Coventry City 1 Bradford City 1
The Bantams came from behind to record a point at the Ricoh Arena to keep up their play-off hunt.
City weren't quite at their very best in the opening 45 minutes and fell behind on the stroke of half time to a Frank Nouble goal. The second half saw an improved performance by the team and they were probably unlucky not to snatch a winning goal after putting the hosts under pressure following Mark Yeates equalising free kick on 70 minutes.
Phil Parkinson made two changes to the team that were held by Reading at the weekend; Andy Halliday came in for Billy Knott and Francois Zoko came in for Jon Stead, both Knott and Stead dropped to the substitutes bench for this one.
City looked bright in the opening few minutes of the game and should’ve really took the lead inside the third minute. James Meredith crossed low into the area, Billy Clarke couldn’t quite latch onto it and James Hanson scooped it over the bar to let the hosts off the hook.
A few minutes later and Coventry had a big chance of their own, in what was a lively start to the match. Former Sheffield Wednesday forward Marcus Tudgay threaded a ball into the area for Frank Nouble to latch onto but he shot wide of the target, again it was a chance that wasn’t made the most of.
Aaron Martin, who scored twice at Valley Parade for Yeovil back in September almost scored his third against City in just two games. Jim O’Brien floated a cross into the area and the towering centre half beat Ben Williams to the loose ball but fortunately the ball landed on the roof of the net, rather than finding the gaping goal.
Despite City making the better start to the game, Coventry were growing stronger as the half grew older and looked the more likely of the teams to score the opening goal; Aaron Phillips, Sanmi Odelusi and Frank Nouble all had chances before Tudgay was guilty of missing a sitter.
Nouble, who was probably the best player on the night for the hosts, floated a cross to the far post, Phillips headed back across goal and Tudgay headed horribly wide of the target when he should’ve found the target.
Coventry did score the opening goal, however, right on the stroke of half time. Odelusi picked up the ball central to goal before spreading the ball wide to his right and into the path of Phillips who centred for Nouble to turn the ball in at the far post to spark the sparsely populated Ricoh Arena into celebration.
Andrew Davies had to make way at half time with an arm injury to be replaced by Alan Sheehan and Francois Zoko made way for Mark Yeates who went on to have an influential performance in the second half of the match.
Yeates had his first attempt since coming onto the pitch after just a few minutes; after Coventry failed to full clear their lines following Filipe Morais’ free kick and the Irishman fired a low shot from the edge of the area which Lee Burge held relatively comfortably.
The next real effort on goal came from Yeates who looked like he had a real bee in his bonnet and looked to make his impact on the game clear to all. He cut inside from the left flank and onto his right foot in his trademark way before seeing a low drive from 25 yards, again held by Burge.
Filipe Morais didn’t always have regular opportunities to directly exploit the Coventry left back Chris Stokes but on this occasion he found a yard on him to cut inside onto his weaker left foot before hammering a shot from outside the area that went a yard or two over the bar.
City were pushing firmly for an equaliser and they got one on 70 minutes and it was an excellent goal. After Andy Halliday was fouled by Aaron Martin on the edge of the area, Yeates punished the hosts with an exquisite free kick from the edge of the area which found the bottom corner.
The Bantams had a real spell following the equaliser where they certainly looked the more likely of the two teams to score the next goal, but following this spell, Coventry had a couple of opportunities. Frank Nouble counter attacked down the left hand side but after being stood up excellently by Stephen Darby and Rory McArdle, he fired wide.
Nouble had another opportunity down the left hand side to get into the area and he did on this occasion, beating Darby and Morais with some neat footwork before becoming off balance and seeing a low centre swept up by Ben Williams.
Substitute forward Nick Proschwitz, who is on loan to Coventry from Brentford, missed a glorious opportunity of putting his side back in front with time running out. Chris Stokes crossed low into the area and Alan Sheehan mis-kicked before the big frontman fired yards wide of the target from about 10 yards out. A real let off for City!
The game finished 1-1 although the Bantams almost snatched it in the last minute; Billy Clarke picked up the ball and drove forward into the channel, he turned away from his marker before crossing into the area, Hanson met the delivery with a downward header but Burge made a great save to deny the Bantams a late winner.