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Report | Bradford City 2-2 Gillingham

Oli Hawkins comes off the bench to score a dramatic late equaliser against promotion chasing Bradford.

22 April 2023

Match Reports

Report | Bradford City 2-2 Gillingham

Oli Hawkins comes off the bench to score a dramatic late equaliser against promotion chasing Bradford.

22 April 2023

Gills strike late to secure a point at Bradford.

Oli Hawkins scored in the final minute of stoppage time to earn Gillingham a well-deserved point against Bradford in a 2-2 draw at the University of Bradford Stadium.

Cheye Alexander’s corner into the penalty area fell for the forward, who prodded the ball into the far bottom corner, sending the 353 travelling supporters home happy.

Gills took the lead in the 12th minute through Tim Dieng. The midfielder capitalised on a misplaced pass and broke forward towards the Bradford penalty area. He did well to hold off a defender before drilling a low-driven effort across the goal and beyond Harry Lewis.

Andy Cook brought The Bantams back level three minutes into the second half. He managed to squeeze his header beyond Glenn Morris, following Liam Ridehalgh’s cross.

Cook scored his second in the 84th minute from the penalty spot. Robbie McKenzie brought Scott Banks down inside the box, and the referee awarded the penalty. Cook stepped up and sent Morris the wrong way as he drilled his effort into the bottom corner.

Neil Harris made one change to the side that beat Leyton Orient 2-0 in midweek, as Ethan Coleman started in the place of Shaun Williams, who missed out. Josh Chambers was named among the substitutes after being recalled by Worthing, while Tristan Abrahams returned to the matchday squad.

Gills started the game on the front foot, and Coleman had a good opportunity inside the penalty area. Tom Nichols did well to shrug off a defender on the left before playing it to Dom Jefferies, who played it to Alex MacDonald. He could not set his feet as the ball went back to Coleman, who saw his shot deflected wide for a corner, which came to nothing.

Nichols continued to cause Bradford issues as his pressure caused a mix-up at the back for Bradford. The ball was about to fall for George Lapslie to put into the back of the net, but Harry Lewis recovered well to slide the ball out of play for a corner.

Max Ehmer was on the line to deny Andy Cook in the tenth minute. The ball was pulled back for Cook, who shot from around 12 yards. The shot had beaten Glenn Morris but not Ehmer, who was there to clear away.

Moments later, Gillingham took the lead through Tim Dieng. The midfielder took advantage of a defensive error and made his way towards the Bradford box. Dieng did well to hold off a defender before shooting across the goal from a tight angle and found the bottom corner with a low-driven effort.

Gills continued to cause the visitors problems with a high-press as they caught them out from playing out the back. Dom Jefferies put pressure on a player to win the ball and Dieng received the ball on the edge of the penalty area. He tried to drag a left-footed effort into the bottom corner, but it went wide of the post.

Thierry Nevers had a good opportunity to equalise in the 21st minute. Scott Banks curled a corner towards the six-yard box, and Nevers got his head on it. Fortunately, it cleared the crossbar.

MacDonald had a corner cleared off the line in the 26th minute as the Gills almost scored a second. The visitors had a corner from the left, which MacDonald curled towards the goal. Lewis was in no man's land, as it appeared that it could find its way into the back of the net. However, a Bradford defender was on hand to head off the line.

Gillingham had another good opportunity to score in the 40th minute. Jefferies did brilliantly bursting down the right and getting to the byline before cutting it back for Nichols. The forward saw his shot blocked before Bradford cleared the loose ball.

It went as far as Cheye Alexander, who curled a left-footed effort goalward from 20 yards. However, Lewis was left untroubled as it cleared the goal.


HALF-TIME: Bradford City 0-1 Gillingham


Three minutes into the second half, Cook brought Bradford back level. Ridehalgh delivered a cross from the left towards the back post, where Cook’s towering header squeezed into the corner beyond Morris.

Jamie Walker came close to giving the hosts the lead after good work from Nevers, who cut the ball back for Walker. He tried curling his effort towards the far post, but it went wide of the goal.

Robbie McKenzie had a good opportunity in the 63rd minute. After some good link-up play just inside the Bradford half, Nichols played it for McKenzie, who ran forward. The left-back did brilliantly to evade multiple tackles as he made his way into the penalty area. He got a shot away with his left foot, but the oncoming Lewis made the save.

Morris denied Banks shortly afterwards. Bradford got into the Gillingham box as Cook played a one-two with Walker. Walker took a heavy touch but managed to recover the situation by playing it back for Banks. However, his powerful effort was pushed over for a corner by Morris.

Richie Smallwood had a great chance in the 72nd minute. The Bantams caught Gillingham on the break, and Emmanuel Osadebe made his into the penalty area. The ball was lofted up in the air, and Morris managed to punch it clear. However, it only went as far as Smallwood, who drilled a powerful effort goalward from 15 yards. It went over the crossbar, thanks to a slight deflection.

In the 83rd minute, Bradford were awarded a penalty. The ball bounced inside the penalty area as McKenzie and Banks challenged for the ball, and McKenzie was judged to have caught Banks in the challenge, as the referee pointed to the spot.

Cook took the spot kick and kept his cool, as he drilled his effort into the bottom left corner, sending Morris the wrong way.

In the 85th minute, Gills made a double substitution. Jayden Clarke replaced Coleman as he made his Gillingham debut, while David Tutonda replaced McKenzie.

Nichols came close to giving the Gills an immediate response. Hawkins flicked the ball into the path of Nichols, who tried his luck from over 25 yards. His low-driven effort was directed towards the bottom corner, but Lewis got across to push it behind the post.

Moments later, Nichols had an even better chance as Lewis pulled off an incredible save. Tutonda and Clarke linked up down the left before the former played the ball into the box. It found the head of Nichols, who directed his header towards the near post. It looked like it could sneak into the back of the net, but Lewis got across to push it wide of the goal.

In the final minute of stoppage time Oli Hawkins, who was a second-half substitute, equalised. Alexander curled his corner in from the left, and it fell to Hawkins, who poked the ball towards the far corner and into the back of the net.


FULL-TIME: Bradford City 2-2 Gillingham


Bradford City: Lewis, Halliday, Stubbs, Crichlow, Ridehalgh, Gilliead, Smallwood, Banks (Platt 90’), Walker (Derbyshire 90’), Nevers (Osadebe 62’), Cook

Unused Substitutes: Doyle, Bola, East, Costelloe


Gillingham: Morris, Alexander, Ehmer, Masterson, McKenzie (Tutonda 85’), Dieng, Coleman (Clarke 85’), Jefferies, Lapslie, MacDonald (Hawkins 73’), Nichols

Unused Substitutes: Turner, Wright, Chambers, Abrahams


Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Attendance: 18,501 (353 Gillingham supporters)

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