Sky Bet League 1
Preston North End 2 (Clarke 32, Wright 68)
Bradford City 2 (Hanson 5, McArdle 73)
Kick Off: 7.45pm
Attendance: 11,485 (2,910 visitors)
Pictures kindly provided by Claire Epton
City produced a morale-boosting and commendable performance to earn a share of spoils from a pulsating Roses derby against Preston North End this Tuesday evening.
Having taken the lead via a fifth minute header from James Hanson, Phil Parkinson's men were pegged back thanks to headed efforts from Tom Clarke and Bailey Wright either side of half-time - both of which came from Preston set-pieces.
The Bantams weren't down for long, however, as Rory McArdle rose to head home a Gary Jones corner barely five minutes after Wright's effort had given Preston the lead for the first time on the night.
City thought they had retaken the lead just eight minutes from time when Hanson headed home from a Jones wide free-kick but the big striker was flagged for a narrow, but correct, offside call.
Roared on by nearly 3,000 passionate City followers, Parkinson's side were good value for their point and will have left Deepdale in a positive frame of mind after back-to-back defeats in their previous two league outings.
They could even argue that they finished the game the stronger and could have snatched all three points at the end, with Jones forcing Preston 'keeper Declan Rudd to tip over after a strike from outside the area two minutes from time.
With Kyel Reid playing the role of chief tormentor, City actually started the contest brightly as well and took an early lead thanks to Hanson's sixth of the season.
On his first league start for the Bantams, Raffaele De Vita was the man to provide the assist when his flighted cross to the far post picked out Hanson to give the powerful forward the simple task of sending a downward header past Rudd from around six yards out.
Although Preston - with their 3-5-2 formation - were seeing a lot of the ball and looking to threaten City's backline on more than one occasion, it was City who engineered the next clear-cut chance of the match through the danger-man Reid.
Reid, who would go onto cause Preston all sorts of problems throughout the night with his direct running, saw his strike from outside the area midway into the first period crash into Rudd's near post after the Preston 'keeper had failed to convincingly deal with the dipping effort.
After largely dealing with the pace of Preston's wing-backs and the movement of their forward players, City will have been disappointed then with the manner that the hosts were allowed to equalise just past the half hour mark.
Scott Laird's searching free-kick found the run of former Bantams loanee Clarke, who escaped the attentions of his marker to plant a header past a helpless Jon McLaughlin and into the far bottom corner from close range.
After regrouping at the break, City began the second period in positive fashion and came close to restored their lead in the fixture five minutes after the break when De Vita fired narrowly wide following James Meredith's low cross into the area.
With the half quickly developing into a highly-entertaining affair, McLaughlin was the next player to catch the attention of the Deepdale crowd when he produced a stunning reaction save to deny Chris Humphrey ten minutes into the second period.
Stuart Beavon's dangerous low centre across the six yard box just beat the stretching Kevin Davies in the middle but still found the lurking Humphrey just past the far post.
From a tight angle, Humphrey fired for goal barely yards out but a grounded McLaughlin somehow had the presence of mind to thrust up an arm and tip the powerful effort over the bar.
Hosts Preston continued to see their fair share of the ball as the half progressed past the hour mark but, apart from Beavon's shot narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area, they were falling to trouble McLaughlin after his wonder save.
The next meaningful effort of the entertaining contest, in fact, fell the Bantams' way when Stephen Darby feed Reid into plenty of space down Preston's left flank.
Cutting in onto his favoured left foot, Reid let fly with an angled drive from just inside the area that whistled barely a yard or so past Rudd's far post.
However, after being caught out by a Preston set-piece in the first period, City were undone again - probably in a worse manner - in the second period by another dead-ball situation.
Preston centre back Wright was unfortunately allowed to wander into the box completely unmarked to connect with a Laird corner and head into the far corner via the inside of the post despite Jones' attempts on the line.
The hosts' lead didn't last for long, however, as City got themselves back on level terms when McArdle rose to power home Jones' corner right in front of the Bantams' mass of travelling supporters.
The goal deservedly got Parkinson's men back in the game and, although Preston continued to edge proceedings in the possession stakes, it was City who made almost all of the scoring chances in the game's closing stages.
Hanson had the ball in the net with time running out but his thumping header was ruled out after the striker had moved a fraction too early to connect with Jones' delivery from a wide free-kick.
Jones then tested Rudd with a dipping strike from outside the area. An unmarked Reid was screaming for the pass to the left of the City skipper, but Jones, who seem to become more and more dominant in midfield as the game progressed, at least forced the home shot-stopper into conceding a corner when he tipped over.
Veteran striker Kevin Davies was on the end of the last opening of the game but he headed a couple of yards over from an injury time corner to ensure City left Deepdale with a fully-merited point in their pocket.
FT: Preston North End 2 Bradford City 2
90+3min: Davies heads a couple of yards over following Holmes' corner delivery into the area.
90+2min: SUB - Preston bring on David Buchanan for Humphrey.
90min: There will be four minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
89min: Reid goes off on another lung-bursting run deep into Preston's half but this time his latest attempt to worry the home defence ends with the winger firing comfortably over from distance.
