In quotes: Bolton v Bradford City

The final word on Wanderers' draw with the Bantams as rounds up manger, player and local press post-match reaction

Wanderers fought out a 0-0 draw with Bradford City at Macron Stadium on Saturday as Whites manager Phil Parkinson faced his former club for the first time.

Rounding up the manager, player and local press' post-match reaction alike, offers the final word on the match... 

How saw it...
Despite dominating the game and producing the better chances Wanderers had to settle for a goalless draw in front of their biggest crowd of the season at Macron Stadium.

The returning skipper Jay Spearing and substitute Zach Clough almost found the net in each half but were denied by a combination of good goalkeeping and ill fortune.

The hosts gave a masterclass in defending as Bradford seldom troubled Mark Howard but were left with just a solitary point at the final whistle.

It was a hard fought game and was always going to be nip and tuck. There was a lot at stake for both teams as they are both up there and there were just over 4,000 Bradford fans. After myself and the rest of the staff being there it was always going to have an edge to it.

There wasn’t much given away from two hard working and determined teams. You always want to win but we’ll take the clean sheet today and build on that point.

When you have that amount of supporters behind the goal it will have an effect (on the Bradford players) but it was a hard fought game. Both (Josh) Vela and Liam Trotter missed training this week (virus). The determination of the lads, the way we stuck at it and gave everything was good to see. 

The clean sheet mentality is important as everybody knows as we go along through the season. We need to build on that point today.

How Mark Howard saw it...
Full credit to the lads, the way we defended, we deserved a clean sheet. They played some good football in the middle but we snuffed them out.

I don’t think they had a genuine shot of note. We’ve been defending well the last few games.

I think it is a fair point. I'm just a bit disappointed that we didn't quite create as many chances as we would have liked. 

Having said that though, we kept going and trying to score even in injury time. You know you are going to come under a lot of pressure here at Bolton, a lot of balls into your box, but there were some huge performances from us today (Saturday). 

They are a large and physical team and they had a few inches on us when marking up for set-pieces but I can't really remember them having a chance from a first or second ball. 

The lads showed tremendous determination to defend properly and to do their job. They also showed courage to keeping getting on the ball and play. We had some good spells in the second period and we had some opportunities where we maybe should have got our shot away quicker.

Wanderers’ problems were familiar. Though defensively organised they lacked sparkle in the final third of the pitch and mustered just one shot on target over the course of 90 minutes. And that came 20 seconds after the opening whistle.

Bradford were no better, with Mark Howard virtually untested in the Bolton goal thanks to – yet more – staunch defending in front of him by the likes of Jay Spearing, Mark Beevers and the outstanding David Wheater.

Having instilled such a strong defensive shape, Parkinson’s next challenge is to bring more out of his attack. He is still lacking some key components – Gary Madine, Max Clayton and the suspended Keshi Anderson in this case – but in order to crack a tough nut like Bradford his side will need to box more cleverly than this.

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