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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Bradford City 1-1 Robins

28 January 2020

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Alfie May's third goal in four appearances earned Cheltenham Town a hard fought point at Valley Parade this evening.

The January signing's strike six minutes from time was no more than Michael Duff's side deserved after a fractious contest in Bradford.

The key moment of the evening arrived on the stroke of half-time when Jamie Devitt picked up his second yellow card in 20 first half minutes to leave the Bantams with a numerical disadvantage for more than half the game.

By that point they had led through Clayton Donaldson's controversial penalty inside the opening 11 minutes at League Two's most imposing venue.

The Robins went on to dominate the second period but the Bantams defended manfully until the late goal that earned a share of the spoils this performance deserved.

The partisan crowd was boisterous throughout and created an atmosphere for a feisty battle in tricky West Yorkshire conditions.

Gary Bowyer's side have struggled of late but four of their last five games have come away from home, where they have a decent record.

Duff made two changes to the side that were defeated by Crewe Alexandra 10 days ago. In came Jake Doyle-Hayes and Tahvon Campbell for Chris Clements and Alex Addai. Luke Varney made a welcome return from injury and took his place on the bench.

The home side are now winless in six matches but they made the early running here after Doyle-Hayes was adjudged to have upended Clayton Donaldson inside 11 minutes.

It certainly looked harsh and replays appeared to show minimal contact but nevertheless the skipper dispatched the penalty with aplomb, cooly sending it down the middle with Owen Evans diving to his left.

The home faithful were roused by their side's strong start and cheered their side into every tackle in the opening exchanges but Cheltenham stuck to their task and grew into the game as the first half progressed.

May shaved the upright on the half-hour, meeting Doyle-Hayes' cross from the left with a decent half-volley but the lively striker missed the target by a better of inches.

Two minutes before the break they fashioned their best chance of the half when Sean Long swapped passes with Connor Thomas on the edge of the box before the Irishman dragged his left footed effort a couple of feet wide of the right post.

The first half had been keenly contested and the referee had already brandished a yellow card to Devitt midway through before a meaty challenge on Charlie Raglan on the stroke of half-time, a tackle that earned the midfielder his marching orders.

Cheltenham then took the game to the Bantams in the second half and dominated the contest for the remaining 45 minutes.

Ben Tozer was pushed into a more advanced position after the restart and saw a dipping volley travel wide in the open exchanges of the second half.

Luke Varney was also pressed into action, replacing Campbell in the 54th minute and almost scored with his first touch but Luke McGee saved the effort from a tight angle. Alex Addai came on for Thomas a couple of moments later

But despite having almost all of the possession the first real chance fell 10 minutes from the end when Doyle-Hayes curled one from 18 yards out, an effort easily held by McGee.

The Robins though were level with six minutes to play through May's goal and it was no more than they deserved. Max Sheaf called McGee into a smart stop but the diminutive striker was on hand to lash the loose ball home from a tight angle.

Luke Varney and Sheaf had chances deep into injury time to claim all the points but neither really tested the Bradford number one and the spoils were therefore shared.

BRADFORD CITY (4-4-2): McGee; Mellor (Henley 59), O'Connor, Richards-Everton, Wood; McCartan (Taylor 62), Cooke, Devitt; Connolly, Donaldson (c) (Oteh 62). Subs not used: Sykes-Kenworthy (Gk), Pritchard, Reeves, Patrick.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Evans; Raglan, Tozer (c), Greaves; Long (Boyle 86), Doyle-Hayes, Thomas (Addai 66), Sheaf, Hussey; May, Campbell (Varney 54). Subs not used: Lapworth (Gk), Clements, Debayo, Ince.

REFEREE: S Stockbridge

ATTENDANCE:  12,731 (126 from Cheltenham)


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