Hope Akpan praised by Bradford City chief David Hopkin after stalemate at Burton Albion

BRADFORD CITY remain in the drop zone but are just three points adrift of fifth-bottom Rochdale with a game in hand.

Hope Akpan: Scored against former club.
Hope Akpan: Scored against former club.

Former Burton midfield man Hope Akpan took the plaudits from City chief David Hopkin after he rescued a point against his former side.

Lucas Akins got the breakthrough for Albion after a sluggish first half where it had appeared to be very much a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ given their midweek Carabao Cup exploits against Manchester City.

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Centre-back John Brayford was allowed to run deep into Bradford territory and cross for Akins, who headed down into the net in first-half stoppage time.

Burton goalkeeper Brad Collins had to be alert to make an excellent save from Eoin Doyle after David Ball had done well.

Bradford thought they had scored when Jack Payne headed in after Collins had saved Akpan’s curling effort only for an assistant’s flag to deny him.

Akpan was not to be denied in the 68th minute when he lashed home a loose ball in the area from a corner. The midfielder almost won it in stoppage time with a towering header that Collins got down well to save.

Hopkin said: “There were some great individual performances out there but most of all it was a great team performance.

“Hope had a bit of a point to prove coming back to his old club. He was giving me palpitations sometimes as I was telling him to get back in but he wanted to go and score a second, and I think that was the best game he has played for us.”

Burton Albion: Collins, Clarke (Templeton 81), Brayford, Buxton, Hutchinson (Harness 46), Allen (Wallace 72), Quinn, Fraser, Akins, Boyce, Daniel. Unused substitutes: Bywater, Sbarra, McCrory, Miller.

Bradford City: O’Donnell, Caddis, A O’Connor, Knight-Percival, Woods, Akpan, O’Brien, Ball, Payne (Colville 84), Wood, Doyle (Miller 89). Unused substitutes: McGowan, P O’Connor, Wilson, Anderson, Devine.

Referee: T Kettle (Rutland).