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Fleetwood Town 2 Bradford City 2
Ryan Dickson’s first goal as a City player helped them to a battling point at Fleetwood this afternoon.
The defender came off the bench to score in a much-improved second-half display from the visitors.
Nahki Wells had early equalised just before the break with a stunning free-kick – his 18th goal of the season.
But Fleetwood, who had led through Alan Goodall, grabbed a share of the spoils with a Jon Parkin penalty.
The biggest worry for City was the sight of Rory McArdle on crutches after being subbed. Fans will be hoping that was only a precautionary measure.
Gareth Evans got plenty of stick from the travelling fans – but he had a hand in Fleetwood’s goal after 21 minutes.
Matt Duke made a fine one-handed save from Junior Brown but City did not deal with Evans’ corner and Goodall forced in at the near post.
Fleetwood threatened again through record signing Jamille Matt but Stephen Darby got a vital toe in. Then his strike partner Jamie Allen should have done better with a free header from Goodall’s cross.
City looked too narrow and predictable in response – but then levelled in spectacular fashion just before half-time.
Gary Jones was barged over by Nathan Pond and Wells left keeper Scott Davies rooted to the spot with his 20-yard set-piece.
The momentum swung and City came out a different team for the second half, grabbing the lead seven minutes in.
Dickson, who had replaced McArdle, received Carl McHugh’s pass in plenty of space and he coolly ran in on goal and slotted past Davies.
But Fleetwood hit back after 75 minutes with a penalty from their sub Parkin after James Hanson handled in the box.
Jones gives ball away but Crowther lashes shot and drives wide.
City win corner as fourth official puts up board for five minutes of added time.
Crowd announced as 3,577 - Fleetwood's third highest of the season. City sold all their 1,400 tickets.
Scare for City as Matt wriggles his way into the box but he opts to pass instead of shoot and Nelson hacks clear.
Jones heads away and Reid has his first chance to run - ended straight away by McKenna. He's booked as Gray replaces Wells.
Goodall's dangerous shot on the turn is blocked in a scrum of players but it's another Fleetwood corner.
Fleetwood win a corner, City need to dig in.
And here comes Reid on for Thompson, 80min
Flurry from Fleetwood comes to nothing but home side have their tails up since second goal.
Hines sits back down and it's Reid stripped and ready to come on.
Up steps PARKIN .... 2-2 just after Duke gets hand to it.
City couldn't clear free-kick and Hanson handles. Penalty for Fleetwood.
Dickson foul on Crowther gives Fleetwood a free-kick five yards outside angle of the box.
Hines ready to come on for City.
Great ball from Brown to release Crowther on right. But his cross is cleared by McHugh under pressure.
Wells caught by Davies as he challenges keeper for loose ball. Striker is hobbling but he's going to carry on.
Nelson long ball is chased by Hanson who tries to take shot on early but gets poor connection.
City furious as Hanson is knocked over by Pond but foul given Fleetwood's way.
But this one smashes into the wall and he gives away a foul trying to win ball back.
City free-kick in same range as first goal. Again Wells over it ...
Keystone Cops defending from City but luckily comes to nothing. Still too many sloppy moments around their own box.
Fleetwood bring on "The Beast" as Jon Parkin replaces Allen.
Fleetwood make their second sub with Beeley suffering from a knock he picked up in the non-penalty call with Wells. On comes McLaughlin.
Bit worrying to see McArdle using crutches as he takes his place in the dug-out.
It was Ryan Dickson's first goal since January last year.
City screaming for a penalty as Wells appears to be manhandled in box but nothing given.
City take the lead after 52 minutes! McHugh's pass finds DICKSON in space on the left and the sub calmly advances on goal before slotting ball past Davies. 2-1 to City.
Jones over-cooks the corner though and it sails over everyone for a throw-in.
Wells shows good skill to send Atkinson away and he wins City's third corner of the afternoon. Away end comes alive.
City concede unnecessary corner as Duke tips behind Nelson's back header but it comes to nothing.
Evans is off, replaced by Ryan Crowther.
City first out for the second half, expect they got orders from the management to buck ideas up.
Great time to score, keeper never moved as free-kick flew in from 20 yards. Half-time 1-1
And City are level with a fantastic free-kick by NAHKI WELLS. Keeper never moved 1-1
Jones on the charge but wrestled to ground by Pond. Skipper lands heavily. He's been the one player to show any real momentum for City.
