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Match Report: Bradford City 1 Walsall 1

The Saddlers were back in League Two action on Tuesday evening as they faced Bradford City at Valley Parade.
Heading into the match on the back of Saturday's goalless draw with Exeter City, Darrell Clarke's side were looking to extend their unbeaten run in the league as they made the trip to West Yorkshire to face Stuart McCall's Bantams.

It was Darrell Clarke's Walsall who got the game underway but Stuart McCall's hosts who enjoyed much of the early possession as they looked to find any gaps in the Saddlers' 4-4-2 formation.

The first effort of note came the way of the Saddlers as Elijah Adebayo saw a looping header fall into the arms of former Walsall stopper Richard O'Donnell. Nothing too troubling but a positive start to the contest.

City's first chance arrived via a dangerous Dylan Mottley-Henry cross which went across the face of goal before Harry Pritchard saw a deflected effort go over Liam Roberts' crossbar. The resulting corner came to nothing as Lee Novak looked for make something out of nothing.

The half continued and saw both sides prod and probe in search of the game's opening goal, though not creating anything of note with much of the play taking place in the middle of the park. The home side probably taking the lion share of the ball.

Despite the lull in proceedings, the Saddlers would go on to take the lead as on-loan Bristol City defender George Nurse unleashed a thunderbolt from twenty-five yards to put his new side into the lead.

The goal coming after Nurse had picked up the ball inside his own half before driving up the field and unleashing an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner of O'Donnell's goal. A superb way to open the scoring.

Buoyed by their opening goal, the Saddlers soon went in search of another as Rory Holden found Adebayo in space before the former Fulham man sent a powerful effort towards goal, the strike forcing O'Donnell to produce a strong save to keep the score at one-nil.

Back at the other end and the home side were looking for a leveller as Harry Pritchard saw a deflected effort held by Roberts, who was looking to maintain his clean-sheet, which would be the second such achievement in two games.

City continued to push for a goal of their own and went close once again after thirty-minutes of play as, following some sloppy play in midfield, Mottley-Henry found some space on the edge of the Walsall area before sending a left-footed effort just over the bar.

The Bantams were soon back on the attack and, after a long ball over the top found Lee Novak in space, the experienced striker saw the ball stolen off his toes just before he was about to take a shot. Lucky for the Reds who were caught out by the initial pass.

Following a break in play as Clayton Donaldson recieved treatment, the Saddlers saw a James Clarke header curl well over the bar. The defender getting on the end of Danny Guthrie's free-kick as he looked to put his side further into the lead.

There were no further goals or chances of note as the Saddlers reached the break with a welcome one-nil lead.

-
HT
-
BRADFORD
0 - 1
WALSALL

The home side made a change ahead of kick-off as Bryce Hosannah was replaced by Tyler French. The Bantams adding some fresh legs as they looked to get themselves back on level terms.

The first effort of the half was created by the home side as Elliot Watt's swinging corner, which was awarded as Pritchard forced the Saddlers' backline into action, was easily claimed by Liam Roberts in the Walsall goal.

Bradford continued to push for a goal of their own and forced another corner which was taken by Connor Wood who sent in a swinging effort towards the far post where Anthony O'Connor failed to get a good enough connection as his header drifted wide.

City created a couple more openings; the first, a Clayton Donaldson effort which failed to trouble the 'keeper, and the second being a Donaldson-assisted Mottley-Henry cross, which was cut out before Lee Novak could get to it.

Donaldson continued to be an issue for the Saddlers' backline and almost found himself in behind but the referee pulled play back as the striker was adjudged to have committed a foul as he broke through. Another lucky break for the men in white.

The home side went close to putting the game back on level terms a couple of minutes after the match reached the hour mark as Novak found Donaldson in space giving the experienced man time to curl an effort towards the far corner of goal where Roberts was able to pull of a superb save.

The resulting corner saw the Bantams have another effort as Anthony O'Connor headed the ball back across goal before Novak's sent a powerful header straight into the hands of a relieved Liam Roberts.

McCall's men were soon back on the attack and saw Mottley-Henry swing in a cross to the back post which Connor Wood headed wide of the goal as Rory Holden, playing in a defensive position as the Saddlers were looking to defend against another Bantams attack, tried his best to beat his man to the ball.

Bradford then went on to make their second change of the game as Harry Pritchard was replaced by Billy Clarke, an attacking change from the home side as they looked to double down on their control of the contest.

With just over twenty-minutes of the half remaining the hosts continued their push for an equaliser as Tyler French lashed in a cross which Novak was able to get on the end of but ultimately unable to make the most of as James Clarke blocked the ball behind. The resulting corner had too much on it and was wasted.

The home side were handed a golden opportunity to level the scores with fifteen minutes of the game remaining as Connor Wood was felled by Liam Roberts inside the area. The resulting spot-kick was taken by substitute Billy Clarke, who happily slipped the ball home.

The Saddlers reacted to the goal by making their first change of the contest as veteran Danny Guthrie was replaced by Alfie Bates in midfield.

Walsall's few minutes of woe continued as Hayden White became the first player to receive a booking as he pulled Donaldson back when he looked to break. A cynical foul from the former Mansfield man.

Bradford, now going in search of a goal which could secure them the points, went close once again as Ben Richards-Everton headed the ball back across goal from a Connor Wood corner as substitute Kurtis Guthrie was just inches away from finding the back of the net.

Walsall went on to make their second change of the game as Caolan Lavery was replaced by Deadline Day loan signing Jake Scrimshaw as the AFC Bournemouth man was given his first taste of football in a Saddlers shirt.

City's push for another goal continued as Richards-Everton sent a header back across goal where it evaded a couple of his teammates before Elliot Watt smashed the ball high and wide from distance. 

A short while later the Saddlers made their third and final change as Emmanuel Osadebe took the place of Wes McDonald in attack.

Referee Andy Haines saw fit to add four minutes to the end of the second-half but there were no further goals as the sides each took a point for their endeavours, the Saddlers maintaining their unbeaten run in the process.

-
FT
-
BRADFORD
1 - 1
WALSALL
Clarke [P] (76')
Nurse (23')
VENUE
Valley Parade
REFEREE
Andy Haines

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