Fleetwood Town 1-1 Bradford CityAn early free-kick from Jimmy Ryan ensured Town secured a well-deserved point against Bradford City at Highbury Stadium.
The midfielder scored his second goal for the Club in the third minute but Town were pegged back 15 minutes later through James Hanson.
Fleetwood Town made two changes from the 1-1 draw against Rochdale seven days ago. Conor McLaughlin was immediately reinstalled to the defence after returning from international duty with Northern Ireland.
Striker Jamille Matt was rewarded with a starting place after his late equaliser against Dale as he partnered Jamie Proctor in attack, David Ball named amongst the substitutes. Eggert Jonsson wasn’t included in the matchday squad.
Former FTFC loan star Josh Morris, last season’s top goal scorer, started on left wing for the Bantams.
In the third minute, Fleetwood Town silenced the noisy away support from Yorkshire as they took the lead in somewhat fortunate circumstances.
Matt was manhandled by Bantams centre back Rory McArdle from 30-yards, resulting in the referee awarded Town a free-kick.
Ryan stepped up to curl the ball into the penalty area but the wind seemed to catch hold of the pass and caught Ben Williams off guard and the ball tumbled across the goal line, with Matt supplying heavy pressure on the goalkeeper.
The Cod Army were strutting their stuff around confidently on a blustery afternoon on the Fylde Coast with Matt in particular proving a nuisance for the opposition backline.
Ryan claimed his second piece opportunity of the afternoon in the 17th minute after skipper Antoni Sarcevic was brought to his knees. Town’s number eight, from 20-yards, curled the ball over the frame into the Percy Ronson stand.
With their first attack of the game, Bradford City equalised and it is a goal Town will be disappointed to have conceded.
Fleetwood conceded possession on the half way line, as Morris broke down the left to supply a cross for Hanson to side foot home.
Tempers started to flair at Highbury Stadium and emotions were getting high as heavy challenges were coming in frequently in a stereotypical fiery League One contest.
A nice one-two between Sarcevic and Proctor resulted in the latter putting in a cross into the penalty box crying out for someone to turn home, but Matt and Tyler Forbes missed on the follow ups as the clock struck 3.30pm.
Both teams battled to try and take a lead into the half time interval but the scores stayed level ahead of an eagerly anticipated second half.
In a tight opening to the second period, City started to implement their physical presence on the game.
This was shown in abundance with their first chance as McArdle bundled over the Town defence to direct a header into the side netting.
A minute later, Devante Cole, son of former Man United striker Andy, missed a great opening with the goal gaping, he missed a header following a cross from Mark Marshall.
On the hour mark, Graham Alexander made his first alteration, Bobby Grant, who grabbed the assist for the goal against Rochdale, introduced in place of Lyle Della-Verde.
Cole, under the watchful eye of his dad, was growing into the match as the clock ticked by and it looked as if he handed his side the lead with 25 minutes remaining.
Turning away from the Fleetwood Town backline, Cole hit a ferocious effort against the underside of the bar, a big let off for the Cod Army!
Slowly Town began to ease themselves back into the match after weathering a brief Bradford storm as Matt had two chances, one a spectacular overhead kick which was caught, the other, a header which went over the bar.
With the all-important third goal still yet to be claimed, substitute Grant came within a whisker of grabbing the accolade with both hands.
A free-kick on the right flank from 20 plus yards, Grant stepped up and put the ball into the mixer zone, only for Williams to scramble the ball away with no red shirts able to follow in to tap home.
The second Fleetwood change saw Jack Sowerby replace number nine Proctor. The youngster was making only his second appearance for the Cod Army, the previous last month against Colchester United.
In the dying moments, it looked like Bradford City had won it through a free-kick from substitute Lee Evans but the linesman ruled the free-kick out for offside as Town claimed a deserved point.
Next up for Fleetwood Town is Wigan Athletic away on Saturday 19th September, 3pm kick-off.