VALLEY Parade erupted in claret and amber delirium as a last-gasp leveller virtually lifted the roof off the stadium.

Remember that feeling? It was about this time last year when Vadaine Oliver bulleted home a header in front the Kop to break Wimbledon’s resistance in the final seconds of stoppage time.

History kind of repeated itself this weekend, City digging deep to rescue a point from the potential wreckage of a first home loss.

Only the reaction to this one was very different.

Sure, there were plenty on their feet lauding Jamie Walker’s alert thinking to punish a headstrong dash from Harrogate keeper Mark Oxley.

But, equally, there was a significant number who watched it motionless; cold to the emotions that would naturally flood out at seeing their team score.

There was an almost detached view to what was unfolding before them.

As Walker automatically wheeled away in front of the fans, it was like some had already shut down after what they had witnessed.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bobby Pointon battled hard on his second senior City startBobby Pointon battled hard on his second senior City start (Image: Tom Pearson)

There seemed to be more energy with the reaction at the final whistle as the boos of disapproval rained down.

The overall discontent was not tempered by City salvaging something from another dour afternoon.

The boos rang out for the team and Mark Hughes as he clapped in the direction of the stands. Valley Parade felt a divided and unhappy place.

Plenty will agree with Hughes that the current disjointed form is down to the absence of key personnel.

Andy Cook, even with his slow start prior to the injury, remains a huge miss.

And how they could do with Alex Pattison’s surging bursts from midfield to pep up a team that seem reluctant to shoot, let alone score, right now.

Add Harry Chapman, a player who was showing his best form prior to his season-ending exit in April, and you have another attacking string to the bow.

New replacements bed themselves in. Unproven young talents such as Chishom Afoka and our own Bobby Pointon are still learning the ropes.

It can be an unforgiving environment to take your first steps in league football.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Richie Smallwood's substitution was cheered by some fansRichie Smallwood's substitution was cheered by some fans (Image: Tom Pearson)

But the criticism for the manager is growing - and another unsatisfactory afternoon in front of the division’s biggest crowd will only fuel that.

City saw so much of the ball - and a lot of it in Harrogate’s half. But what did they achieve?

The stats showed nearly 700 passes completed, double that of the visitors. Yet there were no shots from outside the box and a general reluctance to pull the trigger.

Not for the first time at Valley Parade, it looked a case of passing for passing’s sake - even if that was never the intention.

“That’s not something that we do and we’ve never told them that,” said Hughes afterwards.

“It’s about possession with a purpose. That’s what we work on.

“Sometimes if the opposition have got over quickly and close your space down, you can’t pass through people and just have to go back and start again and wait for the clear opportunity to put a good ball in.”

But the more they went around and around and then back, the chippier the audience became.

Valley Parade is not a fun day out right now. Football is becoming a chore to watch rather than something to savour.

Owner Stefan Rupp’s unexpected presence just added to the sense that Hughes is under the spotlight. He will have wriggled in his seat as much as anyone.

The reaction to Richie Smallwood’s withdrawal in a triple change in the second half highlighted the volatile mood among the fanbase.

Cheers for any player being taken off never sound good and this was hardly the first time the captain’s exit had drawn such a response.

In contrast, Pointon got a standing ovation with his departure at the same time. Rightly, the youngster is lauded for trying to step up to the plate but it clearly demonstrated the fractured feeling about the team right now.

READ MORE: "We knew the crowd would turn" says Harrogate boss

Harrogate, as their forever manager Simon Weaver had indicated, were anticipating the crowd to turn.

That’s the double-edged sword of having such numbers watching. They can become an irresistible force when City are on top - but just as big a barrier if things are going downhill.

Yet, the reaction to the team sheet had been a positive one.

Hughes had abandoned the system of playing three centre halves that he had stuck with since game one of pre-season.

It was a return to 4-2-3-1, the shape that took them to the play-offs - even if had been accused of being too defensively-minded at times.

There was a bit of zip about City’s early play. But then it fell away, the thought process in the attacking third becoming blurred as Harrogate’s wall of black shirts sucked the life out of the contest.

Matty Foulds and Levi Sutton were both on the bench for their Valley Parade return. But Anthony O’Connor, an ex-Bantam from that wretched relegation year, had the measure of Afoka on the Aston Villa man’s full league debut.

Hughes had hoped the “unpredictability” of Afoka’s play could unlock doors. But they remained firmly shut until he moved a bit wider in the second half.

By then, Walker had been pushed further forward in support and the Scot always looked the most likely route to a goal.

Walker’s ankle issue has been holding him back but this was more like his old self and he was the one City player prepared to have a pop.

He forced the only save of the first half from one determined run and put another effort wide as things pepped up slightly after the break.

Clarke Oduor, who slotted straight back in after his international absence, made few inroads but did go close as City tried for that breakthrough.

But there was no cutting edge and we all feared the worst when Harrogate stole in front.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: There was a surprisingly muted reaction to Jamie Walker's goalThere was a surprisingly muted reaction to Jamie Walker's goal (Image: Tom Pearson)

Substitute Jeremy Sivi’s ball into the box clipped off Lewis Richards to beat the swishing leg of intended target Luke Armstrong.

Matty Daly, though, was on his toes to pounce with the merest of touches past Harry Lewis from bang in front.

There was a suggestion of offside against the one-time City loanee. But the scorer in Harrogate’s FA Cup triumph at Valley Parade last season looked to have done it again as the knives sharpened.

The Bantams produced little evidence of a fightback - until the final knockings.

Then Brad Halliday pumped a long free-kick into the mix where Walker anticipated Oxley’s charge from his line and engineered a neat back-header past him.

Nowhere near the same power that Oliver had generated into the same net 12 months earlier - and nowhere near the same response around him.