Bradford City underlined their automatic promotion credentials with a defiant point at League Two leaders Swindon Town – one that Shay McCarten believes shows great character in the Bantams ranks.
McCarten steered home an 89-minute free-kick to earn a point and keep Bradford within six points of Swindon at the top of the division, and move them level on points with Crewe Alexandra in third place.
Swindon had taken the lead from the penalty spot on 11 minutes. Lloyd Isgrove’s cross was adjudged to have struck Connor Wood’s arm allowing Jerry Yates to convert from 12 yards out.
Ben Richards-Everton had earlier hit the post as Bradford searched for an equaliser, one that finally arrived courtesy of McCarten’s 25-yard free-kick which he curled into the top corner.
“A draw is a great result and the manner of it says a lot about our character,” said 24-year-old McCarten.
“We hung in there, carried on fighting and, in the end, got our rewards. We created a lot, particularly in the second half.
The fact we are able to score late goals again shows the belief and character of the squad and also the depth we have.Shay McCarten
“The fact we are able to score late goals again shows the belief and character of the squad and also the depth we have.
“Aramide Oteh came off the bench and scored the winner against Morecambe and I had a similar affect at Swindon.
“The character we have is not a coincidence. It is something the gaffer has instilled in us from day one of pre-season.
“We are all in it together and want to give our all, every time we step on the pitch.
“I think we can class ourselves unlucky not to have won the game. We deserved at least a point, 100 per-cent.”
That last point was one echoed by manager Gary Bowyer. “The least we deserved, especially based on our second-half showing,” said Bowyer. “To come to the league leaders who are a very good, well-coached side and leave with a point is very positive.
“We gave them a headstart with the penalty but reacted really well by creating chances and never giving in. We were disappointed to not be going in level at half-time but knew we had not played as well as we could do.
“We can take a lot of confidence from the game.”
Swindon: Benda, Caddis, Grant, Fryers (Broadbent 41), Hunt, Lyden, Rose, Isgrove (May 87), Jaiyesimi (Doughty 76), Woolery, Yates. Unused substitutes: McGilp, Twine, Curran, McCormick.
Bradford: O’Donnell, Henley, Anthony O’Connor, Richards-Everton, Wood, Palmer, Reeves (Oteh 59), Cooke, Connolly, Vaughan, Taylor (McCartan 73). Unused subs: O’Connor, Gibson, Anderson, Akpan, Sykes-Kenworthy.
Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).