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Kyle Bennett was sent off on his debut but City held high-flying Preston in a lively Valley Parade encounter tonight.
The on-loan Doncaster winger was dismissed along with Preston’s Neil Kilkenny after what looked a minor incident midway through the first half.
But the ten men of both teams served up an exciting game which could have gone either way.
Fourth-placed Preston will feel they should have won it after hitting the post twice through Paul Gallagher and Josh Brownhill. But City had their moments as well with left winger Adam Reach producing a real crowd-pleasing performance.
And at the back, Andrew Davies successfully negotiated his first game since October 5 looking as confident as ever. His return heralded only City’s second clean sheet since that day.
And that's it, 0-0 but a good one...
A third sub for the visitors as Keane comes on for Brownhill, who's had an excellent game
Four minutes extra
Attack, attack, attack chant the Kop
McBurnie takes a painful blow but carries on
Just over two minutes of normal time to go
And now it's a corner... which comes to nothing
McBurnie cynically body-checked. City have a chance to get the ball in their box
Another name in the book as Welsh fouls Reach.
Mr Humphrey was free there on the wing. Sorry, I had to say that...
Goal for Preston.... oh no it's not!!! Offside flag stops the celebrations on the pitch and their bench. Shame
Another sub for City. Ravenhill comes on for Doyle
'The sendings off spoilt it' 'Going to take time with so many new faces' PP Post Match Bingo, any other guesses?? #bcafc— @Holden_Tight 28 January 2014
The wall does its job - and again to see off the danger
McArdle flattens Welsh inside the City D. A booking for the defender and a chance for the visitors
Jones slides a perfectly weighted pass into Darby's path and he wins the corner. Right back been superb getting up and down that flank
Preston also make their first change. Humphrey, the winger Stuart McCall had at Motherwell, replaces Wiseman
McBurnie comes on for Mclean with 18 minutes left
Davies with a superb defensive header to take Gallagher's cross off the head of Garner.
Darby lofts a cross into the six-yard area but Rudd jumps well to take it above Hanson.
Chant for Ollie McBurnie as the teenager prepares to come on
Bates tries a bit of trickery with a weaving run into the box...
Jones free-kick cannons back off the wall of white shirts
Mclean flattened by Wright 30 yards out. Booking for the Preston defender
Preston hit the woodwork for a second time! This time it's Brownhill with a cracking left-foot drive that rattles the post with McLaughlin beaten
Promising break from Hanson but he tries to cut back on his left foot which allows Clarke to get a tackle in.
Hanson slides into Rudd and Attwell immediately whistles for the physio as the keeper stays down.
Preston do the job and move ends with a poorly-hit pass by Doyle
Corner number six for the Bantams as Midland Road belts out...
Davies gets upfield to whip in a cross - and a pretty good one - from the left wing...
Welsh finds room to thread a pass through for Garner to chase into the City penalty area but Davies uses his strength to safely shepherd it out.
Corner drops to Hanson who flicks it over the bar
Reach latches on to Hanson header but Clarke stretches to turn ball behind for corner
Mclean denied by Rudd.... end to end now
Bates passes absent-mindedly to Garner coming back from offside position. He lays it back to Brownhill who fires straight at McLaughlin
The fans have a new hero in Reach, old-fashioned winger...
Mistake by Bates gives Preston chance to break. Gallagher's angled shot saved by McLaughlin.
Scramble of bodies in Preston box as Mclean shot is charged down
That's got the Kop going
Reach with another teasing cross that Rudd tips over his bar.
Bates and Davies combine to thwart Gallagher's attempted shot.
And Preston have a corner straight away.... which McLaughlin catches with confidence
We're back underway...
I can hear the boos. The ref must be coming back out for "round two"...
The stewards flank Attwell as he walks off the pitch. They can't stop Doyle getting over to have a word or ten....
And it's 0-0 at the break between the ten of City and Preston...
The lack of accountability from match officials has to be addressed #bcafc #pnefc— @bmwelby 28 January 2014
Two added minutes to come
Reach cross headed goalwards by Mclean but Rudd punches theatrically away.
Wright heads away before clash of heads between Hanson and Clarke.
Another City corner.
Frustrating thing is if that's a red then should have been a red, and penalty at Sheffield on Saturday for arm in Mcleans face. #bcafc— @KeithWildman 28 January 2014
Reach proving popular as he wins another corner. Eventually comes to nothing
Jones's corner headed out as far as Doyle who fires it back with a venomous volley that strikes an unsuspecting defender
Spot of penalty area head tennis before ball drops for Doyle, whose drive is deflected way over the bar. First City corner
Positive play from Reach lifts the crowd but Clarke blocks his attempted cross
So Kyle Bennett misses out on a trip to Molineux where he spent over ten years as a Wolves youngster. Still never played there
Looked a ridiculous over-reaction from the ref to send off both players. So once again we're going to be talking about officials...
And breathe..... The game calms down for a moment
Preston should be ahead. Garner misses Laird's cross but Gallagher hits the post from inches out - much sympathy from the Kop!
Bennett fouled the former Leeds man in midfield. Kilkenny then falls down and ref Stuart Attwell sends off the debutant - tussle ensues and Preston man goes as well...
