Bradford City 1 Gillingham 0: Brad Halliday celebrates landmark with decisive long-range stunner

Bradford City dented Gillingham’s play-off hopes with a 1-0 win at the University of Bradford Stadium.

A top-six finish is not technically out of the question for Bradford themselves, although it still appears unlikely despite their victory over the Gills. It was not a vintage performance from the hosts, although was a considerable improvement upon what fans were watching for most of March.

The game was fittingly decided by Brad Halliday, who struck the only goal of the game on his 100th appearance for the Bantams.

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The hosts started brightly and Andy Cook found himself one-on-one with Jake Turner within three minutes of the first whistle. Calum Kavanagh pounced on a loose ball when Bobby Pointon was thwarted before feeding Cook, although the forward was denied at close range.

Brad Halliday marked his 100th Bradford City appearance with a goal. Image: George Wood/Getty ImagesBrad Halliday marked his 100th Bradford City appearance with a goal. Image: George Wood/Getty Images
Brad Halliday marked his 100th Bradford City appearance with a goal. Image: George Wood/Getty Images

Bradford’s attacking intent was clear early on and Bobby Pointon was the next to try his luck, sending a shot whistling past the post from around 25 yards out.

The brightness of Bradford’s start, however, dimmed as the first half progressed. It was soon Gillingham’s turn to start applying the pressure and Oli Hawkins was unlucky to see a bullet header tipped over the crossbar by Sam Walker.

Bradford had taken the wheel early on but by the midway point of the first half, were sat in the passenger seat. Former Bantam Timothée Dieng was allowed to emerge unmarked as the ball was switched from right to left, but saw his low drive blocked.

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Gillingham’s aerial presence in the final third continued to prove troublesome and Walker was forced to make a stunning save when Conor Masterson stooped to send a powerful header towards goal.

However, it was the hosts who took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Halliday pulled the trigger from distance and found the bottom corner with his left foot.

Seemingly galvanised by their opener before the break, Bradford emerged from the interval looking the most likely to score next. Tyreik Wright went close, seeing a well-struck effort beaten away by the stung palms of Turner.

Gillingham’s frustration became increasingly evident as the second half wore on, as the frequency of poorly-timed challenges increased. Daniel Ogeyoke found himself in a tussle with George Lapslie after a cynical foul by the latter, for which both were booked.

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Cook then came close to doubling the Bantams lead, seeing a header pushed behind by Turner. Chances were at a premium in the late stages, as Bradford kept the back door shut while continuing to ask the occasional question of Gillingham’s backline.

Josh Andrews sent a shot whistling past the post late on but the visitors failed to find the leveller they were looking for, ensuring it was the Bantams celebrating when the full-time whistle blew.

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