HOPKIN BLASTS ‘DANGER PITCH’
NAT Knight-Percival earned a replay for Bradford City in conditions boss David Hopkin labelled “dangerous”.
The Bantams defender headed in a leveller to deny Non-League Aldershot, who had led through George Fowler’s first-half goal.
It ruled out a shock on a day where the biggest surprise was the game finMannion’s ishing, with the whole clash played on a saturated pitch with standing water.
“I think it’s dangerous,” Bradford boss David Hopkin said. “You didn’t know where the ball was going to go. The ball was getting stuck in puddles. Even though it was in their half of the pitch, we couldn’t get anything going because every time we got down the side of them it got stuck in a puddle.
“It was horrendous conditions but the players stuck at it and managed to score a fantastic header from Nat to get the game level. We should have won the game but you’re always waiting for a mistake on a pitch like this.”
Aldershot manager Gary Waddock said: “The game could have been called off during the second half but credit to the officials and the ground staff for getting the game finished.”
The extent of the deluge quickly became evident when an early Aldershot attack was stopped in its tracks by the water. But referee Paul Marsden was clearly happy for the match to carry on.
Aldershot started brightly and Matt McClure looked certain to put them ahead after eight minutes when he danced in behind the defence but his attempt to shape a shot into the bottom corner was off target. The home fans only had to wait four more minutes for the breakthrough. Fowler escaped his man to cushion Adam McDonnell’s corner into the net, via a deflection off Bradford’s Ryan McGowan.
It was the last thing League One side Bradford needed. On the back of seven defeats on the spin in all competitions, the game was starting to look like the banana skin many predicted.
But they reacted well. Eoin Doyle was denied by Will legs before the keeper pushed away a low drive from Connor Wood.
George Miller slipped the ball wide when he got in behind and Doyle should have done better when he flicked Jack Payne’s excellent clipped ball off target.
It was hearts in mouths time when Mannion spilled Wood’s long-range shot before diving back at full-stretch to paw the ball off the line and keep Aldershot ahead.
The Shots stopper then tipped Lewis O’Brien’s effort over the bar but, from the corner, the Bantams levelled. Payne whipped in a centre and Knight-Percival powered in an equaliser with his head.
BIG MOMENT: George Fowler puts Aldershot ahead TUSSLE: Shots’ Adam McDonnell, left, and Bradford’s Eoin Doyle battle for the ball