MANAGER Phil Parkinson was full of praise for his Bradford City players despite watching them surrender a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes at Roots Hall.
Four days after the emotionally and physically draining Capital One Cup giant-killing of Arsenal, the Bantams looked to be heading for victory over promotion rivals Southend United.
A strike from Nahki Wells and an own goal had seemingly put them in charge, but they had to settle for a share of the spoils after the home side fought back.
“After what we have gone through in terms of the euphoria of Tuesday night, to come to Southend and be 2-0 up against a team which is up and around us in the top seven was a magnificent display,” said Parkinson.
“The players put themselves on the line for the club. It was a hard ask and I thought they were great.
“There is a tinge of disappointment because we want to win every game, but let’s be fair, we couldn’t have asked for any more, could we?”
James Hanson had headed against the bar before Wells gave an unchanged City side a 28th-minute lead after great build-up work on the left from Will Atkinson and James Meredith.
They doubled their advantage 10 minutes after the break when Luke Prosser sliced Atkinson’s cross into his own net.
Atkinson was denied a third by a magnificent save before Ryan Cresswell headed Southend back into it from a corner with 10 minutes remaining and Gavin Tomlin denied City maximum points in the first minute of stoppage time.
Southend United: Smith; Clohesy, Cresswell, Prosser, Barker (Eastwood 87); Hurst, Mkandiwire (Corr 69), Laird, Timlin; Assombalonga, Tomlin. Unused substitutes: Straker, Martin, Donnelly, Bentley, Leonard.
Bradford City: Duke; Darby, Meredith, McHugh, McArdle; G Jones, Doyle (Ravenhill 81), Atkinson, Thompson (Forsyth 57); Wells (Hines 70), Hanson. Unused substitutes: McLaughlin, Connell, Turgott, Good.
Referee: S Martin (Staffs).
Man of the match: James Meredith.