Bantams slowly ‘getting there’ as they continue along right track

THEY like a spot of Elvis Presley in this part of the Potteries – and not just Robbie Williams.

The King’s classic hit The Wonder Of You, an unofficial anthem among Port Vale fans, reverberated around a pumped-up arena before kick-off amid a heady atmosphere which hinted at the good days returning to Vale Park.

By the final whistle, All Shook Up was probably just as appropriate with Bradford City’s brazen refusal to roll over and be intimidated after going behind upsetting Vale alongside the presence of referee Lee Swaby.

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Chasing an eighth successive home win for the first time since February 1961 – Are You Lonesome Tonight was at number one in the UK charts to maintain the Elvis theme – the more pragmatic Vale followers were entitled to be satisfied with a draw by the end.

It followed a day when their side did not have things their own way after scoring 17 times in their previous four matches. Here they met their match.

As Derek Adams correctly stated beforehand, City are ‘getting there’ slowly but surely.

Not getting there quite enough to turn over League Two’s serious teams on a consistent basis yet, but the fact that they are unbeaten against the current top seven carries weight and should not be sniffed at. They have also seen their colours lowered just once in their past nine matches.

Inspection of the renewed options at Adams’s disposal should also provide optimism for the long winter ahead.

MAGIC MOMENT: Bradford City's Lee Angol celebrates his equalising goal at Port Vale Picture: Simon Hulme.

City have the capacity to mix things up from the bench and have game-turners in reserve, as was shown on Saturday where the names of Abo Eisa and Lee Angol leapt from the page.

The latter may not yet be in a position to play a full 90 minutes following his significant spell out with a deep-seated hamstring injury. His cameo in the final half-hour whet the appetite for when he does.

His leveller, a splendid 74th-minute header following Matty Foulds’s excellent cross, showed what he brings to the party.

Foulds had a good day and others were not too far behind.

UP FOR IT: Bradford's Theo Robinson battles with Port Vale's Nathan Smith Picture: Simon Hulme.

Foulds, who showed his versatility on the left and right, said: “The first half was very calm and the second was just non-stop. Their crowd get rowdy, don’t they.

“Their fans were onto us and the referee, but you just have to let it go and not get involved in it.

“We showed great character in going behind and probably could have pushed on and got a winner.

“This is the biggest test we have probably had away from home. They had scored five times in their last two home games and we have come away with a point.

Matty Foulds impressed for Bradford City in the 1-1 draw at Port Vale Picture: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

“We are playing very well and if we keep performing like this, we will get wins and be up there.”

For the fourth successive game, City drew 1-1, but the fact that they pocketed a point after going behind against a side who would have gone top with victory and whose manager had just picked up his second successive manager of the month award provided sustenance in front of Vale’s biggest crowd of the season.

Yes, Vale could have won it, with George Lloyd firing a late chance wide while also being inches away from turning in a centre from the impressive David Worrall, but so could City.

Alex Gilliead nearly did with a low shot which flew inches wide in a pulsating finale when the natives were restless at the decision-making of Swaby, who refused to be brow-beaten by a parochial home crowd who knew things were not going their team’s way.

The introduction of Angol – who netted his first goal since mid-August – was a key turning point and the entrances of Callum Cooke and Liam Ridehalgh also helped on a day when Adams got his changes spot-on.

Ridehalgh had sensibly replaced Oscar Threlkeld at the interval, with the defender staring a red card in the face with his next challenge, having been fortunate to stay on the pitch for a foul on Tom Conlon after having previously been cautioned.

NOW HEAR THIS: Bradford City manager Derek Adams at Port Vale Picture: Simon Hulme.

Home captain Conlon excelled for the hosts, with Richard O’Donnell making key reaction saves to keep out fine strikes to deny him and James Gibbons.

City also had their moments on the counter in the first half, with Charles Vernam posing issues for the Vale backline with his pace and trickery. He fired a good chance off target late in the first half, while Theo Robinson – booed on his Vale return – drew a good block from Lucas Covolan to keep out his low half-volley.

Vale got the breakthrough on 56 minutes and it looked like being a microcosm of City’s season.

Vernam mis-kicked in front of goal from Levi Sutton’s cross and Vale went straight up the other end to punish the profligacy.

David Amoo skipped past several challenges and when Yann Songo’o spoiled an otherwise decent display by getting in a real tangle in trying to clear, James Wilson feasted on the faux pas.

After his initial shot was blocked by O’Donnell, the top-scorer slotted home the rebound.

Not too long after, Wilson, who had been bothered by an injury issue, was replaced by Lloyd.

It was a day when another substitute would take centre stage in Burslem.

NICE ONE: Bradford City's Lee Angol is congratulated after his equalising goal against Port Vale Picture: Simon Hulme.
Bradford City's Charles Vernam runs at the Port Vale players Picture: Simon Hulme.