half and Wal­sall then went ahead two min­utes later, Isa­iah Os­bourne drilling home from 15 yards.

Hi­wula net­ted a for­tu­nate lev­eller, tuck­ing into an empty net af­ter be­ing foiled one-on-one by Etheridge but be­ing gifted the ball back by a freak ric­o­chet off de­fender Matt Pre­ston.

How­ever, Wal­sall had the best chances to win it, City keeper Colin Doyle deny­ing Simeon Jack­son and then push­ing a well-struck Ja­son McCarthy piledriver onto the cross­bar.

The Saddlers’ sea­son could still go ei­ther way but boss Jon Whit­ney hopes this re­sult will spark an up­turn af­ter one win in eight. Whit­ney said: “We have 25 games to make this a mem­o­rable sea­son still. “I thought we cre­ated some re­ally good chances and lim­ited them, more or less, to just a cou­ple. “We might have got the win­ner at the end but the per­for­mance was re­ally pleas­ing and I’ll take the point to move for­ward. “It was im­por­tant that we got some ex­pe­ri­ence and en­ergy on the pitch.

“Brad­ford are a good team but I thought, man for man, we out­matched them.

“We’ve built some step­ping stones mov­ing for­ward.”

PIC­TURES: An­drew Eard­ley

HAMMER BLOW: Jordy Hi­wula pow­ers home a thun­der­ous equaliser for Brad­ford

OPENER: Wal­sall cel­e­brate the first goal


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.