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Match Reports

Bradford City vs. Southend United

29 March 2013

Blues draw 2-2 at Valley Parade

Phil Brown’s first game in charge of Blues ended in a draw as Bradford came from 2-0 down to earn a share of the spoils at Valley Parade.

Gavin Tomlin marked his first start since Chesterfield away with an early goal before 97 second later Britt Assombalonga doubled Blues’ advantage from close range.

Zavon Hines pulled a goal back five minutes into the second-half before James Hanson bundled the ball home to earn his side a point late on.

Phil Brown made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Plymouth a week-and-a-half ago as Tomlin, Luke Prosser and Paul Smith were all recalled.

And Blues’ new manager could hardly have wished for a better start to life in the Roots Hall hot seat as goals from Tomlin and then Britt Assombalonga have Blues a 2-0 lead inside ten minutes.

First, Kevan Hurst’s free-kick into the box wasn’t dealt with and after Bilel Mohsni’s shot had come back off the post, Tomlin kneed the ball into an empty net.

Two minutes later and Blues had doubled their lead. Tomlin chipped the ball over the Bradford defence for the onrushing Sean Clohessy to latch onto. The defender’s low cross was perfect for Assombalonga who tapped home.

Bradford were stunned, but almost immediately pulled a goal back. Kyel Reid’s free-kick from 25-yards crashed off the crossbar before Luke Prosser’s goal line clearance denied James Hanson a goal from the rebound.

Clear cut chances after that were few and far between as both sides did their best to deal with a swirling wind.

Blues had defended well in the opening half, but with just over five minutes gone in the second they were caught out as Hines expertly volleyed past Smith to bring the home side back into the game.

The home crowd had been lifted and they were almost celebrating an equaliser in the 68th minute when Garry Thompson turned well on the edge of the box but saw his strike go just over the bar.

Blues were still looking a threat on the counter and had three chances in the space of two minutes to double their lead. 

First, substitute Matt Lund shot wide from 25-yards before Tomlin saw a powerful strike palmed away by Jon McLaughlin.

Lund then had another chance this time from 20-yards but saw the effort comfortably saved by McLaughlin.

It was Tamika Mkandawire who as next to go close for Blues. Tomlin fed the ball through for the midfielder who struck the ball across McLaughlin but saw his effort come back off the post.

Bradford were pressing for an equaliser and but for some excellent defensive work from Assombalonga and Mohsni, they might’ve been level.

Substitute Alan Connell then saw his effort from 20-yards comfortably saved by Smith despite an awkward bounce.

And with their next attack, Bradford were level. Substitute Nahki Wells chipped the ball to the back post where it was met by Hanson who bundled it home.

Bradford were looking for a winner and Wells thought he’d won it when he cut inside and curled one goalwards, but was denied by an excellent save from Smith.

Smith was then called into action again minutes later as Will Atkinson’s strike deflected off Cresswell and look destined for the bottom corner, only for the Blues keeper to tip it behind.

Blues: Smith; Clohessy, Cresswell, Prosser, Straker; Hurst, Mkandawire, Mohsni (Eastwwod), Reeves (Lund); Assombalonga (Corr), Tomlin.

Subs not used : Bentley, Leonard, Laird, Spillane.

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