FT HARTLEPOOL UTD 1-1 BRADFORD CITY

Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper walks out before the game against Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper walks out before the game against Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United drew 1-1 against League One Bradford City this afternoon with the countdown to the new season just a week away.

HARTLEPOOL United drew 1-1 against League One Bradford City this afternoon with the countdown to the new season just a week away.

Pools impressed in parts at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford being limited to largely chances from outside the box testimony to their solidity in defence.

It was going forward, though, were Pools struggled to make any meaningful contribution, Luke James and Marlon Harewood both running endlessly but without little avail.

Tommy Miller was handed another chance to impress Colin Cooper, the midfielder lining up alongside Brad Walker in the middle. Stuart Parnaby and Jack Compton operated the right and left flanks respectively.

Neil Austin returned to left-back after his appearance at centre-half against Middlesbrough. Sam Collins paired Matthew Bates in what looked likely to be the favoured back-line next Saturday at Stevenage until Collins was withdrawn after 17 minutes because of a head injury.

Matty Dolan and Gary Liddle both started in central midfield for the Bantams against their former employers.

Scott Flinders was drew into a point-black save on five minutes from Billy Knott after Billy Clarke and Knott dissected the Pools defence from the right with ease.

Jack Compton curled a free-kick just wide of Jordan Pickford’s post before Liddle landed a blow, literally, to Pools and Collins.

The midfielder’s 20-yard attempt hit the defender in the back of the head who fell to the floor, requiring medical attention. Darren Holden replaced him on 17 minutes with Austin moving to centre-back.

A pacey attack for the hosts saw Clarke tee up Yeates but he arrowed his lofted shot wide.

Alan Sheehan was the provider from the flanks for Bradford but Clarke could not apply a finish to the left-back’s delivery, Flinders easily catching the striker’s tame header.

Michael Duckworth then cleared James Hanson’s downwards header that trickled its way through the box off the line, before Liddle dispossessed Luke James of the ball and hit a low drive yards wide of the right post.

Brad Walker failed to control Marlon Harewood’s sumptuous pass from the left. Walker was unmarked just outside of the box with the goal at his mercy.

Yeates charged forward once more but only troubled the advertising boards with his latest shot, while James recorded Pools’ best chance of the half on the cusp of half-time with his header being parried away.

HT: Bradford City 0–0 Hartlepool United

Yeates was denied a goal immediately after the restart, Austin and Walker using their bodies as shields.

Clarke cut in from the left but hit wide before up the other end Harewood and James interlinked well but neither of them managed to muster a shot.

A great cross from Holden located James, however Davies met the ball first and headed it away for a corner that Walker subsequently powered his own header over the bar from.

The attacking improvement from Pools was evident but it was still Bradford who looked the most likely to score.

Hanson towered above Bates and played the ball into the path of the emerging Dolan who ballooned his volley from 8 yards.

There was a let off minutes later for Duckworth who threw the ball invitingly to Yeates. Clarke was set up by his man in two but Flinders dived to his left to keep the ball out.

Compton threaded James in but he couldn’t get a powerful enough shot away from an acute angle, while the trio of Yeates, Knott and Clarke combined again with the latter being denied once more by Flinders from close range.

Walker had a chance deflected by Davies who slid to the floor to turn the ball away.

And then in the space of two minutes there were two goals. Brad Walker side-footed the opener for Pools after Luke James let the ball run to the midfielder who ghosted into the area.

But the lead lasted seconds. Clarke got his reward for his endless running, volleying home from the right through a crowded box.

Clarke ballooned a shot from distance into the stands and then dragged another chance wide from the left.

Bates headed against his own crossbar when a cross from Sheehan, destined for Oliver McBurnie, was met by the rising Bastes who directed the ball towards Flinders.

Harewood tried to locate James in the box but it was sub Mo Sharrif who came closest to scoring, volleying from 25 yards. His shot was arrowed towards the top-corner but Flinders matched his effort in the last chance of the game.

FT: Bradford City – Hartlepool United

Bradford: Pickford, Darby, Davies, McArdle (Routis, 68), Sheehan; Liddle, Dolan (Meredith, 75), Knott (Kennedy, 75).; Yeates (McBurnie, 68), Hanson, Clarke (Sharrif, 85) Subs not used: Urwin, Shariff, Coulson, Hassall, Campion, Heaton.

Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins (Holden, 17), Bates, Austin ; Parnaby (Richards, 71), Miller, Walker, Compton (Franks, 67), James; Harewood. Subs not used: Rafferty, Rowbotham, Nearney, Hawkins, Smith, Jones.