Bradford City 0 Doncaster Rovers 0 - Yorkshire derby finishes goalless after being marred by horror leg break for Bantams debutant Emmanuel Osadebe

OUT west on Saturday, it was a case of the good, the bad and the ugly. Complete with a maverick.

Flare up: Referee Robert Madden tries to sort out a fracas betweeen Bradford and Doncaster players at the final whistle. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Flare up: Referee Robert Madden tries to sort out a fracas betweeen Bradford and Doncaster players at the final whistle. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The good arrived in the shape of a magnificent atmosphere among an expectant crowd of 19,362 – a fourth-tier record at Valley Parade. The Kop was resplendent in all its claret and amber finery and a huge flag conveyed the sense of pride ahead of kick-off. Bradford Our City.

Almost 2,000 Doncaster fans – housed in the top tier of the Bradford End and at the far side of the Midland Road Stand – came along to the opening-day jamboree and added to the ambience.

As for the bad? Well, it depends on your colours. There was unanimity at least among City and Rovers followers that two quick-fire yellow cards picked up in first-half stoppage-time by Lee Tomlin – referred to as a maverick by his manager recently – were needless and ridiculous.

Bad break: Bradford's Emmanuel Osadebe is stretchered off. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Gary McSheffrey was in no mood to argue. Petulance, he rightly opined.

Rovers’ perceived time-wasting ‘spoiling’ tactics all game also left a bad taste in the mouth of Mark Hughes afterwards – alongside the showing of new EFL referee Bobby Madden – as City started a league season with a goalless statemate for the fourth campaign in a row, incredibly.

McSheffrey was rather more keen to focus on his side’s admirable defensive resolve with 10 men as two banks of a four in a solid red wall refused to bow to the seemingly inevitable as City pushed for a breakthrough.

The ugly came by way of a sickening sixth-minute injury for Bradford debutant Emmanuel Osadebe.

Off you go: Two yellow cards in quick succession saw Doncaster debutant Lee Tomlin sent off. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

There has been conjecture and disagreement about Liam Ravenhill’s heavy challenge which left the City player writhing in agony on the pitch, with the Rovers midfielder controversially receiving a yellow card as opposed to a red.

After an eight-minute delay, Osadebe was stretchered off and taken to hospital. It was later confirmed he had suffered a double leg break.

This week, Osadebe will get his head around what has happened and with the help and support of his club, start to embark on the road back to fitness, which promises to be a long one.

Team-mate Romoney Crichlow sat on his own while Osadebe was attended to and was clearly affected and visibly upset by what he saw, with several home players gesturing for medics to come onto the pitch within seconds of the player going down.

Speaking for everyone – whether they are of a City or Rovers frustration – the defender said: “I’d just like to send prayers out to him and hope he has a speedy recovery.

“It’s not a nice thing to see; first game of the season. He was as excited to play as everyone else.

“We as a team will get around him and aid his recovery and hope he gets back soon.”

McSheffrey, who wisely brought off Ravenhill – son of one-time Bradford and Doncaster midfielder Ricky – shortly after play resumed, commented: “We are devastated and all our thoughts go to him and hope he can recover as soon as possible.

“You never think that is going to happen in the first game of a season. Rav has gone for a challenge and it is a derby and he is thinking ‘first challenge, first chance to hopefully win the ball with a crunching challenge’ and he does that.

“Unfortunately, he catches the boy and it’s how his leg has probably landed with the follow up. We are gutted for the Bradford player and hope he gets over it and through it.”

Regimented Rovers, who suffered a pre-match blow when Tommy Rowe was ruled out with a neck spasm, clearly set their stall out to frustrate the hosts and be streetwise.

Something that they certainly were not in a 2021-22 relegation campaign when they were naive and loose on too many occasions. And easy to beat.

They did it the hard way after Tomlin’s brainless dismissal. To be booked for preventing City from quickly taking a free-kick was soft. To kick the ball away moments later, complete with a theatrical fall following the slightest of contact from Jamie Walker was plain stupid.

Off went Tomlin. McSheffrey said afterwards that the mercurial forward will win more games than he loses for Rovers this season. They need payback already.

The second-half revolved around how well Rovers would cope with bouts of pressure in front of the Kop. It was all about surviving and they did just that.

Richie Smallwood went closest for City when he hit the post, while also dragging a good chance wide. Hughes emptied the bench, while Rovers sought to run the clock down. They got their point.

The game ended in more frustration for the hosts, with substitute Kian Harratt dismissed after the final whistle after an altercation with Rovers keeper Jonathan Mitchell as tempers frayed.

Angered by what he saw as time-wasting tactics from Rovers, Hughes said: “I spent an hour and a half with a couple of referees 10 days ago saying that was one of their big things at the beginning of the season.

“I didn’t see any evidence of that unfortunately.

“The goalkeeper was chief instigator really, slowing everything down and changing sides and waiting for everybody to get in position.

“He got booked on 88 minutes and I don’t even think it was for time-wasting. It should have been stamped on by the referee much earlier than that and we might have had some semblance of a football match.”

It was a football match which will ultimately be remembered for one horrible moment.