Gills leave it late to clinch a point against BradfordAntonio German came off the bench to rescue a point for Gillingham in a 1-1 draw against Bradford at the Coral Windows Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The striker netted his second goal of the season from close range in the dying moments following Brennan Dickenson’s corner, cancelling out Leon Legge’s unfortunate own goal on 56 minutes.
Peter Taylor made three changes to the side that beat Leyton Orient 3-2 in dramatic fashion last time out with Danny Kedwell, Jermaine McGlashan and the suspended Michael Doughty replaced by the returning Kortney Hause, Bradley Dack and Cody McDonald.
Bradford started former Premier League striker Jon Stead up front, with target man James Hanson providing options from the bench.
The game got off to a lively start with Billy Clarke’s low cross from the left just evading contact at the far post before McDonald produced a great finish to beat Jordan Pickford, but the flag went up immediately following Dickenson’s pass to rule out an early breakthrough.
Stead curled an effort wide of the far post on 13 minutes before Gavin Hoyte was unlucky not to do better when his right footed effort inside the box, following a through ball from McDonald, was hit straight at Pickford.
Both sides had half chances to try and open the scoring but neither keeper was overly tested – Bradford had a succession of corners on 25 minutes which the Gills defended well, before Dack tried his luck with a left footed 30 yard volley which went narrowly over the crossbar.
A few minutes later and Legge very nearly added another goal to his ever growing tally. Dickenson provided a great cross to the back post and the defender climbed above his marker and sent a header just wide of the left hand post.
That missed chance nearly proved costly with substitute Billy Knott striking the woodwork soon after.
Stead found some space on the right and did well to hold the ball up before finding the sub whose right foot shot from just inside the box was saved by the fingertips of Nelson before hitting the post.
The former Blackburn striker had a goal disallowed just before the interval when his header at the back post following Mark Yeates’ cross was deemed to be offside.
Bradford stormed out of the blocks in the second half and after enjoying plenty of possession took the lead on 56 minutes.
Hause slipped on the edge of the area allowing Halliday to drive into the area, his cross from the right fell into the stride of Legge who was unable to divert his clearance beyond the frame of the goal.
The centre-back was desperately unlucky not to clear his lines having had so little time to react, and it gave the hosts the impetus to go and get a second.
Mark Yeates had an effort saved by Nelson before the keeper did well to get contact on a shot from Stead inside the box which struck the post and clear to safety.
The Gills number one getting his right leg to the effort which proved enough to prevent an almost certain winning goal.
This proved pivotal as the visitors rallied and began to put City under increasing pressure. The introduction of German and Danny Kedwell had a positive impact on the team and with seconds left to play Gillingham got their reward.
Dickenson whipped in a cross from the right, Legge guided the ball back across goal and German was in the right place at the right time to find the net and guarantee Taylor’s men a point.
However Jermaine McGlashan was also in the box and may have got the final touch to claim the goal. *
Bradford had little time after the restart before the referee brought the game to a close, ensuring Gills remained outside the bottom four.
Bradford: Pickford, Darby, Meredith, Davies, Liddle, Clarke (Routis 18), Yeates, Stead (Hanson 69), Morais (Knott 18), McArdle, Halliday
Unused subs: Williams, Sheehan, Kennedy, Zoko
Gills: Nelson, Hoyte, Egan, Hause (German 68), Legge, Chicksen, Loft, Hessenthaler, Dack (Kedwell 81), Dickenson, McDonald (McGlashan 68)
Unused subs: G Morris, Pritchard, Linganzi, Norris.
Referee: Mr S Duncan
Attendance: 12,434 (203 Gills)
* official goal scorer to be confirmed.