GRAHAM Alexander felt City showed the right reaction to another “punch on the nose” at Grimsby.

Richie Smallwood’s penalty in stoppage time rescued a 1-1 draw at Blundell Park yesterday.

Smallwood’s first goal in 63 games made it four points over Easter for the Bantams after a turbulent spell of four straight losses.

Alexander was pleased with his team’s spirit to fight back against the relegation-fighting Mariners in a scrappy contest.

“After the previous four results, I’ll take four points from two games,” said the City chief.

“We didn’t brush it under the carpet. We spoke about what happens if someone does punch us on the nose and what we do.

“Do we fall apart or show the right character? That’s what we’ve done.

“We’ve showed character from coming from behind that we haven’t managed to do in a lot of games. That’s a positive step forward in my eyes.”

Grimsby scored from their only shot on target – which deflected past Sam Walker off Ciaran Kelly.

But City again missed big chances with Tyler Smith and Kelly both guilty of wasting key opportunities.

Alexander added: “The players have worked exceptionally hard in the two games over four days. It’s exceptionally difficult if it’s the same team again – which it was with 10 of them.

“But we have to put away those chances. They’re not from a difficult angle 17-18 yards out, they’re from the middle of the goal five or six yards out.

“We need to get ruthless on those. When you don’t take them, it chips away at your confidence and gives the opposition a little boost.

“When they got the goal, they had a burst of energy but I thought the players came back into the game well.”

Grimsby defender Denver Hume was red-carded for the foul on Brad Halliday for City’s late penalty. Referee Matt Corlett also booked seven other players – including five from the visitors.

Alexander said: “I felt it was a bitty game, broken up by so many free-kicks and fouls. I think it suited them because we could never get a tempo to our game and our press.

“As soon as we made any minimal contact with a Grimsby player, he fell over and they got the free-kick.

“There were loads of stoppages, so it wasn’t a quality game in any respect for both teams.

“We just wanted to up the tempo second half and the pressure and somehow try and avoid giving fouls away. But it’s very difficult when you have to compete to win.

“They wanted to create a set-piece situation with long throws and a lot of free-kicks coming in our box.

“We tried to manage that but I can’t ask my players not to compete. It was a real balance and that’s where you’re hoping the officials understand what’s going on.

“They had one shot on target, which was the goal, but after that we brought on the subs and had a bit more energy and expansion in our shape.”