Peterborough United failed to make up any ground on the League One leaders after failing to beat rock bottom Bradford City at the ABAX Stadium today (November 17).
It finished 1-1 with half-time Posh substitute Ivan Toney equalising an an early goal from City skipper Anthony O’Connor.
Posh enjoyed lots of possession, but created very little throughout the game. Only two shots on the City goal were recorded by visiting statisticians.
The predictable pre-match warnings about Bradford City being too good to go down were made, but Posh took no heed in the early stages.
The visitors started brightly. Debutant right-back Paul Caddis forced a comfortable save from Aaron Chapman in the third minute and Jack Payne forced a rather better one in the 10th minute after City were allowed to dribble the ball into the home area.
But from the corner City took the lead anyway. The first cross was cleared, but Hope Akpan bundled it back into the area with little resistance enabling centre-back O’Connor to fire home from close range.
And that was that as far as City were concerned for the rest of the half. A wing-back system reverted to a five-man defence and 10 men permanently behind the ball. Posh were donated as much possession as they wanted and challenged to break through.
It was a challenge they failed miserably before the break. Their passing was patient, but too slow. Marcus Maddison, recalled to the starting line-up for the day at least, couldn’t find his range from multiple set-pieces and City had no alarms up until the interval as Matt Godden fought a valiant lone battle against three centre-backs.
Left-back Tyler Denton did sling in a couple of decent crosses, but Posh struggled to get on the end of them.
Toney and Siriki Dembele were introduced at half-time for right-back Jason Naismith and Jamie Walker and they helped improve the Posh tempo.
Posh still delivered numerous poor crosses straight into keeper Richard O’Donnell’s hands, but finally Maddison found a defence splitting pass in the 61st minute.
Toney was the recipient and he finished expertly as City’s defence and manager raged at the assistant referee for not flagging the Posh striker offside.
Ryan Tafazolli immediately powered a free header straight at a defender from a corner, but anyone expecting an onslaught against the strugglers were sadly mistaken.
Posh lost their shape and made some woeful decisions in possession. They continued to cross the ball badly and City looked as likely to win the game.
Indeed it took a fantastic, and rather surprising, piece of tracking back and blocking from Maddison to deny Jack Payne a second City goal 15 minutes from time.
The game became stretched and very end-to-end but Posh failed to make O’Donnell make a single save, a disappointing and rather worrying statistic.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith (sub Siriki Dembele 46 mins), Tyler Denton, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed, Joe Ward, Marcus Maddison, Jamie Walker (sub Ivan Toney, 46 mins), Matt Godden (sub Jason Cummings, 74 mins).
Unused substitutes: Mark Tyler, Mark O’Hara, George Cooper, Sebastien Bassong.
Bradford City: Richard O’Donnell, Nat Knight-Percival, Anthony O’Connor, Ryan McGowan, Adam Chicksen, Hope Akpan (sub James O’Brien, 62 mins), Lewis O’Brien, Paul Caddis, David Ball, Jack Payne, Eoin Doyle (sub George Miller, 71 mins).
Goals: Posh - Toney (61 mins).
City - O’Connor (11 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Reed (foul).
City - Akpan (foul), Caddis (foul), L. O’Brien (foul), J. O’Brien (foul).
Referee: Scott Oldham 8
Attendance: 8,046 .