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Match Reports

Latics v Bradford City

1 December 2013

Latics extend unbeaten run


Latics and Bradford City fought out a 1-1 draw in an entertaining Roses battle in Sky Bet League 1 at Boundary Park.

Lee Johnson's side more than matched the play-off chasing Bantams as they extended their unbeaten run to seven matches in league and cup.

Nahki Wells fired Bradford ahead only for Latics to equalise through a spectacular strike from Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Latics' manager was pleased with the way his side matched opponents who are flying high in the division.

Johnson said: "It was always going to be a tough game, but I enjoyed it.

"As the game went on, we came into it more and more and played some excellent football. May be we didn't create enough for all the play we had, but we dominated, demoralised and snuffed them out in the second half.

"Give credit to Bradford for defending stout, but we pegged them back with our quality possession and interplay."

Latics' manager was disappointed with Bradford’s goal claiming Wells handled the ball before scoring.

"But we showed good character again in coming back after falling behind, and our game took over," he continued.

Latics made three changes from the side which won at Shrewsbury in midweek, though one was enforced as Charlie MacDonald was ruled out through a thigh injury.

Anton Rodgers and David Mellor stepped down to the bench while new  loan signing Ellis Plummer (pictured) was handed his debut and there were recalls for James Wesolowski and Sidney Schmeltz.

There was a lively start as a shot from Bradford's Garry Thompson whistled past the upright while James Dayton shot low and hard at keeper John McLaughlin. Latics also had an early shout for a penalty waved way.

Latics had an almighty let off when Wells nipped in at the near post to meet Thompson's cross only to see his shot crash against the crossbar.

Gary Jones struck a fierce follow-up drive, which took a big deflection off Jonathan Grounds, only for keeper Mark Oxley to athletically turn over the ball.

Korey Smith shot low at keeper McLaughlin while Clarke-Harris burst clean through only for McLaughlin to save well at his feet.

Bradford took the lead in the 21st minute with a goal which was a replica of Wells' effort which struck the crossbar minutes before. This time Wells found the roof of the net as opposed to the crossbar as he scored his 14th goal of the season.

Latics were level within two minutes through a screamer from Clarke-Harris. James Wesolowski made a forward run from midfield before spraying a pass to the left of the penalty area where Clarke-Harris struck an exocet which found the roof of the net.

 Johnson said: "It was a good finish and he certainly has a left-foot boom on him.

"He should have finished the first one when he went through one-on-one with their keeper just before they scored.

"I would rather he had scored the first rather than the second because that is where we need him to be. It was a great strike and take nothing away from him. He has that in his locker."

After a lively opening quarter of the match, the period up to half time saw both sides cancel out each other.

The second half was one in which chances were at a premium, though early on James Tarkowski saw a header flash not far wide of the upright.

Johnson made two changes just after the hour mark as Plummer, who was in danger of being sent off, was replaced by David Mellor while James Dayton made way for Adam Rooney.

Later Michael Petrasso came on for Sidney Schmeltz and he was a constant threat with his foraging bursts down the right.

Latics had a shout for a penalty rejected when a shot from Clarke-Harris struck the hand of defender Matthew Bates.

Bradford also claimed one for a challenge by Grounds on Wells as referee David Webb was again unmoved.

Petrasso cut in from the right and fired narrowly over late on while for Bradford Kyel Reid's shot from the left was palmed out by Mark Oxley as the game finished all square.

The general consensus, including from Johnson, was that a draw was a fair result.

Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Lanzoni, Tarkowski, Grounds, Plummer (Mellor 64); Schmeltz (Petrasso 73), Smith, Wesolowski, Dayton (Rooney 63); Clarke-Harris, Philliskirk. Subs (not used): Winchester, Rodgers, Belezika, Rachubka.

Bradford City (4-4-2): McLaughlin; Darby, Bates, McArdle, Meredith; Thompson (Yeates 78), Jones, Doyle, Reid; Hanson, Wells (McBurnie 90+2). Subs (not used): Kennedy, Ripley, Taylor, Connell, De Vita.

The goals: Clarke Harris (23) for Latics. Wells (21) for Bradford.

Bookings: Plummer (55) for Latics. Hanson (26), Reid (57) for Bradford.

Referee: Mr D Webb.

Attendance: 7,180 (2,742 visitors).


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