BRADFORD CITY’S unbeaten start to the season continued against the side who had ended their promotion dreams last May.
The Bantams, beaten by Millwall 4-2 on aggregate in last season’s play-off semi-finals, were full value for a point after producing a typically stylish display that was only let down by a lack of cutting edge up front.
With Marc McNulty and Haris Vukcic both absent following their deadline day arrivals, City went ahead through a Byron Webster own goal just before half-time.
Joe Martin then cancelled out that opener with a thunderbolt strike four minutes after the restart to ensure it was honours even.
City’s style of play has changed markedly since last May’s play-off semi-final with Stuart McCall wanting his side to be less direct than under predecessor Phil Parkinson.
It meant there was much more of a contrast to the two clubs’ approach than had been the case as the Lions ended Bradford’s promotion hopes with a 4-2 aggregate win.
Unfortunately for the visitors, they did not have the predatory instinct up front to capitalise on all that good approach play - something that McNulty and Vukcic will look to rectify in the coming weeks.
McCall’s men did have an early chance on eight minutes. A left wing cross from James Meredith was only half cleared by Tony Craig and Nicky Law powered a header goalwards that Jordan Archer parried.
At the other end, Steve Morison had an ambitious effort from 30 yards that Colin Doyle in the Bantams goal dealt comfortably with despite having to parry the initial effort before collecting the ball.
Morison then had a header blocked by Timothee Dieng moments before going ahead through the unfortunate Webster.
Mark Marshall’s strong run and shot was saved by Archer but the ball ricochet off Webster and into the net.
Colin Doyle then brilliantly kept out a Shaun Williams header in stoppage time but he could no nothing about the home side’s equaliser four minutes after the restart..
Joe Martin was the scorer, the left back latching on to a Vincelot header to thunder a 20-yard shot past Doyle.
Nicky Law did get the ball in the net for Bradford but he had strayed offside before collecting a pass from Billy Clarke, while at the other end Nat Knight-Percival pulled off a crucial block just as Aiden O’Brien looked set to score.
There was late drama as Darby’s miscued clearance flashed dangerously close to his own gola, before the Bantams raced down the other end and struck a post through Law.
“This was a well deserved point,” McCall said.
“We had eight of our squad unavailable today, so we’re happy to come away with a point.
“We carried a threat on the break and at the end we might have won the game. If we’re honest I think a point is a fair result.
“Next week we’ll have three or four players back and have a stronger squad to choose from.
“Mark Marshall is a threat, he can go both ways and today he showed real desire and hunger to succeed. He was always carrying a threat for us.
“I think realistically when Phil Parkinson left it hit people quite hard at the club. To have 12 points already is a great effort from the players. But there is a lot of strength in the division, we’ve got great belief.
“Coming to Millwall and getting a point is a good result. I think Millwall will be right up there this season. But there are five or six teams that I expect to be challenging.”
Millwall: Archer, Romeo, Craig, Webster, Martin, Worrall, Thompson, Williams, Wylde, Morison, O’Brien. Subs: Smith, Onyedinma, Nelson, Butcher, Philpot, King, Chesmain.
Bradford: Doyle, Darby, Vincelot, Knight-Percival, Meredith, Devine, Dieng, Law, Marshall, Billy Clarke, Hiwula. Subs: Sattelmaier, Morais, Webb-Foster, Kilgallon, Boateng, Hudson.
Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)