BANTAMS BEGGING FOR GOALS
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.”
HAMMER BLOW: Jordy Hiwula powers home a thunderous equaliser for Bradford
OPENER: Walsall celebrate the first goal
STAR MAN NEIL ETHERIDGE Walsall