88min: Jones lets rip with a fierce rising drive from around 25 yards out that Rudd reaches up to tip over the bar.
84min: SUB - Preston bring Iain Hume for Beavon.
82min: GOAL!!!!!.....NO! City think they have retaken the lead when Hanson heads home following Jones' wide delivery into the area direct from a free-kick. City's celebrations are cut short, however, by the linesman's flag for offside.
79min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Caleb Folan for Thompson.
77min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Jason Kennedy for De Vita.
76min: SUB - Preston bring on Lee Holmes for Josh Brownhill.
73min: GOAL!!!!! Preston North End 2 Bradford City 2 - City are quickly level though! McArdle rises highest to meet a Gary Jones corner and send a thumping header past Rudd.
68min: GOAL - Preston North End 2 Bradford City 1 - Poor marking from City from a home corner allows Preston to take the lead for the first time on the night. Wright is left completely unmarked to head Laird's flighted cross into the net via the far post.
65min: Stephen Darby's well-timed ball down the line places Reid in plenty of space down the Bantams'. Reid drives into the area but cutting in onto his favoured left foot and drilling a rising drive narrowly wide of Rudd's far post.
59min: Beavon's shot on the turn from just outside the area following Davies' flick on flies a yard or so over McLaughlin's bar.
54min: McLaughlin produces a stunning reaction save to deny Humphrey! Beavon's dangerous ball right across the six yard box is just missed by the stretching Davies as the low cross flashes across City's goal. Humphrey is lurking over by the far side, however, and fizzes in a fierce drive from a tight angle about five yards out that McLaughlin somehow manages to repel by sticking up an arm and tipping the effort over the bar.
52min: Welsh's rising angled drive from just outside the penalty box sails a few yards wide of McLaughlin's goal.
51min: Beavon's effort on the slide following Humphrey's cross into the area deflects off McArdle before flying narrowly past City's goal-frame and out for a corner.
50min: James Meredith's low cross into the area is left by Thompson for De Vita, who fires a yard or so wide of Rudd's top corner from around twelve yards out.
48min: After some good hold up play, Garry Thompson shoots for goal from around 20 yards out but his low effort is simple enough for Rudd to cling onto.
46min: Preston restart the match.
HT: Preston North End 1 Bradford City 1
45min: There will be three minutes of time added on at the end of the first half.
40min: Hanson's goal-bound header from a Reid cross is blocked right in front of goal by the diving Paul Huntington before the effort has opportunity to trouble Rudd.
32min: GOAL - Preston North End 1 Bradford City 1 - Former City loanee Tom Clarke equalises for the home team when he connects with Laird's far post delivery from a Preston free-kick to head home from close range into the bottom corner.
30min: YELLOW CARD - Bailey Wright is the next to go into the referee's note book when he brings down Reid as the winger looks to drive towards the box at pace from a wide position.
29min: Kevin Davies has the strength to hold off Rory McArdle and connect with Humphrey's hanging cross but the Preston striker's header is straight at McLaughlin.
25min: YELLOW CARD - John Welsh is booked for bringing Reid down with a late challenge as the winger surged into Preston's half at pace.
22min:WOODWORK! - Kyel Reid gets the time and space to run deep into Preston territory after robbing Wright of the ball just inside the hosts' half. Just as the winger is about to reach Preston's penalty area, Reid lets rip with a dipping drive that Rudd just about manages to get something on in rather unconvincing fashion before the ball ricochets off the inside 'keeper's near post and away.
20min: Running at pace, Chris Humphrey drives into the area before cutting inside and firing wildly over the bar from around fourteen yards out with an effort on his weaker left-foot.
14min: Beavon's shot on the turn from just outside the area flies only a yard or so over Jon McLaughlin's bar.
5min: GOAL!!!!! Preston North End 0 Bradford City 1 - Hanson isn't denied for long, however! Shortly after Clarke's block, Raffaele De Vita helps the ball back into the box with a hanging cross that Hanson meets at the far post with a downward header that squeezes past Declan Rudd's clutches.
5min: James Hanson is denied by fine block from Tom Clarke after the striker found himself in shooting space inside Preston's penalty area.
2min: Rory McArdle blocks an effort from the edge of the area by Stuart Beavon before left wing back Scott Laird lashes the loose ball well wide of goal with a strike from around 20 yards out.
0min: The Bantams kick off the match. They will defend the goal housing their estimated 3,000+ followers in the first half.
PRESTON NORTH END LINE UP
Rudd, Clarke, Huntington, Wright, Humphrey, Laird, Keane, Welsh, Brownhill, Beavon, Davies
Subs: Stuckmann, Holmes, Byrom, Garner, Buchanan, Mousinho, Hume
Holmes for Brownhill (76), Hume for Beavon (84), Buchanan for Humphrey (90+2)
Welsh (25), Wright (30)
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP
McLaughlin, Darby, McArdle, Bates, Meredith, De Vita, Jones, Doyle, Reid, Thompson, Hanson
Subs: Ripley, Kennedy, Yeates, Taylor, McHugh, Connell, Folan
Kennedy for De Vita (77), Folan for Thompson (79)
Referee: D Coote
Assistant Referee: P Gooch
Assistant Referee: I Siddall
Fourth Official: R Jones