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Bradford City 2 Gillingham 2 – League 1 match report

Defender Deji Oshilaja was back on the scoresheet as Gillingham claimed a point at promotion-chasing Bradford.

The hosts were ahead at the break after Josh Wright’s opener was cancelled out with goals from Charlie Wyke and Tony McMahon.

Centre-back Deji Oshilaja levelled shortly after the restart but for much of the second half the Gills were forced on the defensive.

Gillingham hung on to claim their third successive draw.

Deji Oshilaja makes it 2-2 at Bradford on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry
Deji Oshilaja makes it 2-2 at Bradford on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry

Reaction: Tough week for Gills' head coach ends on a high

None of Gillingham’s recent signings were involved at Bradford.

Bournemouth pair Joe Quigley and Harry Cornick are recovering from injuries while the club are still awaiting international clearance for forward Josh Parker.

The return from injury of Chris Herd meant a return to left-back for Oshilaja. Rory Donnelly was handed a rare league start – his first since September – playing on the left flank.

Bradford hadn’t lost a home game at Valley Parade this season ahead of Gills’ visit, but Ady Pennock’s side showed little fear in the early stages.

Bradley Dack and Cody McDonald continued to link up well but the hosts were always dangerous, particularly with forward Billy Clarke getting into plenty of space in front of Gills’ back four.

Stuart Nelson got away with a fumble from one of Clarke’s efforts and it was the visitors who took the lead.

Ryan Jackson’s throw was flicked on by Max Ehmer and the ball fell invitingly for Wright, who smashed home his sixth of the season.

That lead lasted less than 60 seconds. Mark Marshall crossed from the right and big striker Charlie Wyke rose highest to head home. The striker was a deadline-day signing for Bradford, arriving from Carlisle, where he had hit 18 goals already.

Gillingham continued to pose problems but the hosts got stronger at the half progressed. They turned the game around with a goal on 38 minutes. Nelson did well to save a Clarke free-kick but McMahon was quickest to react after the ball hit a post, smashing home to put Bradford 2-1 up.

The ever-dangerous Clarke put a couple more efforts wide just before the break.

Gillingham were again bright from the off, with Dack creating plenty of movement. They were level again four minutes after the restart as Ryan Jackson’s ball into the box was met by Oshilaja who volleyed in off the post.

Nelson saved well from Josh Cullen moments later and Nicky Law’s rising effort, with over an hour gone, went over. Cullen went closer still with an effort that went just wide of the post.

Bradford continued to boss the half and Donnelly had to hook Wyke’s effort off the line with 20 minutes left.

Gillingham’s substitutes took the wind out of Bradford’s sail but Jordy Hiwula came close with a few minutes left, lifting a shot onto the roof of the net.

Pennock’s men were pegged back in the final stages but held out for a point.

Bradford: Doyle, Meredith, Law, Vincelot, Marshall, Dieng, Wyke, Clarke, Cullen (Hiwula 80mins), McArdle, McMahon. Subs not used: Sattelmaier, Darby, Toner, Penney, Gilliead, Devine.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Oshilaja (Garmston 71mins), Herd, Ehmer, Wagstaff, Hessenthaler, Wright, Dack (Emmanuel-Thomas 80mins), McDonald (List 77mins), Donnelly. Subs not used: Holy, Osadebe, Dickenson, Byrne.

Attendance: 18,840 (224 away)

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