Bristol Rovers 1-1 Bradford City
Attendance: 9,043 (715 away)
Chris Lines' third goal of the season allowed Rovers to take an early lead at the Mem against Bradford, but the midfielder's goal was cancelled out by a Nicky Law strike just ten minutes later. An excellent second half performance from Rovers 'keeper Joe Lumley kept the scores level, as Rovers stretch their unbeaten home run to six games.
Heading into the encounter Rovers named two changes to the side that faced Rochdale last Saturday, with Daniel Leadbitter and Cristian Montano coming into the starting XI, at the expense of Billy Bodin and Joe Partington.
The visitors made just one change, with Nathaniel Knight-Percival replacing the injured Josh Cullen, with their new signing Charlie Wyke included in the starting eleven, following his debut goal last weekend.
Rovers started the game with a high intensity and forced Bradford into conceding a series of early corners, but weren't able to take full advantage of several in-swinging deliveries from Chris Lines.
The Rovers defence had to be alert early on when Billy Clarke took advantage of a loose ball on the edge of the area following a Bradford break, with the striker waiting patiently for the ball to drop before connecting well with a right-footed volley that had to be deflected away by Ryan Sweeney.
The deadlock was broken in the fifteenth minute when Ollie Clarke broke into the area and forced Bradford goalkeeper Colin Doyle into making a save down low, but the ball was recycled by Chris Lines inside the box, with the midfielder turning neatly to put the ball onto his left foot and to open up a path to goal and he was able to direct a shot that curled into the bottom corner to put Rovers into the lead.
Immediately following the goal Bradford came close to equalising when a Tony McMahon cross was played across the face of goal and the midfielders pass was narrowly missed by both Mark Marshall and Charlie Wyke.
Rovers advantage lasted just ten minutes, as Bradford's Nicky Law picked up the ball and played a one-two on the fringes of the area with Charlie Wyke, which allowed Law to receive the ball inside the box unmarked and midfielder kept his composure to lift a finish out of the reach of Joe Lumley to level the scores.
As half-time approached, Rovers created a golden chance to restore their advantage when Chris Lines won possession and set off on a surging run to the byline which allowed the midfielder to deliver a dangerous cross that was cleared into the path of Cristian Montano, but the winger fired his first-time effort well over the crossbar. Montano's chance was quickly followed by a long-range effort from Ellis Harrison that skidded across the surface and had to be pushed away by Doyle, as the teams headed into the break level.
Moments after the restart Joe Lumley was called into action to deny Tony McMahon, as the right-back sent a driven effort from inside the area that required the Rovers' 'keeper to get down to his left to push the effort away from goal.
Rovers registered a threating chance when Luke James was played the ball to his feet and showed a neat turn of pace to get past his man and produce a cross into the box that picked out Ellis Harrison, but at full stretch, the striker could only cushion his effort narrowly past the post.
Joe Lumley made a series of vital saves midway through the second half to ensure the scores stayed level. The first coming when Roman Vincelot angled a lofted ball into the area, which fell kindly for Nathaniel Knight-Percival and the defender was on target with a powerful attempt, but Lumley somehow got his body behind the shot to deflect the effort away from goal. The save was quickly followed with Lumley producing a fine reaction save on the line to deny Charlie Wyke from close-range.
Rovers had a late chance when Ryan Sweeney came close with a headed effort from a corner, but the defenders header rose over the crossbar, as both sides were unable to forge any late clear cut chances to score a dramatic late winner.
Next up for Rovers is the visit of high-flying Sheffield United on Tuesday evening.
Rovers: Joe Lumley; Daniel Leadbitter, Tom Lockyer (C), Ryan Sweeney, Lee Brown; Ollie Clarke, Chris Lines, Stuart Sinclair, Cristian Montano (70' Ryan Broom) Ellis Harrison (70' Rory Gaffney), Luke James (88' Jamie Lucas).
Substitutes: Will Puddy (GK), Bob Harris, Joe Partington, Jonny Burn.
Bradford City: Colin Doyle (G), James Meredith, Nicky Law, Roman Vincelot (C), Mark Marshall, Timothee Dieng, Charlie Wyke, Billy Clarke (80' Jordy Hiwula), Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Rory McArdle, Tony McMahon.
Substitutes: Rouven Sattelmaier, Stephen Darby, Kevin Toner, Matthew Penny, Alex Gilliead, Daniel Devine.