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Gillingham 1 Bradford City 1 – League 1 match report

Gillingham had to settle with a point from a tough encounter against Bradford on Saturday.

Cody McDonald put the Gills ahead but they were pegged back with a goal from Jordy Hiwula.

Gillingham finished the game with 10 men when Ryan Jackson fouled Mark McNulty in stoppage-time and picked up a second yellow card.

Cody McDonald battles for the ball against Bradford Picture: Andy Payton
Cody McDonald battles for the ball against Bradford Picture: Andy Payton

Bradford started the afternoon sitting second in the table, without a defeat and preserved that record with a draw at Priestfield.

Gills boss Justin Edinburgh named two changes to his starting XI, leaving Bradley Dack out completely, as the player aims to finally put a troublesome knee injury behind him.

The Gills lacked intensity the week before against Sheffield United and Emmanuel Osadebe was an obvious choice to return to the line-up, but there was a surprise in the forward line, as Rory Donnelly was recalled.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas took Dack’s role behind the front two.

It was a ball from Osadebe that led to Gillingham making an early breakthrough, laying the ball off for McDonald to smash into the top corner with just 11 minute gone. It was a first goal in League 1 this season for the Gills no.10.

Gillingham were unable to build on that start, however.

Bradford right-winger Mark Marshall was a handful and he bent a shot just wide shortly before McDonld put the Gills infront.

The visitors were always threat on the break and Gillingham were unable to boss the centre of the pitch.

Osadebe needed to make a few good blocks and Billy Clarke dragged a shot wide before an equaliser came. From a 30 minute Nick Law corner Hiwula guided the ball home into the far corner with a glancing header.

Bradford came close to taking the lead just before the break. James Meredith swung in an inviting cross but Hiwula was unable to get a toe on it.

The visitors had the better of the early second half chances. Timothee Dieng fired well wide but Josh Cullen got a lot closer, with a shot that bent just past the post.

Scott Wagstaff was introduced just before the hour mark, making his first Gills appearance since his summer arrival. He replaced Donnelly as Emmanuel-Thomas joined McDonald upfront and looked bright.

Marshall was denied by Gills keeper Jonathan Bond while at the other end Colin Doyle saved easily from Emmanuel-Thomas’ low effort and watched as Mark Byrne shot wide.

Defender Max Ehmer had a great chance for the Gills from a corner, swivelling in the box but his shot was blocked superbly by Stephen Darby, with a goal-saving block to send the effort over the bar.

Ehmer needed to make a crucial block at the other end to deny substitute James Hanson from hitting a late winner.

Gillingham: Bond, Jackson, Konchesky, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Wright, Osadebe, Byrne, Emmanuel-Thomas (List 87mins), Donnelly (Wagstaff 58mins), McDonald (Pask 90mins). Subs not used: Nelson, Hessenthaler, Knott, Oldaker.

Bradford: Doyle, Darby, Meredith, Law, Vincelot, Marshall (Morais 76mins), Dieng, Clarke (Hanson 77mins), Hiwula (McNulty 73mins), Cullen, Knight-Percival. Subs not used: Stallemaier, Vuckic, Devine, Kilgallon.

Attendance: 5,079 (377 away)

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