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Bradford City 1 Gillingham 0: League 2 match report from Valley Parade - Brad Halliday scores winner for Bantams

Gillingham lost in Yorkshire for the second time in six days as their unlikely play-off hopes slipped further away.

Good chances came and went in the first half for the Gills before Brad Halliday put Bradford ahead just before the break. Gillingham struggled to make an impact in the second half as they were beaten 1-0.

Head coach Stephen Clemence Picture: @Julian_KPI
Head coach Stephen Clemence Picture: @Julian_KPI

Crawley’s big win at Mansfield, coupled with the result at Bradford, pretty much finishes any small hopes of the play-offs now for the Gills.

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence had demanded a reaction from his team following Monday’s heavy defeat at Harrogate - but could make no guarantees as they chased a win to keep alive their fading play-off hopes.

There was a change in formation as Shad Ogie returned to a three-man central defensive unit - abandoning a more adventurous 4-2-3-1 - while Jake Turner replaced Glenn Morris in goal and Max Clark dropped out for Scott Malone on the left side.

Bradford were playing for pride after a disappointing season but had talisman striker Andy Cook back in the starting XI after injury kept him out during the Easter weekend. He’d scored in all three of his previous meetings against the Gills while with the Bantams and hit a hat-trick for Walsall at Priestfield before that.

Cook had a great early chance as the home side started well but Gillingham’s recalled keeper Turner saved well.

The Valley Parade pitch looked in a terrible state, even before kick-off, but thankfully it was a dry day in West Yorkshire. Windy conditions added to the tricky conditions for the players..

Gillingham didn’t have an issue with creating chances, however, after getting through a nervy early period unscathed.

Oli Hawkins had a header turned over the bar by home keeper Sam Walker and moments later Tim Dieng went even closer, beating the goalie but not defender Daniel Oyegoke, who cleared off the line.

Conor Masterson was the next man to go close for the Gills, with a bullet header from another Hutton cross, but Walker was in the right place to make the save.

There were a few troubling moments inside the Gills box but things were looking promising for the Gills before conceding late in the half.

Defender Halliday was allowed too much time after collecting the ball from a throw-in and after running towards the edge of the box he picked his spot, beating Turner with a shot that just beat the outstretched hand of the Gills keeper before finding the far corner.

The Gills stuck with the same formula for the start of the second half but there were gaps at the back as they chased the game.

Tyreik Wright fired wide with one effort for Bradford before stinging the palms of Turner with another 10 minutes into the second half.

With around 20 minutes left, head coach Clemence introduced Josh Andrews to partner Hawkins up top. The Gills started to show their frustrations with bookings for George Lapslie and Max Ehmer, both for fouls.

Josh Walker and Jonny Williams got minutes with 15 to go. Andrews went close late on after twisting and turning to get clear of defender Oyegoke.

It was Gillingham’s only real chance of the half as they were beaten by the single goal.

League 2 table

Bradford City: S Walker, J Walker, Halliday, Platt, Smallwood, Kavanagh (Richards 87mins), Cook, Kelly (Tomkinson 87mins), Oyegoke, Pointon (Wadsworth 94mins), Wright. Subs not used: Doyle, Oduor, Smith, Chapman.

Gillingham: Turner, Hutton, Malone, Masterson (J Williams 75mins), Ehmer, Ogie, Coleman, Dieng (Andrews 68mins), Lapslie, Mahoney, Hawkins (Walker 75mins). Subs not used: Morris, Clark, McKenzie, Clarke.

Referee: Ed Duckworth


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