Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Bradford City 2 Gillingham 2: League 2 match report from Valley Parade - Timothee Dieng and Oli Hawkins on target for Gills as Andy Cook nets twice for Bantams

Gillingham scored a stoppage-time equaliser to thwart promotion-chasing Bradford City.

Timothee Dieng fired the Gills ahead and Neil Harris’ men were unlucky not to extend the lead before the break after a super first half. Bradford hit back through Andy Cook’s double but Oli Hawkins scored at the death.

Oli Hawkins scored the equaliser for Gillingham at Bradford
Oli Hawkins scored the equaliser for Gillingham at Bradford

Gillingham were keen to improve on an away record of just two wins this season in the league against a Bradford side needing wins to keep alive their automatic promotion hopes.

With Shaun Williams missing through injury, Ethan Coleman was returned to the starting line-up as the only change from the team which kicked off in midweek against Leyton Orient.

The death of former chairman Tony Smith, aged 79, on the eve of the game led to the Gillingham players wearing black armbands for the match at Valley Parade.

The Gills were safe from relegation trouble but were fired up for this one. They had promotion-chasing Bradford rattled early on with their energy and closing down of the home defence.

Bradford came close early on when Max Ehmer had to clear a low shot from Andy Cook that was goalbound but the first half belonged to the Gills.

It was Dieng who put the visitors a goal up, against his old club, scoring in the 17th minute. He robbed defender Romoney Crichlow of the ball and with options infront of him limited, fired a low shot across keeper Harry Lewis into the bottom corner.

Gillingham kept the pressure on the home defence, leading to more chances as the Bradford players struggled to keep possession. Goalkeeper Lewis’ insistence on playing goal-kicks short was pounced on by the hungry Gills every time and it nearly led to a second goal for Dieng.

Bradford’s defence were rocked. A long throw from Robbie McKenzie almost found its way through to George Lapslie and they then struggled to clear.

Alex MacDonald also came close with an inswinging corner that was headed off the line by Richie Smallwood while Tom Nichols had a shot blocked.

The running from the likes of Dom Jefferies and Nichols had made life tough for a Bradford side who were jeered off at the break. A big home crowd had come with expectations but it was the Gills leading at the break.

Bradford started the second half like a different team. The Gills might have expected a response and they got one.

Liam Ridehalgh’s cross was headed in at the far post by the division’s leading scorer Andy Cook with 48 minutes gone and all of a sudden Valley Parade was bouncing.

Moments after the equaliser Jamie Walker bent a shot just wide as the Gills were suddenly the team under pressure.

The Gills managed to get a grip after a torrid start to the second half and with just over an hour gone Robbie McKenzie came close, getting a shot away in a crowded area but seeing Lewis make the save.

Bradford responded with a chance of their own and Morris had to turn Scott Banks’ effort over the bar. Richie Smallwood blasted another deflected effort over from 12 yards.

Bradford might have had a penalty had Emmanuel Osadebe gone down following Dieng’s challenge inside the box. The former Gills midfielder stayed on his feet as he surged past the visiting goalscorer.

The home side got infront from the penalty spot after McKenzie’s challenge on Banks. Cook stepped up and sent Morris the wrong way to put Bradford 2-1 up.

Nichols forced the home keeper into a couple of saves late on but it was Hawkins who levelled, guiding home the ball from Cheye Alexander’s stoppage-time corner.

Bradford: Lewis, Halliday, Ridehalgh, Crichlow, Stubbs, Smallwood, Gilliead, Walker (Derbyshire 90mins), Banks (Platt 90mins), Nevers (Osadebe 62mins), Cook. Subs not used: Doyle, Platt, Bola, East, Costelloe.

Gillingham: Morris, Alexander, McKenzie (Tutonda 85mins), Ehmer, Masterson, Jefferies, Dieng, Coleman (Clarke 85mins), MacDonald (Hawkins 73mins), Lapslie, Nichols. Subs not used: Turner, Wright, Chambers, Abrahams.

Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Attendance: 18,501 (353 away)

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More