Bradford City 1 v 1 Hartlepool United (Pre-Season Friendly)
Former Bradford City assistant manager Colin Cooper brought is Hartlepool United side to the Coral Windows Stadium for the final pre-season friendly of the season. Cooper’s Hartlepool side also featured former Bantams Jack Compton and last season’s loanee Matthew Bates.
Bradford started the game well and almost took the lead after four minutes, Billy Clarke feed Billy Knott with an incisive ball on the right of the Hartlepool penalty area but his drilled finish was palmed away by Scott Flinders at his near post.
Former City player Jack Compton then went close for the visitor’s when his free-kick from the right corner of the penalty area flashed across the box and just wide of the far post.
On seventeen minutes, Hartlepool were forced in to a change; when a Gary Liddle thunderbolt struck Sam Collins square on the back of the head which left the defender out cold. After a few minutes of treatment the defender was helped from the pitch to see the City club doctor.
On the half hour, midfielder Mark Yeates fired a shot just wide of the United goal, whilst Billy Clarke should have done better after getting on the end of Alan Sheehan’s cross but his header looped harmlessly in to the arms of Scott Flinders’ in the Hartlepool goal.
Five minutes later Alan Sheehan had a shot from long range which was well saved by Flinders, from the resulting corner Michael Duckworth cleared a James Hanson header off the Hartlepool goal line.
Gary Liddle should have opened the scoring when the ball fell kindly after his initial shot had been blocked, but the midfielder dragged his second effort wide of the Hartlepool goal on forty-one minutes.
Just before half-time Mark Yeates had another long range effort which whistled just wide of the Hartlepool goal to leave the score level at half-time.
Full-back Alan Sheehan was first to try his luck after the restart but he was denied twice as his first well-struck shot was charged down by Austin, before Walker got in the way off his second effort.
Hartlepool threatened at the other end when Walker fizzed a ball in to Marlon Harewood’s feet, who laid the ball off to Luke James but the front man couldn’t quite get his shot away.
Former Hartlepool loan man Matty Dolan volleyed high over the bar after pressure from James Hanson and Mark Yeates in the area, Flinders then clawed away a goal bound effort from Billy Clarke who shot from the edge of the box.
Brad Walker almost responded with a wonderful goal at the other end, after slaloming his way through the City defence, his deflected shot was brilliantly saved by Jordan Pickford away to his right.
The young midfielder wasn’t to be denied and moments later when the ball fell to him twenty yards out he drilled a ruthless shot in to the bottom left hand corner of the Bradford net to give Hartlepool a 1-0 lead.
Bradford scored the equaliser one minute later on seventy-two minutes following a deep cross that fell to Billy Clarke on the right-hand side of the area, he kept his eyes on the ball before send a volley low under Scott Flinders to level the score at 1-1.
In the final ten minutes, substitute Mo Shariff went close to getting a winner but his long range effort was well saved by Scott Flinders. Then on eighty-four minutes Matthew Bates was fortunate to see his attempted headed clearance come back off his own crossbar to safety.
Scott Flinders produced a moment of quality to secure a draw for Hartlepool on eighty-eight minutes when he extended every inch of his frame to finger-tip Mo Shariff’s goal bound dipping volley on to the cross bar to level the final score 1-1.
Speaking after the game manager Phil Parkinson said, “The first half had a bit of a pre-season feel to it, there wasn’t enough energy from us, not enough players willing to run in behind without the ball – too many players just sitting behind the ball.
The second half, however, we stepped it up a level, we said to the boys at half time that we needed them to show us that they wanted to be in the starting eleven for the first game against Coventry City.
I felt they did that in the second half and I also felt the lads who came off the bench in the second half made a statement as well. Despite conceding a poor goal, I thought we were better in the second half and we played with the right tempo with better energy.”
Bradford City – Pickford, Darby, Sheehan, McArdle, Davies, Liddle, Yeates, Dolan, Hanson, Clarke, Knott (Subs) Urwin, Meredith, Shariff, Coulson, Kennedy, Hassall, McBurnie, Routis, Campion, Heaton
Hartlepool United – Flinders, Duckworth, Austin, Miller, Collins, Bates, Parnaby, Walker, Harewood, James, Compton (Subs) Rafferty, Richards, Holden, Rowbotham, Nearney, Hawkins, Smith, Franks, Jones
Goals – (Bradford City) Clarke (72) (Hartlepool United) Walker (71)