Striker James Hanson crowned a stirring second-half fight back with an 84th-minute equaliser to earn Bradford City a point in Phil Brown’s first match as Southend United manager.
Southend gave former Hull City manager Brown the perfect start to his new job as they shook Bradford with two goals in two minutes.
Gavin Tomlin put the visitors in front after 10 minutes, tapping the ball into the empty net after Bilel Mohsni’s shot rebounded off a post into his path following a mistake by goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin. Britt Assombalonga added a second a minute later, converting a right-wing cross from Sean Clohessy.
Bradford almost pulled a goal back three minutes after that double blow when Kyel Reid’s free-kick rebounded off the crossbar to Hanson, but his header was cleared off the line by Luke Prosser.
However, City stepped up the pressure in the second half and were rewarded after 53 minutes when winger Zavon Hines fired home a cross from left-back James Meredith two minutes after having had an effort disallowed.
City had a scare when Tamika Mkandawire almost restored the visitors’ two-goal advantage only to see his shot on the turn rebound from a post in the 74th minute.
Southend’s defence did crack again though and Hanson scored the equaliser the home team deserved with a far-post header from substitute Nahki Wells’s cross six minutes from the end.
Bradford City: McLaughlin, Darby (Wells 80mins), McArdle, Davies, Meredith, Hines (Connell 73mins), Ravenhill (Atkinson 73mins), Jones, Reid, Hanson,Thompson. Unused substitutes: Duke (gk), McHugh, Nelson, Doyle.
Southend United: Smith, Clohessy, Straker, Cresswell, Hurst, Prosser (Corr 90mins), Assombalonga, Tomlin, Reeves (Lund half time), Mohsni (Eastwood 87mins), Mkandawire. Unused substitutes: Bentley (gk), Spillane, Leonard, Laird.
Referee: Steven Rushton (Staffordshire).