PHIL Parkinson pleaded towards the referee with arms outstretched as Valley Parade pulsed with the roar of the crowd.

This was like a throwback to how we used to love home games.

It felt the clock had been turned back 10 years as City launched attack after attack towards a raucous Kop trying to suck the ball into the net.

Only this time, the man who had given them so many special games was praying that for once the supporter magnet behind the goal would not do their job.

But into this maelstrom stepped another unsung hero to seize the spotlight, Adam Wilson choosing the opportune moment to announce himself as a City saviour with the equaliser.

And how the Bantams deserved that on an afternoon when the fans roared their approval at the determination and attacking intent from their side.

That’s two home games in a row now where supporters have streamed away buzzing with what they’ve seen.

Maybe that corner really has been turned as Harry Lewis alluded to before kick-off.

Kevin McDonald, trying to maintain the coolest head amid the cauldron of noise, could acknowledge a fourth game unbeaten in caretaker charge.

Okay, the winning streak may be over – but not through want of trying.

Parkinson’s Wrexham knew they had been in a proper scrap; the biggest Valley Parade audience of the season had not been disappointed.

The contest may have lacked finesse and the finer points at times. But the blood-and-thunder action more than made up for that as tackles flew in and were cheered as fervently as any shot at goal.

Alex Gilliead, who must have covered every blade of grass twice over, drew a huge ovation when he tracked back into his own half to foil a Wrexham counter by sliding the ball off Elliot Lee’s toes.

This was the Bradford City that fans have been yearning to see again; hold nothing back for the shirt and the crowd will back you all the way.

Wrexham’s A-list owners had decided against making the trip to West Yorkshire. Given the size of the crowd, security would have been an obvious concern.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The contrasting emotions after Adam Wilson equalisesThe contrasting emotions after Adam Wilson equalises (Image: Thomas Gadd.)

But this was an honest encounter that didn’t need a Hollywood touch-up. Parkinson’s history-makers from a decade ago would have approved at the effort and energy on display.

City’s mettle was tested when they went behind for the first time since McDonald was elevated to temporary charge.

The timing of Wrexham’s goal stung even more given that it came slap bang in the middle of the home side’s best period of the game.

How would they respond against the team that everyone is talking about and one that had tasted league defeat just once since the opening day?

The answer was emphatic – on and off the pitch. The spine-tingling response from the stands to lift the players straight back up was all the inspiration needed.

For the second week running, McDonald found the Midas touch from the bench as a substitute struck once again.

The unbeaten run extended, the upbeat feeling increased and sights continue to look upward going into a long week on the road.

However the managerial situation pans out, the big Scot deserves everyone’s gratitude for the lift he has given us all from the doom and gloom of Mark Hughes’ final days.

The only similarity with the previous 1-1 home draws against Grimsby and Harrogate was the score. The only audible dissent from the crowd was aimed at the referee.

Team and supporters have been re-united in the space of a few short weeks.

McDonald made a point of saluting the fans for what they put in to aiding City’s fightback. It was a clear example of giving the division’s biggest fanbase something to cheer and they will raise the roof in response.

Parkinson knows that feeling all too well and recognised the off-field input once his Wrexham side’s stubborn resistance had been worn down.

Ultimately, it was probably seen as a decent point all round.

City’s former boss was back on familiar soil for only the second time since he’d met Edin Rahic and bolted in 2016. But unlike the frosty return the following season in Bolton colours, this felt like a proper welcome back.

Skipper continued his renaissance

The generous reception that greeted his walk along the touchline portrayed the emotion that 99 per cent of the fanbase still feel towards the man who had left them with so many lifelong memories.

But then it was down to business and showing him that Valley Parade could still be an intimidating place to come.

McDonald had enjoyed a full week to get to work on the training ground and set up a team prepared to go toe-to-toe in a physical slug-fest.

Gilliead and Richie Smallwood clearly relished the heat of battle in City’s midfield; the skipper continuing his renaissance since the change in manager and mentality.

The only blemish on his afternoon was the yellow card that will keep out at MK Dons – likewise Jamie Walker, another of the six names taken by unpredictable official Ross Joyce.

Smallwood’s absence leaves McDonald with the conundrum of whether to pick himself again or juggle his resources elsewhere. Another trial in the balancing act of managing and playing.

He had correctly anticipated the presence of former Burnley and Scotland team-mate Steven Fletcher in Wrexham’s attack for his first start.

Fletcher’s combination with Paul Mullin proved a real handful but City’s defence, boosted by a solid return from Ash Taylor to cover Matty Platt’s suspension, stood strong.

Wrexham’s goal midway through the second half came from their only effort on target.

City had been increasing the tempo at the time as Jamie Walker’s low shot stretched on-loan Arsenal keeper Arthur Okonkwo.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kevin McDonald applauds the crowd after the final whistleKevin McDonald applauds the crowd after the final whistle (Image: Thomas Gadd)

But the anticipated breakthrough came at the other end. Wrexham worked the ball to the corner of the penalty area where Ryan Barnett had space to stand up a cross for Mullin to get inside Brad Halliday and power home.

Mullin never scored against City during his golden boot-winning campaign with Cambridge and had missed a big chance earlier on. Parkinson also felt he was robbed of a “stonewall” penalty after going tumbling under Sam Stubbs.

Mullin’s third goal of the season, though, appeared to have sealed a smash-and-grab raid.

But City and their magnificent followers had other ideas. Wilson burst into the box, got two bites at the cherry as Jacob Mendy failed to clear, and rifled the ball off the bar and past a stunned Okonkwo.