FULL-TIME REPORT: Stevenage 1 Bradford City 1
- Credit: Archant
Greg Tansey scores from the spot but City hit back with a second-half equaliser
Stevenage 1 Bradford City 1
Sky Bet League 1
Stevenage were held to their first draw of the season as Kyle Reid’s second-half free-kick cancelled out Greg Tansey’s penalty here at the Lamex Stadium.
Boro were by far the better of the two sides in an enthralling first half, but a more even second period and a superb strike from Reid sent the Bantams home with a share of the spoils.
Stevenage made two changes from the side that ran Everton close midweek. Tansey and Jordan Burrow came in for Jimmy Smith, who dropped to the bench, and Darius Charles, who is going to be out of action for a few weeks with ankle ligament damage.
Robin Shroot, playing just behind Burrow, had the first chance on goal. The playmaker picked up the ball 25 yards out before cutting inside and firing just wide of Jon McLaughlin’s left hand post.
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Luke Freeman also had an early chance, but his effort was off target, before the winger fired over after being teed up by Shroot.
The same two players were then involved in the build up to the penalty.
A good move up the right saw a ball sent into the Stevenage area where Shroot was unmarked. Taking a touch to set himself up, the ball rolled into the path of Freeman who took the ball past a defender before seeing his shot hit the blocking Gary Jones.
The referee pointed to the spot for handball, and Tansey did the rest by sending McLoughlin the wrong way to put Boro ahead.
Boro then caught Bradford napping as a quick free-kick saw Shroot get in behind the City defence before the midfielder forced a fingertip save out of McLaughlin.
Stevenage had another penalty shout moments later when Dunne’s shot was blocked on the line by Nathan Doyle, but though the Boro players claimed handball the referee thought otherwise.
City then had their best chance of the half, Wells sliding in on to the end of a cross in from the left but firing over, before Reid tried his luck from 20 yards but also failed to kick his shot down.
There were further chances for Boro as both Jon Ashton and Shroot forced saves out of McLaughlin before the referee blew for half-time.
The second half was just two minutes old when City pulled level. Reid was the scorer with a superb free-kick, bending it over the wall and past Day from 25 yards.
Roarie Deacon almost hit back immediately, cutting inside and firing wide of goal with a drilled, low effort.
There were fewer chances of note in the first 20 minutes following the interval as both defences held firm before Boro made changes with Oumare Tounkara coming on for Burrow with 25 minutes remaining and Dani Lopez soon following, replacing Tansey.
Nahki Wells forced a fine save out of Chris Day in the Stevenage goal with an overhead kick, while Tounkara went close to opening his Stevenage account with 13 minutes of the match remaining.
Marauding up from left-back, Deacon floated past two players before playing the ball into the unmarked striker. City defenders were quickly upon him, but he turned his man and fired low. Half of the crowd were on their feet celebrating but McLoughlin got his fingertips on it to turn the shot wide of goal.
There was a further chance for Freeman, the winger stinging the palms of McLaughlin, while at the death Bradford had the majority of the possession in the five minutes of added time.
A Nahki Wells overhead kick, his second of the half, went over, but that aside Bradford failed to force their way through the Stevenage back line.
Next up for Boro is a trip to Tranmere Rovers next Saturday.
Stevenage: Day, Deacon, Gray, Ashton, Hartley, Freeman, Tansey (Lopez 74), Dunne, Doughty (Smith 85), Shroot, Burrow (Tounkara 66). Subs: Arnold, Jones, Heslop, Haber.
Bradford City: McLaughlin, Darby, Meredith, Davies, Reid (Yeates 83), Hanson, Thompson (Ravenhill 72), Jones, Wells, McArdle, Doyle (De Vita 72). Subs: Ripley, Taylor, McHugh, Connell.
Ref: G Sutton