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Match Reports

Report: Bradford 1-1 Stags

4 February 2023

Match Reports

Report: Bradford 1-1 Stags

4 February 2023

Alfie Kilgour’s stoppage time header earned Mansfield a deserved point in a pulsating encounter away to promotion rivals Bradford.

Bantams’ frontman Andy Cook nodded home from a corner on 29 minutes against his old side, but Kilgour salvaged a point for the Stags late on.

Mansfield battled courageously, especially after being forced to make three substitutions in the first 34 minutes.

And their heavy pressure in the second-half could have even merited maximum points.

Manager Nigel Clough made two changes from the side that beat Doncaster Rovers 4-1 last weekend.

Kieran Wallace and captain Ollie Clarke replaced the injured Stephen McLaughlin and Hiram Boateng.

Davis Keillor-Dunn was named on the bench for the first time since signing on deadline day.

Stags made the brighter start to the contest, however, it was Bradford who carved out the game’s first opening after five minutes.

Advancing through the middle, captain Alex Gilliead threaded a lovely weighted ball through to Abo Eisa, who found space beyond the Stags defence to strike inside the box. But Mansfield ‘keeper Scott Flinders made a fine stop to his right to prevent an early Bantams’ breakthrough.

Nigel Clough was forced into a first change in the tenth minute when midfielder Louis Reed was replaced by George Maris in a like-for-like change.

After a quarter of an hour, midfielder Stephen Quinn clipped a clever free-kick into the box, although the move was short lived when striker Rhys Oates was adjudged to have handled.

Two minutes later, central defender Alfie Kilgour came to Stags’ rescue to stab behind a dangerous cross into the centre of the box from Gilliead.

Stags’ injury concerns grew when striker Rhys Oates was withdrawn in the 22nd minute following treatment, clutching his left shoulder as he was replaced by debutant Davis Keillor-Dunn.

And he almost made an immediate impact, showing some neat touches to knock forward for Akins, but the Bantams got bodies around the Stags’ striker inside the goal area to clear.

Bradford missed a chance to smash the deadlock when Jamie Walker dragged his low drive narrowly off target from the left of the box.

Then inside half-an-hour, Bradford poked their noses in front.

From a fourth home corner, Cook powered home a bullet header, which despite Flinders’ best efforts, flew into the net.

Kieran Wallace entered the referee’s notebook for a late foul on Walker.

Stags had to make a third change, due to injury, with less than 10 first-half minutes to play as Jordan Bowery came on for Callum Johnson.

Mansfield came close to a leveller in the 40th minute following an eye-catching move which ended with Keillor-Dunn firing wide from Bowery’s right-wing cross.

Stags were on the back foot when Bradford burst forward a minute later.

Walker roamed goalwards before slipping a ball to Cook, whose attempt took a big deflection to spin into the side netting.

Nigel Clough’s men had their best chance of the half just seconds before six minutes were added on at the end of the half.

Elliott Hewitt, tugging the right touchline, swung a superb left-footed cross into the box which Keillor-Dunn headed towards goal, sending Lewis sprawling to tip over the bar.

At the break, strikers Danny Johnson and Will Swan were introduced for Quinn and Wallace as Stags switched to a 3-4-1-2.

With a minute of the second-half played, Flinders palmed behind a snapshot by Cook from the edge of the area.

Both sides had similar efforts saved within an end-to-end minute, as Walker, for the hosts, and Clarke for the visitors, both saw shots stopped.

Flinders – in tip-top form - produced an outstanding one-handed save in the 55th minute.

Cook weaved his way into the box to strike, but Flinders met it with a brilliant hand to turn behind.

As the game opened up, Swan was unable to get a clean shot away from outside the box as Lewis gratefully gathered.

James Perch was shown a yellow card shortly before the hour for a careless tackle on Gilliead.

Stags were attacking with extra purpose and power in the second half and Swan tried his luck again on 53 minutes.

Akins squared to the Forest loanee, 25 yards from goal, though his attempt was routinely held by Lewis.

On 72 minutes, Cook went into the book for the Bantams after hacking down Akins.

And moments later, Stags almost found an equaliser.

Keillor-Dunn launched a left-sided free-kick into the box and after Lewis raced out to punch thin air, his blushes were spared by Tolaji Bola, who darted to the goalline to hook clear and prevent a certain goal.

Mark Hughes, the Bantams manager, made a double on 75 minutes before two of Stags’ new signings combined to almost restore parity.

Keillor-Dunn drifted in from the right and Kilgour rose highest to power a bullet header against the top of the bar.

Bradford were now under heavy pressure and Keillor-Dunn had an effort near the penalty spot blocked as Stags upped in the ante even further in the final ten minutes.

A yellow card was then brandished to Jordan Bowery in the 84th minute for a late tackle near halfway.

As Mansfield kept their foot on the accelerator, Maris cracked one wide from 25 yards.

Stags finally got their reward a minute into seven minutes of stoppage time.

With Bradford’s backs to the wall, Hewitt scampered down the right to cross for Kilgour, who powered a header into the ground and over the line to send almost 2,000 Stags’ fans into raptures and earn a valuable point.

BRADFORD:  Lewis, Halliday, Platt, Crichlow, Bola, Clayton, Gilliead, East (Nevers 75), Walker (Chapman 75), Eisa, Cook

UNUSED SUBS: Oliver, Derbyshire, Costelloe, Stubbs, Doyle

STAGS: Flinders, C. Johnson (Bowery 36), Hewitt, Kilgour, Perch, Wallace (D. Johnson H/T), Reed (Maris 10), Clarke, Quinn (Swan H/T), Akins, Oates (Keillor-Dunn 22)

UNUSED SUBS: Mason, Harbottle

REFEREE: Alan Young

ATTENDANCE: 18,755 (1,852 Stags’ fans)

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