Watford held by battling Bradford

Watford 0 Bradford City 0
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The Independent Football

Bradford almost snatched all three points at Vicarage Road yesterday as Tom Kearney and Eoin Jess rattled the woodwork in the second half .

Watford's hopes of securing a morale-boosting win in front of their own fans were thwarted during the opening 45 minutes as an equally adventurous Bradford side more than held their own.

Gianluca Vialli's side have endured a disappointing campaign and despite creating several promising openings, they were unable to break through.

Afterwards Vialli said: "I thought a draw was a fair result but, with the chances we created and Bradford created, it should have been a goal or two apiece."

The home side started strongly and had the first effort on goal after just two minutes when Heidar Helguson's left-foot volley from 18 yards was well held by the Bradford goalkeeper Alan Combe. But Bradford countered swiftly, Ashley Ward's close-range volley testing Alec Chamberlain and the former Everton striker Danny Cadamarteri firing just over.

It was Watford who carved out the next chance, but David Wetherall managed to block Gavin Mahon's goalbound effort.

The home side then spurned another chance after 20 minutes as Neil Cox sent a header wide of the target from a Stephen Glass corner. Watford's Lee Cook then tried his luck from 25 yards, but Combe saved comfortably.

The visitors finished the half strongly as they won two corners in quick succession. Wetherall saw his header blocked and then Ward sent a header wide of goal.

Watford brought on two substitutes immediately after the interval in an effort to give them fresh impetus. Tony McNamee came on for Glass with Paul Okon replacing Micah Hyde, but it was to no avail.

The home side did carve out the first opportunity of the second half, but Marcus Gayle's header was gathered by Combe. Bradford then went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock after 61 minutes as Kearney was denied by the woodwork.

As the Bantams began to dominate, Jess was denied by the frame of the goal after his spectacular effort from 25 yards had looked like finding the back of the net.

Jess went close again with 14 minutes remaining, his 20-yard volley bringing a spectacular save from Chamberlain, who tipped the ball round the post.

But, as the game wore on, Watford's challenge faded and it was the Bantams who were left cursing their luck.

The Bradford manager, Nicky Law, believes his side still need another win to banish fears of relegation from the First Division. "We got a point here today but I would like to add a few more points before the end of the season," Law said. "However, it would be very hard for the teams at the bottom to overhaul us. It would take championship form to do that."

Watford (4-3-3): Chamberlain; Blondeau, Galli, Cox, Robinson; Mahon, Hyde (Okon, h-t), Glass (McNamee, h-t); Cook (Webber, 64), Helguson, Gayle. Substitutes not used: Baardsen (gk), Doyley.

Bradford City (3-5-2): Combe; Bower, Wetherall, Jacobs; Jorgensen, Jess, McCall, Lawrence, Kearney; Ward, Cadamarteri (Grant, 67). Substitutes not used: Worsnop (gk), Juanjo, Sharpe, Emanuel.

Referee: M Fletcher (Warley).

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