Bradford City 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Michael Jacobs
Michael Jacobs

WIGAN Athletic extended their unbeaten run to nine matches and moved up to fifth in League One - although they were unable to hold on for all three points at fellow promotion-chasers Bradford.

The visitors had led through Michael Jacobs’ super strike at the start of the second period, following good work from substitute Donald Love.

But the Bantams were level midway through the second period when the unmarked James Hanson nodded home under little pressure from a corner.

It was no surprise that Bradford’s goal came from a cross, with the Latics defence subject to a string of quality deliveries from both sides of the field that they largely negotiated well.

At the other end, Gary Caldwell’s side looked a constant threat on the counter with Jacobs, Yanic Wildshut and Max Power the pick of their attacking players.

Indeed, Wildschut could have opened the scoring within seconds of the kick-off.

After the Latics defence had done well to clear a set-piece, the visitors broke in numbers and fed the on-loan Middlesbrough winger.

Wildschut skipped past his man and found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Ben Williams - albeit from a tight angle.

The shot flew past Williams, but unfortunately found the side-netting rather than the back of the net.

Williams got his hands to a Jacobs shot shortly after, but allowed it to squirm out of his grasp and away for a corner.

The Latics rearguard would have been expecting an aerial onslaught in the lead-up, and Bradford didn’t disappoint them with a succession of textbook pinpoint deliveries.

From one Reece Burke cross, Rory McArdle got his head to the ball but could only direct it just wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s goal.

Latics were continuing to look dangerous on the counter, and Reece James saw one shot parried over before Power tried his luck from distance which whistled only inches over the bar.

The visitors had a let-off when a Hanson header hit the unsuspecting McCann rather than the other way round, the ball looping over the bar to safety.

But Bradford enjoyed a similar escape at the other end after Jacobs was hacked down in full flow on the edge of the area.

The ex-Wolves man lined up the free-kick, but his effort struck Will Grigg in the wall on its way behind for a goal-kick.

Grigg was frustrated again shortly before half-time when, after good work from Wildschut, Jacobs couldn’t find the lone striker - who’d taken up a good position - with his attempted cross.

Bradford started the second half the brighter and Tony McMahon sent in a dipping volley that Jaaskelainen could only parry over for a corner.

Latics were forced into their first change only six minutes after the restart when Donervon Daniels failed to run off a knock and gave way to Love, the on-loan Manchester United defender.

And the switch paid immediate dividends with the new man laying on the opening goal with virtually his first touch.

The Scotland Under-21 full-back fed Jacobs in space, 25 yards from goal.

And the lively winger found the top corner of the net, via the hand of the goalkeeper, to give Latics an important advantage.

The Bantams were furious as Hanson had taken a knock in back play and remained on the ground as Latics attacked, but referee Richard Clark elected to allow the visitors to continue their attack.

Bradford’s attempt for an immediate leveller saw Devante Cole take a tumble in the area, with the official again waving play on which once more angered their more vocal followers.

Latics attempted to rub salt into the wound by immediately breaking and threatening a second goal.

But Jacobs couldn’t find the supporting Love on the right and the chance had gone.

Hanson had the opportunity to exact the perfect revenge just before the hour mark, but he could only direct a header from McMahon’s teasing cross straight at Jaaskelainen.

Power wasted a decent shooting opportunity at the other end before Latics made their second change, Grant Holt taking over from Grigg up top.

The home side continued to throw men forward at every opportunity, and they were rewarded at the three-quarter mark after James conceded a somewhat unnecessary corner down the Bradford right.

This time the Latics defence wasn’t fully switched on, and Hanson planted a free header past Jaaskelainen from close range.

Craig Davies replaced Wildschut to give Latics some fresh legs up front, but the home side also fancied their chances of nicking a late winner.

Both sets of fans were on at the referee at this point for perceived injustices, with the 18,000-plus backing for the home side ensuring a really intimidating atmosphere inside the final quarter.

Holt nearly silenced them with five minutes remaining, only for his near-post shot to be helped round the post by Williams.

And Latics were indebted to skipper Craig Morgan right at the death for nicking the ball away from Cole as the nippy striker looked to wriggle free.