The Bantams were denied a second win in a row by Jake Young’s controversial second half equaliser for the league leaders. Bradford fans and players alike were left frustrated after the referee failed to give a number of key decisions to the Bantams in the build up to the equaliser, but nevertheless, a draw was a fair result based on the 90 minutes of football.
After a purposeful and energetic start to the game by the Bantams, Andy Cook put the home side ahead after just 10 minutes. Elliot Watt crossed in a corner ball to Cook, who rose above his man to head home past former City-loanee Luke McGee for his seventh league goal of the campaign.
Bradford kept on the front foot following the opening goal, and almost doubled their lead in the 39th minute. Another Elliot Watt corner was again met by Andy Cook, but this time Cook’s downward header was well saved by McGee to keep his side just one goal behind.
Just before half time, an even better chance was wasted by the Bantams. City were awarded a free kick on the edge of Forest Green’s area, after Levi Sutton was brought down by Baily Cargill after he had travelled at least 50 yards with the ball. Watt stepped up to take the free kick, but saw his low shot blocked. The ball fell to Andy Cook, who had most of the goal to aim at, but he dragged his effort wide of the target from just 10 yards out.
Forest Green were perhaps lucky to only be one goal down, but a double substitution at half-time allowed the visitors to get back into the game. One of those substitutes, Jake Young, picked up the ball inside his own half, and managed to evade challenges from a number of Bradford defenders, and found himself one-on-one with City ‘keeper Richard O’Donnell. Young was able to slot the ball calmly past the onrushing ‘keeper to draw the game level, to the disgust of the 14000 Bradford fans and the Bradford players.
Most inside Valley Parade thought that City should have been awarded a free kick for a challenge to Alex Gilliead in the build-up, with O’Donnell receiving a booking for his reaction towards the referee following the goal.
Despite the controversy surrounding the equaliser, City almost responded perfectly, through the Watt and Cook combination again. Watt’s free kick from the left wing was flicked goalward by Cook, who saw his header rattle against the crossbar, with McGee unable to get a hand to the effort. However, Forest Green were able to clear, with no City player able to fire in the rebound.
With little over 10 minutes remaining, Jack Aitchison, who came on at half-time with goal scorer Jake Young, tried his luck from distance for the visitors. Following some neat passing play inside City’s half, Aitchison found some space, and fired a low shot towards goal, but O’Donnell was able to save comfortably down to his right-hand side.
It seemed that neither side was really willing to risk going for all three points, and the remaining 10 minutes plus added time fizzed out without a real opening for either team. A draw was probably a fair result, given that Bradford had more chances and that Forest Green had more possession. A point for the Bantams keeps them within touching distance of the playoff places, whilst Forest Green remain top. Both sides have a break from league action now, with FA Cup and Papa John’s Trophy action ahead for both teams.