Bradford City 0 v 0 Blackburn Rovers (Pre-Season Friendly)
Bradford City welcomed Championship side Blackburn Rovers to a hot and humid Coral Windows Stadium, for the latest pre-season fixture. The Bantams more than held their own in an entertaining goalless draw against higher-ranked opponents, just two weeks before their Sky Bet League 1 opener with Coventry City.
In a fairly even game it was Blackburn Rovers who edged the first twenty minutes of the game, but with Jordan Rhodes missing from their attack, Rovers failed to take their chances despite Chris Taylor and Jason Lowe going close early in the first half.
After about twenty-five minutes the Bantam’s started to control the game following some excellent runs by Billy Clarke and Raffaele De Vita, unfortunately for De Vita had to leave the field with an injury to be replaced by Mark Yeates.
City continue to put pressure on the Blackburn goal and in the final fifteen minutes of the half they forced Blackburn into a number of errors around their own box, this lead to a number of free kicks, but City failed to take advantage of them.
Billy Clarke had City’s best chance of the first-half on forty minutes, when he found himself clear inside the Blackburn penalty area, but just as he was about to shoot Alex Baptiste made a late challenge to deny him a goal.
Phil Parkinson made just one change at half-time replacing goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, the recent loan signing from Sunderland was making his debut for the club. Matt Urwin former Blackburn goalkeeper played the second half, as he looks to win a contract at Valley Parade.
City controlled the second half for long periods with some excellent passing through midfield and some great runs from Billy Clarke, Mark Yeates and James Hanson. As the half went on Blackburn got more and more frustrated which in turn lead to some very dangerous late tackles.
Bradford made a number of changes around the seventy minute mark with Jason Kennedy, Oliver McBurnie, Lewis Clarkson, Christopher Routis, and James Meredith all coming off the bench.
City continued to have the advantage and following an excellent run down the left wing Alan Sheehan cut inside the Rovers area before taking the ball along the bye-line and firing an excellent shot, which was saved by the chest of Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
On seventy-five minutes Rovers changed all eleven players, giving a run out to their reserves and youth players along with Blackburn favourite David Dunn and the experienced Luke Varney.
In the final ten minutes, Lewis Clarkson and Oliver McBurnie caused the new Blackburn back four a number of problems as they closed them down and won tackles at the edge of the Rovers box.
Both Clarkson and McBurnie tested Jamie Ashdown in the Blackburn goal, however the goalkeeper made an outstanding double block with his legs to keep the score at 0-0. City also introduced Mo Shariff and Niall Heaton as late substitutes with around eight minutes left on the clock.
Phil Parkinson will again step up the pre-season training at Woodhouse Grove before the visit of Hartlepool United next Saturday to the Coral Windows Stadium for the final pre-season game of the season.
Speaking after the game manager Phil Parkinson said, “It was a big step-up for us from the Shelbourne game and I felt we coped with it pretty well. I said leading up to the game that I felt we’d learn a lot more about ourselves after a match like this. It was a step-up today to play a Championship side like Blackburn and I felt physically we coped with the game quite well.
We looked in good shape, which is obviously pleasing at this stage of pre-season. We still have two weeks of training to go until the first game of the season and I felt physically we looked good.
In the second half we have restricted them to very little and we had one or two good moments in and around their box. We’ve had a couple of decent strikes on goal that we maybe could have done better with.
We know what we have to do to improve, pre-season is a learning curve especially when you bring in a group of new players, and we are learning all the time.”
Bradford City – Pickford, Darby, Sheehan, Davies, McArdle, Dolan, Liddle, Knott, Hanson, Clarke, De Vita (Subs) Urwin, Routis, Shariff, Yeates, Meredith, Campion, Kennedy, Clarkson, McBurnie, Lambe, Heaton
Blackburn Rovers – Robinson, Baptiste, Spurr, Hanley, Kilgallon, Williamson, Marshall, Lowe, King, Evans, Taylor (Subs) Ashdown, Henley, Lenihan, Songo’o, O’Connell, Tanner, O’Sullivan, Rittenberg, Mahoney, Dunn, Varney
Goals – N/A
Attendance – 2,940