Both teams down to ten men! Kyle Bennett and Neil Kilkenny sent off
Darby, who is playing well again, drives past Laird before Hanson flicks his cross just past Mclean
Back-to-back offside calls frustrate Mclean and Reach
Wall - or rather Stephen Darby - does its job
Free-kick for Preston a yard or so outside the City box. Dangerous position for the home side
Best chance for City but the ball wouldn't come down for Mclean. Bennett worked it into the striker's path but he could only fire into the ground from 12 yards out.
Pitch starting to cut up a bit in places as the rain comes down heavier.
Davies back in the groove with two clearing headers
Brownhill tries to use the slick surface with an effort from 25 yards but it's another simple save
Laird floats an inviting angled cross into City box but Bates coolly chests it back to his keeper.
Preston respond straight away and Brownhill's low shot is gathered by a diving McLaughlin.
Bennett nutmegs Welsh on way to feeding Mclean on right wing. His cross is missed by Hanson but ball drops for Reach to fire just wide.
Thought it was too good to last .... here comes the rain.
Corner for Preston but McLaughlin claims it under no pressure at all.
Davies's first touch since October, safely puts the ball out of play
Stephen Darby seeing a lot of the ball early on. Nothing getting past him
Plenty of Preston fans here making some noise. Good atmosphere about the place tonight
Reach ball forward flicked on by Hanson but just too much on it for the chasing Mclean.
Soccer AM camera crew in the press box...
Garner down after clash of heads on halfway, banging the turf in pain
Preston get the game underway kicking towards the Kop...
Wireless dipping in and out as kick-off approaches.... Nice timing
Atmosphere building nicely as we wait for the teams
Its totally wrong but sometimes the walk to the ground is my favourite part of the match. #anticipation #bcafc— @beagsleftfoot 28 January 2014
RT @KReidy11: Good luck to the boys 2nite get the 3points back on track to winning ways #reidy 👏👊👍😉— @Ben_Lee14 28 January 2014
City not just due a win but due a midweek win - haven't managed one yet this season. Last Tuesday night victory was the 4-1 thumping of Bristol Rovers here on April 9
Great looking team selection tonight....come on City.....give us a win! #bcafc— @darcy_eleanor 28 January 2014
Judging by his tweet, sounds like Jordan Graham's annoyed after failing to make the bench..
RT @jordandakid: Ultimate headloss— @PassMeATowel 28 January 2014
Preston expected to line up 3-5-2 with two wing backs. Former City loanee Lee Holmes among their substitutes.
Andy Gray to come off the bench and net the winner? Enjoy the game all you #bcafc fans, come on the City, three points please!— @nottmbantam 28 January 2014
Yes @Andrew_Davies84 👊 let's get back to winning! @officialbantams #bcafc— @kkkkainat 28 January 2014
Preston are still without Kevin Davies who is serving the second game of his ban for last week's red card against Coventry.
They are the second best travellers in League One with eight away wins and only two defeats from 13 games.
PRESTON: Rudd, Laird, Clarke, Wright, Wiseman, King, Brownhill, Welsh, Kilkenny, Garner, Gallagher. Subs: Keane, Humphrey, Beavon, Holmes, Buchanan, Hume, Stuckmann.
Andrew Davies is back for his first game in over three months.
The centre half is one of four changes from the City team that came back from two down to draw at Sheffield United ten days ago.
New boys Kyle Bennett and Adam Reach both start on the wings, while Nathan Doyle returns in central midfield. Chris Atkinson, the third loanee, is on the bench.
Ricky Ravenhill is also back among the subs after injury as is Oliver McBurnie. There is no Mark Yeates, who is still feeling his knee problem after an injection to try to settle it down.
CITY: McLaughlin, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Bates, Bennett, Doyle, Jones, Reach, Mclean, Hanson. Subs: Ravenhill, Gray, Thompson, McHugh, McBurnie, Atkinson, Jameson.
@bantamGJM69 come on Bradford!!!!— @Dynamomagician 28 January 2014
Preston just been out for a good look at the surface. Judging by the body language, and I'm no expert, they seemed quite surprised with how well it has held up so far.
No need to wrap up too warm tonight, we're gonna be celebrating at least 3 goals!! #bcafc— @gazBCAFCwright 28 January 2014
Team news not expected for another half an hour. Will be interesting to see how many of the new boys are thrown straight in by Phil Parkinson.
My hunch is that both wingers will play but he might hold back Chris Atkinson and restore Nathan Doyle in the middle so the midfield is not too open.
And I would think that Andrew Davies is in line for his first appearance at the back since October 5.
RT @ParkerTandA: The wind's swirling but the rain has stopped for now. And the #bcafc pitch looks well considering... http://t.co/th6aEoCn0G— @_tomBCAFC 28 January 2014
Good evening from a cold but - at this moment - dry Valley Parade for tonight's home clash with away specialists Preston.
Well it's beaten the wet weather, unlike several other games in Leagues One and Two, and the pitch looks well considering all the rain.
Will be bit on the soft side in front of the main stand but the general surface is decent.