Parkinson getting angry with fourth official Paul Kettlewell. Doesn't feel City getting any of the 50-50 decisions.
#bcafc If we can't win til after cup final we will NOT get promoted.— @ImAlwaysSkint 02 February 2013
City make a sub with five mins til half-time. McArdle, still struggling from that earlier knock, is replaced by Dickson. So McHugh moves back to centre half alongside Nelson.
Allen fights for room to get in a shot but McArdle takes pace off it and Duke saves comfortably.
Matt curler clears City bar.
City respond with a corner but Pond wins it through crowd of players. Ball comes out for Jones to have a crack and he drills shot wide.
Big chance for Fleetwood as Goodall's cross picks out an unmarked Allen but he heads over bar. Should have been 2-0
Matt breaks through on left from McGuire pass but Darby gets a very important toe in to prevent shot.
He does but Fleetwood skipper Rob Atkinson meets it with firm header. Keeper Scott Davies' ultra-white shirt has still not got dirty
McGuire concedes silly free-kick, chance for Jones to put decent ball into the Fleetwood box.
Surface doesn't help but City playing too direct at times.
Nothing happened in game up to the Duke save and goal. Now City need to pick it up again
Evans inevitably involved with the corner which leads to opening goal.
First chance of game as Goodall finds Brown in room. His shot from 20 yards is turned round post by Duke for Fleetwood corner. And GOODALL scores. 1-0 to Fleetwood.
And he's back on - for now anyway.
At last we've resumed as Evans continues to be looked at on sidelines.
Game stopped while Evans receives more treatment but it doesn't look good for him.
Evans just gone down for second time, clearly got a problem. Not a lot of sympathy from the away end.
McArdle stays down after taking a knock but he's soon able to resume
Evans cuts inside and drills shot which strikes McArdle's hand but referee ignores appeals
Jones kick too deep for Hanson to do anything with and Evans volleys clear of penalty area.
City win first corner of the game.
Good little passage of play from City involving Wells, Thompson, Darby and Atkinson. Eventually Thompson finds room for angled shot wide.
Thompson leaves a slide mark during a tackle. The pitch isn't the best and is going to cut up as game goes on.
"We're all going on a European tour" - that's a chant you don't often hear at City games.
no more Wembley talk until 3 points are in the bag today #BCAFC— @itsgettinglate 02 February 2013
Fleetwoods ground is tiny. But it epitomises non league. Bar the tv screen. #BCAFC #ftfc— @markyoung1990 02 February 2013
The Wembley chants keep cropping up from away end. And why not ...
PP gone for a solid team there. #bcafc— @KeithWildman 02 February 2013
Gareth Evans, who stirred up the City fans with his over-enthusiastic goal celebrations at Rotherham earlier this season, is in the Fleetwood starting line-up.
They also include striker Jamille Matt, a £300,000 signing from Kidderminster last month.
It's the same side that beat Oxford here 3-0 last week.
It will be interesting to see the battle between the two 35-year-olds in central midfield, Gary Jones and Paul McKenna.
FLEETWOOD: Davies, Beeley, Atkinson, Pond, Goodall, Brown, McKenna, McGuire, Evans, Allen, Matt. Subs: Barry, Parkin, McLaughlin, Crowther, Ball, Gyorio, Lucas.
Don't like the look of mchugh at left back, didn't look comfortable last time #bcafc— @JonnySmith94 02 February 2013
Centre half Michael Nelson makes his debut as City come off their mid-winter league break at sunny Fleetwood this afternoon.
The £30,000 January capture from Kilmarnock replaces Curtis Good, who has been struggling with a sore throat. Carl McHugh moves across to left back.
Phil Parkinson made one more change at right midfield where Garry Thompson takes over from Zavon Hines.
Ryan Dickson is back on the bench after recovering from the tight thigh that forced him to miss Villa Park.
CITY: Duke, Darby, McArdle, Nelson, McHugh, Thompson, Doyle, Jones, Atkinson, Wells, Hanson. Subs: Ravenhill, Reid, Hines, Connell, Gray, Dickson, McLaughlin.
Glorious sunshine at Highbury with not a cloud in the sky. But it's going to get cold later.