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BRADFORD CITY 1 SWINDON TOWN 1: Full-time report
SWINDON Town finished 2013 with a 1-1 draw at Bradford City, thanks to Alex Pritchard’s stunning equaliser.
Pritchard galloped through four tackles on a mazy, 40-yard run after 63 minutes of the clash to level matters after Rory McArdle had headed Bradford in front in the first half.
Town were impressive in withstanding the physical test presented by their Yorkshire hosts in a pulsating match at Valley Parade.
Robins manager Mark Cooper made two changes to his starting line-up, dropping the enigmatic Ranger out of the matchday squad altogether after he once again failed to turn up for training and drafting in Jay McEveley and Louis Thompson. Ryan Mason was named as a substitute.
Despite starting the game well, passing the ball at a high tempo, Town went behind in the 15th minute when McArdle’s header from Gary Jones’ left-wing corner cannoned into the back of the net off the underside of the crossbar.
The strike was a hammer-blow for the Robins, who had more than held their own up until that point and went on to be the better side for the rest of the first half.
Nathan Byrne headed into the sidenetting, Pritchard fired over and Nicky Ajose’s touch let him down when he was played through by Yaser Kasim. Although Bradford briefly came back into the contest with a shot from Nahki Wells which fizzed wide, Swindon were firmly in control of everything bar the scoreboard.
Pritchard again tested McLaughlin in the 38th minute and then curled a free-kick wide from 20 yards with five minutes remaining of the first half but a frustrated Town went into the break trailing.
James Hanson wasted a good chance to double the Bantams’ lead in the seventh minute of the second period, heading at Wes Foderingham from six yards, before Pritchard dragged wide from the edge of the box.
Swindon finally found an equaliser in the 63rd minute in sensational style. Pritchard picked the ball up midway inside the Bradford half and wide on the right and proceeded to run around four tackles before firing beyond McLaughlin.
Both sides had chances to win the game, with Pritchard, Miles Storey and Nathan Byrne going close for the Robins, but from a physical game Swindon should be satisfied with a point.
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