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Match Reports

Report: Stags 0-0 Bradford

2 September 2023

Mansfield Town continued their unbeaten start to the season as they earned a point in a game of few chances against Bradford City at One Call Stadium.

Free-scoring Stags are now eight games undefeated in league and cup, but this was their first being unable to register a goal.

The match had 0-0 pretty much written all over it as neither side were able to create any real serious chances - aside from a Davis Keillor-Dunn strike in the second-half which visiting goalkeeper Harry Lewis had to deny.

Stags were unchanged from a memorable mid-week win as they knocked out Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Bradford survived an early scare following two home corners inside the opening four minutes; the last of which saw midfielder George Maris whip in a cross from the right, but Leicester loanee Lewis Brunt fired off target inside a crowded box.

Stags were camped inside the visiting half in the opening stages but Bradford had an opportunity on 14 minutes to register their first shot.

Brunt did well to deny Tyler Smith with a sliding block outside the goal area after Jamie Walker kept the ball in play to send in a hanging cross from the goal line.

Stags’ ‘keeper Christy Pym was needed for the first time on 16 minutes as he got down low to routinely claim Clarke Oduor’s 25-yard drive.

The encounter entered a lengthy quiet spell where neither side was able to muster a chance of note, until the 34th minute when Bradford should have tested Pym.

City’s Ciaran Kelly peeled away at the back post from a corner but the delivery evaded his outstretched leg four yards out.

Stags eventually forced a shot goalwards on 42 minutes as Maris’ hit from the edge of the box deflected behind for a corner.

A minute later, Lucas Akins laid it into the path of fellow frontman Will Swan, who surged into the right of the box to blast high and wide.

At the other end, Bradford broke forward and back-tracking defender Aden Flint had to be  alert at his near near post to turn behind after Brad Halliday whipped a dangerous ball into the six-yard box.

Stags had their best chance of the encounter 11 minutes after the interval when City goalkeeper Harry Lewis had to beat away Davis Keillor-Dunn’s curling left-footed strike from 20 yards.

On the hour, Bradford’s Jamie Walker embarked on a mazy run into the Stags’ box but couldn’t execute an effective shot after being diverted to the goal line.

Back in front of the Quarry Lane End, Mansfield midfielder Ollie Clarke dragged a shot wide from 19 yards after Keillor-Dunn’s initial effort was charged down.

Swan then sped away on the left and looked to square it for Lucas Akins, who was bound to find the net had it not been for Ciaran Kelly’s stretching clearance outside the goal area.

Bradford boss Mark Hughes made a trio of changes with 20 minutes remaining and Stags’ chief Nigel Clough called a first change on 73 minutes as Swan made way for James Gale in attack.

And Gale was immediately in the thick of the action, receiving a yellow card before scuffing a shot from the left of the box after receiving Keillor-Dunn’s left-of-centre pass.

Stags began to up the ante and Bradford’s Sam Stubbs did well to rise high in the goal area and flick behind a hanging cross.

From the following corner, Akins saw his glancing header fly inches wide of the post as Mansfield enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy.

Ollie Clarke was replaced by George Williams on 80 minutes in Stags’ second change.

Two minutes later, Macdonald bent a 19-yard free-kick over the wall and bar after Gale was brought down outside the box.

In the 89th minute, Baily Cargill was introduced for midfielder George Maris before referee Leigh Doughty sounded the final whistle after four minutes ‘ stoppage time.

STAGS: Pym, Bowery, Flint, Brunt, Macdonald, Reed, Maris (Cargill 89), Clarke (Williams 80), Keillor-Dunn, Swan (Gale 73), Akins

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Cooper, O'Toole, Abdullah

BRADFORD: Lewis, Halliday, Platt, Smallwood, Walker (Ridehalgh 70), Osadebe, Oduor (Pointon 59), Smith (Derbyshire 70), Stubbs, Kelly, Richards (Tulloch 70)

UNUSED SUBS: Doyle, Oyegoke, Afoke

REFEREE: Leigh Doughty

ATTENDANCE:  8,535 (1,671 Bradford fans)

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