Bradford City 1 v 1 Swindon Town (Skybet League One)
As the final game of the year took place at Valley Parade, the chairmen, players and supporters can look back on 2013 as the best year in the club’s history. Bradford City reached Wembley twice in 2013, the first time in the Capital One Cup Final before they returned to win promotion to Skybet League One.
Swindon Town had the first two shots of the game, when on loan Tottenham midfielder Alex Pritchard went close with two right footed efforts from the edge of the Bradford penalty area, his first effort went over the Bradford City crossbar and the second attempt was well saved by Jon McLaughlin.
Bradford then started to take control and on twelve minutes James Hanson had a right footed shot blocked at the edge of the Swindon box. A minute later Ricky Ravenhill shot from the centre of the Swindon area only to see his effort go wide of the left-hand post.
Nahki Wells then took aim at the Swindon Town goal on fifteen minutes, but his right footed shot was blocked and went out for a Bradford corner. Gary Jones took the resulting corner, which was headed home by Rory McArdle to give Bradford City a 1-0 lead.
Swindon then went close on twenty minutes when Nathan Thompson hit a shot from inside the area, which was well saved by Jon McLaughlin down to his right-hand post. Darren Ward should have scored on twenty-five minutes when he put his header wide from close range.
On twenty-seven minutes, Nahki Wells pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury, Wells was unable to continue and he left the field for what could be the last time in a Bradford City shirt. The transfer window is set to open in just two days time and a number of championship teams are rumoured to be interested in the City striker.
Mark Yeates came on to replace Nahki Wells, but it was Swindon who had the final two efforts of the half, when Alex Pritchard tested Jon McLaughlin in the Bradford goal but the goalkeeper saved well to give Bradford a 1-0 lead at half-time.
At the start of the second half, James Hanson had two headed efforts at goal in the first ten minutes but both were well saved by Fotheringham in the Swindon Town goal.
Swindon’s Alex Pritchard finally got his reward on sixty-two minutes, having taken the ball down on the right wing, the midfielder beat six Bradford players on a 40 yard run before slotting the ball passed McLaughlin in the Bradford goal to bring Swindon Town level.
Bradford continued to press for a winning goal and had a number of chances in the final ten minutes of the match through Nathan Doyle, Mark Yeates and Kyel Reid. However the game and the year ended with a 1-1 draw leaving the Bantams tenth in Skybet League One.
After the match manager Phil Parkinson said, “We got the lead, which is something we’d been craving because we hadn’t had that at home for a while, but unfortunately for us (Alex) Pritchard has produced a tremendous goal. We will look at the defending, as always, but it definitely was a top-class goal”.
Bradford City – McLaughlin, Darby, Meredith, McHugh, McArdle, Ravenhill, Jones, Thompson, Reid, Hanson, Wells (Sub) Ripley, Kennedy, Yeates, Bates, Doyle, Clarkson, McBurnie
Swindon Town – Fotheringham, N.Thompson, Byrne, Luongo, Hall, Pritchard, McEveley, Kasim, L.Thompson, Ward, Ajose (Sub) Belford, Harley, Mason, Storey, Barthram, Branco, Gladwin
Goals – (Bradford City) McArdle (16) (Swindon Town) Pritchard (63)
Attendance – 13,461