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Bradford City 1 Gillingham 1

Gillingham striker Cody McDonald Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gillingham striker Cody McDonald Picture: Barry Goodwin

Cody McDonald's second-half equaliser secured a 1-1 draw for Gillingham at Bradford on Saturday afternoon.

He struck minutes 10 after the break from Adebayo Akinfenwa's flick to earn another precious point in the fight for League 1 survival.

Midfielder Steven Gregory fell ill on Friday night and was replaced in the starting line-up by Amine Linganzi, while Craig Fagan and Joe Pigott came in for Charlie Lee and Adebayo Akinfenwa as Peter Taylor made three changes to the team who beat Coventry 4-2.

Bradford made the better start and took the lead on 10 minutes when the excellent Adam Reach released Adam Drury down the left for a cross which was met first time by Aaron McLean at the near post.

City fans in the huge two-tier stand behind the goal continued to roar their side forward and they should have been celebrating a second goal soon after but having wriggled free in the box, Reach dragged his strike wide.

Gills’ first effort came on 20 minutes when Myles Weston’s strike was parried by Jon McLaughlin, who gathered the loose ball before Joe Pigott could pounce.

James Hanson had a header well held by Stuart Nelson, Matthew Dolan panicked when he had more time after intercepting a Jake Hessenthaler pass and Nathan Doyle had a shot blocked by Fagan from a corner as City continued to make the first-half running.

Gills enjoyed a little spell of possession around the half-hour mark but Bradford were soon back on the attack, with Reach involved before Kyle Bennett’s cross was knocked down by Hanson for Doyle, who lashed wide.

The first half ended with McLean’s neat touch finding Reach but he blasted over from the edge of the box.

Boss Peter Taylor introduced Akinfenwa and Lee for Pigott and Jake Hessenthaler at the break.

But City picked up where they left off and it needed a goal-saving tackle from Joe Martin to take the ball off Bennett’s toe in the six-yard box.

Having hardly been in the game, Gills found themselves level on 55 minutes when Akinfenwa played in McDonald who eased the ball past Jon McLaughlin.

McLean volleyed wide from another Reach cross soon after Gills’ equaliser but the visitors went close again with McDonald firing over under pressure from eight yards.

McDonald’s equaliser gave Gills belief they could get at Bradford and they showed it midway through the half when Linganzi found Akinfenwa for a decent low drive that was kept out by McLaughlin’s fingertips.

Bradford brought on captain Gary Jones, whose first involvement was to play in a corner that bobbled around the box before Reach fired wide when he should have done better.

Gillingham: Nelson, Hewitt, Martin, Linganzi, Legge, Barrett, Fagan, Hessenthaler (Lee 46mins), Pigott (Akinfenwa 46mins), McDonald, Weston. Subs not used: Davies, Dack, Smith, Harriman.

Attendance: 13,089 (226 from Gills)

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