Assistant manager Steve Parkin is looking for Bradford City to take an improved second-half performance against Port Vale into Saturday’s home match against bottom club Crewe.
However, Parkin’s main talking point after Bradford ended a run of three successive home league defeats with a 1-1 draw against third-from-bottom Vale was Sunderland referee Seb Stockbridge’s decision to award a penalty that enabled the visitors to go in front in the 12th minute.
Louis Dodds’s shot hit defender Rory McArdle on the arm, the referee waved aside Bradford protests and Chris Lines scored from the spot.
Parkin said: “Rory couldn’t get out of the way. It was a genuine effort to block and it should not have been a penalty.”
Parkin also complained about the referee’s decision not to award a penalty seven minutes later, when Gary Liddle was brought down by Vale captain Carl Dickinson. Bradford insisted the offence was inside the area, but the referee awarded a free-kick on the edge.
However, Bradford equalised with a spectacular goal in first-half stoppage time, Mark Yeates scoring with a 25-yard free-kick that soared into the top corner.
That goal inspired a second- half revival, but, despite dominating possession, the nearest City came to scoring was when a 25-yard shot from Liddle was turned over the bar by Chris Neal.
City had a narrow escape late on in the game when Vale substitute Chris Birchall headed against the post.
Bradford City: Pickford, Darby, McArdle, Routis, Meredith, Kennedy, Liddle, Yeates, Knott (Morais 63), Clarke (Bennett 86), Mclean (McBurnie 70). Unused substitutes: Williams, Dolan,Sheehan, Heaton.
Port Vale: Neal, Yates, Duffy, McGivern, Dickinson, Dodds (Birchall 60), Lines, O’Connor, Marshall, Slew (Williamson 66), Pope. Unused substitutes: Johnson, Robertson, Daniel, Brown, Moore.
Referee: S Stockbridge (Sunderland).
Man of the match: Gary Liddle.