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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
18:32 26th November 2011

Keds Bradford 2011 640

GILLINGHAM 0-0 BRADFORD CITY

Gillingham left the MEMS Priestfield Stadium disappointed with just a point, when in the dying seconds they could have pinched all three in a 0-0 draw against Bradford City.


Curtis Weston, Stefan Payne and Andy Frampton all nearly scored in stoppage time, but they were left frustrated as Bradford City resisted each effort with tremendous bravery and resilience.


Kyel Reid was the key man for City, and he thought he had set up substitute Nahki Wells for the opener fifteen minutes from time, but the assistant referee raised his flag to rule out the effort.


Ricky Ravenhill also came close for the visitors, but both managers had to settle for a point after a close, hard fought encounter.


Andy Hessenthaler made three changes to the side that beat Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Tuesday evening, with Lewis Montrose, Chris Whelpdale and Dennis Oli all making way for Matt Lawrence, Jo Kuffour and Frank Nouble.


Both on loan strikers were denied permission to play midweek by their parent clubs, but both returned to the starting XI, with Nouble starting wide on the right and Kuffour joined by Danny Kedwell through the middle.


Bradford made as many as five changes to the side that lost at home to Rotherham last weekend, with one notable presence being Michael Flynn who spent over two years at the Priestfield earlier in his career.


As early as the second minute Gillingham had a chance to open the scoring, with Jo Kuffour providing an acrobatic effort at the back post, but unfortunately for the home faithful it struck the woodwork, and the follow up strike from Danny Kedwell was well off target.


Goal mouth action became a rarity over the next fifteen minutes, with both sides doing their utmost to win the midfield battle.


Reid was beginning to work the left hand side with constant regularity, but on the occasions he managed to get a cross into the box, the Gills defence were able to clear their lines.


As the half progressed Bradford seemed the more confident in going forward, and the Gills looked nervous as they attempted to gain a foothold on the match.


Matthew Lawrence received a booking in the 21st minute for a late challenge on Andrew Davies, as the frustration among the players and fans began to grow.


With 28 minutes on the clock Bradford City should have taken the lead. Reid again swung in a fantastic cross from the left hand side, and James Hanson had two bites at the cherry to open the scoring.


His initial header was well saved by Flitney, and he then blazed the follow up into the back row of the stand.


To try and prevent Bradford from gaining the advantage, Hessenthaler pushed Nouble up front with Kuffour and Kedwell to switch to a 4-3-3 formation, and it seemed to work as they began troubling the full-backs of Simon Ramsden and Marcel Seip.


At this stage they seemed slightly more confident, although the visitors were far from rattled and saw out the rest of the half without conceding.


HT: 0-0

The second half began much more eventfully, with Bradford still in the game and looking to record their first away win of the season.


Jack Payne, who was later awarded the `Man of the Match,` and Curtis Weston began brightly in the centre of the park, but clear cut chances remained few and far between in the opening stages.


On 58 minutes, Kedwell put in a great ball to release Nouble on the right hand side, and despite his cross being an inviting one for Kuffour, he was unable to shrug off his marker and the chance went begging.


Bang on the hour mark Gills created yet another chance to get the crowd in full voice. Weston this time proved the provider as he cushioned a header down nicely for Kuffour, but his effort was kept out by the feet of Jon Mclaughlin.


At this stage it was anyone's guess as to who would go away with the points, but both managers were on their feet to urge their players to get forward and claim the all important first goal.


On 68 minutes Frank Nouble swung into action, his run nearly making a goal scoring opportunity, but the referee eventually awarded a free kick after Ravenhill brought down the on loan West Ham striker.


The Bradford midfielder was booked for his troubles, and although Mclaughlin spilled the resulting free kick, he collected at the second time of asking.


Ravenhill soon became the centre of attention at the other end of the pitch after striking well from just inside the box, but the on looking Ross Flitney again watched it go wide, and the on loan Notts County player saw another chance go by without reward.


Bradford did score on 74 minutes, but their celebrations were short lived when the linesman raised his flag to Phil Parkinson's disgust. Kyel Reid crossed well for substitute Nahki Wells, and he had the simple task of putting the ball in an unguarded net.


However he was in an offside position when the ball was played and the score remained 0-0 going into the final 10 minutes.


With the clock ticking the next goal would be prove pivotal, and some of the crowd thought City had it on 83 minutes. Wells again with the chance, and although he beat Flitney, he didn't beat the side netting.


Right at the death there was nearly drama as Weston got the ball to the touchline and crossed in for the awaiting Kuffour and Stefan Payne. Neither could get a touch and this sparked an almighty scramble.


Frampton, Payne and Kuffour all had efforts on target, but somehow the Bradford keeper, with the help of his defence, managed to block every attempt and maintain his clean sheet.


Soon after the full time whistle sounded with both sets of players going off disappointed as it could have gone either way. Ultimately though a draw was a fair result.


The draw means Gills remain unbeaten in their last five games, while Bradford earn a much needed point in their quest to avoid the drop.


FT: 0-0


Gillingham: Flitney, Lawrence, Richards, Frampton, Martin, Nouble (S Payne 85), J Payne, Lee, Weston, Kuffour, Kedwell (Montrose 80)

Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Fish, Oli.


Bradford: Mclaughlin, Ramsden, Flynn, Oliver, Hanson (Wells 70), Hannah, Ravenhill, Reid, Seip, Davies, Fagan.

Unused subs: Mitchell, Moore, Duke, Devitt.


Referee: I. Williamson (Berkshire)

Attendance: 7074 (154 Bradford)

    QUICK FACTS

    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.