Report: Bradford City 1-1 Millwall

MILLWALL extended their unbeaten run to seven games as they drew 1-1 with Bradford City at Valley Parade on Saturday afternoon.

Both sides hit the crossbar in the first half before Lee Gregory put his side in front five minutes after the break. James Meredith levelled for Bradford in the 60th minute.

Jed Wallace came on for his second Millwall debut but it was Bradford pushing for a late winner and Mark Marshall went closest when he shot wide of Jordan Archer’s post.

Neil Harris changed his side for the first time in seven games and it was an enforced one, with new signing Jake Cooper starting instead of Shaun Hutchinson in Millwall’s defence. Harris’ other new recruit this week, Wallace, was on the bench, with Harry Smith missing out on the match-day squad.

It was Cooper’s first league start since Reading’s 3-1 Championship loss at Blackburn in May and he looks like he will add to Millwall’s set-piece threat in opposition boxes. In the fifth minute he was close to connecting with Shaun Williams’ corner before he was involved in Millwall’s best chance of the half when his header from another Williams delivery was saved and Gregory hit the crossbar from the rebound.

Bradford also hit the woodwork before the break, substitute Dieng – who had come on for the injured Matthew Kilgallon – beating Archer but seeing his header bounce off the top of the crossbar from Meredith’s cross.

Bradford started with a 3-5-2 formation and that initially gave Fred Onyedinma space to attack behind Meredith in the left-wing back position. But the most dangerous player on the pitch in the first half was Marshall, playing just off striker Alex Jones, who started in place of James Hanson after Sheffield United’s bid for the former Millwall target on Friday.

Marshall was a menace, constantly roving in the area in front of Millwall’s defence and behind their midfield. Marshall and Josh Cullen both forced Archer into saves and Jones shot wide at the near post after he had made space for himself in the box. At the other end Bradford’s right-wing back, Tony McMahon, produced an excellent tackle as Aiden O’Brien was about to shoot after Steve Morison had played him through.

Williams fired a shot wide from distance as both continued to create half-chances.

Millwall took the lead in the 50th minute. Shaun Cummings’ cross from the right was headed on by O’Brien to Gregory, who was surrounded by defenders but somehow carved out just enough space to shoot low past Colin Doyle into the far corner for his 11th goal of the season.

Seven minutes later Nicky Law had a chance to level when Cooper’s headed clearance from Meredith’s cross fell to him, but the midfielder failed to properly connect with the ball and Archer gathered possession.

But Bradford did equalise shortly after that when Marshall hit a cross-shot that evaded Archer and Meredith turned the ball home at the back post despite the efforts of Cummings who almost managed to keep the ball out. Bantams fans sensed the momentum was with their side as they urged their players forward, and Cullen was next to threaten but fired a low drive straight at Archer.

Bradford boss Stuart McCall brought on Jordy Hiwula to partner Marshall, and in the 73rd minute Marshall did all the hard work to weave across the box before firing wide of the far post.

Shane Ferguson had come on at the same time as Wallace but Millwall were finding it difficult to get out of their own half as the game entered the last quarter. But when they did they showed how dangerous they are on the break as Morison did well to get his head to Ferguson’s cross but couldn’t direct the ball out of the reach of Doyle.

Archer had to make two stops in quick succession approaching the 80th minute, getting down low to save from Cullen before keeping out Hiwula’s shot at the second attempt.

The result means Bradford are still unbeaten at home in League One since last May's first-leg play-off semi-final loss to the Lions.

Millwall, meanwhile, still haven't lost in 2017 but are five points off the top six.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)