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17:05 24th March 2012

Montrose celebrates his debut goal


The Gills let slip a two goal lead to leave the Coral Windows Stadium with just a point following a 2-2 draw against Bradford City.

Lewis Montrose and a Simon Ramsden own goal had put the visitors ahead, but Bradford came storming back and claimed a point following goals from Nahki Wells and James Hanson - the latter effort causing a lot of controversy with the referee over ruling a decision by his linesman.

The hosts nearly stole the winner right at the death, but for the third time in the game they were denied a goal thanks to the offside flag.

Andy Hessenthaler chose to make four changes to the side that lost to Crawley during the week - Andy Frampton returned to partner Connor Essam in the centre of defence at the expense of Simon King who dropped to the bench.

Joe Martin filled in at left back as Danny Jackman was given licence to push forward into midfield.

Lewis Montrose and Jo Kuffour were also named in place of Olly Lee and Danny Kedwell, the latter missing out through injury.

New signing Rowan Vine had to make do with a place on the substitute's bench as he continues to regain match fitness after signing on loan from Queens Park Rangers.

Daren Hawkes was left out of the squad altogether.

Bradford made just one alteration to their team. Craig Fagan returned to the side in place of Deane Smalley who was among the subs.

The Gills lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Kuffour playing the role of the lone striker, and Jack Payne playing a deeper position in midfield to protect the back four.

However Bradford began the stronger of the two sides as they enjoyed a series of corner kicks in the first six minutes.

However Paulo Gazzaniga was untroubled and was eventually able to get the ball away from danger to prevent an unwanted early goal.

Andrew Davies nearly gave the home side the lead in the 14th minute, but his header was off target.

The early exchanges were rather cagey with both sets of players unwilling to relinquish possession easily - the Bantams perhaps shading it slightly in terms of opportunities.

On 23 minutes the first meaningful chance was created. Kyel Reid got the better of Matt Fish down the left hand side and he crossed in the direction of Chris Dagnall - the striker did his best to hit the target but it was slightly behind him and he could only direct his header wide.

The miss proved costly as the Gills took the lead a couple of minutes later. Kuffour picked the ball up just outside the box, and instead of using the over lapping Martin he crossed himself and Montrose was on hand to guide the ball into the bottom corner.

The midfielder had been banned for the previous two games but marked his return in the best possible to way to put the Gills in a good position.

Bradford nearly equalized straight away. Reid delivered a top cross to the far post and James Hanson poked the ball beyond Gazzaniga to seemingly bring the scores level.

However the celebrations proved premature as the linesman had already flagged to deem him offside.

On 33 minutes Jordan Obita let fly with a free kick from 25 yards out. He stung the palms of keeper Jon McLaughlin, but the stopper got both fists behind it and he was able to get it clear of danger.

Lee Bullock tried his luck on 38 minutes with a long range effort before Chris Whelpdale saw his volley inside the box go a couple of yards over the bar.

Jackman had an opportunity just before the break, but on his weaker foot he sliced his effort and could only find a member of the crowd.

H/T: 0-1

Bradford came flying out of the blocks after the interval with Hanson and David Syers - on for Ricky Ravenhill - both having efforts within the first few minutes.

In the 51st minute Essam put his body on the line to prevent Hanson levelling the scores.

A cross from the right found the striker in space, and despite striking it well it was deflected over the bar and out for a corner - Martin receiving some treatment in the process for an earlier tackle.

A few minutes later and the Gills were two up. Kuffour found a bit of space in the middle of the park and surged forward - he noticed the run of Obita to his left and attempted to play him in.

Ramsden was aware of the impending danger and intercepted the pass, but in doing so he knocked the ball beyond the advancing McLaughin in the Bradford goal and in to an unguarded net.

The defender's intervention was needed with Obita waiting to pounce, but a lack of communication cost the hosts and the frustration was clear among the fans as they voiced their disappointment.

Nahki Wells entered the action in the 61st minute and had the ball in the net with his very first touch.

He brilliantly placed the ball beyond Gazzaniga, and with most of the stadium believing the deficit had been reduced, they hadn't noticed the offside flag had been raised for a second time in the game to cancel out the goal.

Chris Dagnall struck just moments later, and with the ball veering mid-air Gazzaniga did well to shift his body weight and parry the ball wide. Wells came close soon after but the goalkeeper claimed comfortably.

On 71 minutes Bradford did finally get their goal that their pressure and play deserved. Kyel Reid crossed from the right hand side and Wells rose highest to place his header beyond Gazzaniga and give the hosts a much needed lifeline.

The Bantams camped out in the Gills half for the next 10 minutes but struggled to create a clear cut chance to level up at 2-2.

Dennis Oli was brought on for Jordan Obita to act as target man, with Rowan Vine coming on shortly afterwards to make his debut as Kuffour departed.

On 82 minutes the game was thrown into controversy as the referee gave Bradford their equalizer despite the assistant having flagged for offside. A cross to the far post was nodded back in and Hanson finished it off.

A player tried to flick the ball in beyond Gazzaniga, but he missed it and the initial shot crept past the goalkeeper.

The flag had gone up and the Bradford players rushed over to the linesman to plead their case as the player had not made contact, although the Gills defence were adamant he was activr as he attempted to strike goalwards.

The referee soon joined and after a lengthy conversation Scott Mathieson awarded the goal with Andy Hessenthaler fuming in the dugout.

The rest of the game saw Bradford endlessly try to force a winner with the Gills seemingly unable to create anything themselves.

They did win a free kick in stoppage time in a dangerous position - Montrose nearly got his second but struck in to the side netting.

Bradford had another goal disallowed with just seconds on the clock due to a foul on Gazzaniga. However the whistle had already gone prior to the effort.

The second Bradford goal was the big talking point of the game with the referee over turning a decision for offside. The Gills boss voiced his thoughts at the final whistle.

F/T: 2-2

Bradford: McLaughlin, Ramsden (Wells 61), Fry, Oliver, Hanson, Ravenhill (c) (Syers 46), Dagnall, Bullock, Reid, Davies, Fagan.

Unused subs: Annerson, Smalley, Wells, Kozluk.

Gills: Gazzaniga, Fish, Essam, Frampton, Martin, Whelpdale, J Payne, Obita (Oli 73), Jackman, Montrose Kuffour (Vine 78).

Unused subs: King, Miller, O Lee.

Referee: S Mathieson

Attendance: 9,858 (209 Gills)

Bookings: Fry (80), Fish (90)

Goals: Montrose (25), Ramsden og (55), Wells (71), Hanson (82)


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