Nowakowski Salvages Draw Against Hatters

A late equaliser from substitute Adam Nowakowski salvaged a point for Bradford (Park Avenue) after Matty Warburton’s moment of magic had given Stockport County the lead.

Stockport supporters travelled in their numbers and were treated to a first-half display full of attacking intent from their side.

This didn’t faze Bradford, who did excellently to nullify the threat of the visitors’ attacking contingent.

Sam Minihan proved dangerous down the right flank, particularly in the first-half, and he found Jake Kirby with a cross after a marauding run. Kirby swivelled and shot but was denied by Steven Drench.

Former Bradford loanee Frank Mulhern was named in Stockport’s staring eleven on his return to the Horsfall, but he was forced off with an injury after just nine minutes following a collision with Shane Killock.

Minihan continued to threaten, skipping past Nicky Clee and pulling back to Matty Warburton, whose shot was deflected wide by Conor Branson.

Bradford did have opportunites of their own but didn’t trouble Ben Hinchliffe and failed to register a shot on target in the entirety of the first-half. A speculative effort from Ben McKenna flew wide and Oli Johnson miscued a cross after advancing into the 18-yard box.

The Hatters looked certain to break the deadlock when Kirby latched on to a perfectly weighted pass from Conor Dimaio, but he saw his powerful strike palmed wide by Drench.

Nicky Clee felled Kirby inside the 18-yard box to give Warburton the chance to convert from 12-yards, but Drench dived to his left and held the tame effort.

HALF-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-0 Stockport County

Defensive lynchpin Luca Havern did excellently to thwart Minihan after the break, steering his cross behind for a corner as Sam Walker lurked.

Bradford registered their first shot on target in the 52nd minute, but Chris Dawson’s audacious volley was held by Hinchliffe.

Branson then had to be alert to prevent a Kirby cross reaching Dimaio, who had advanced into dangerous territory and was preparing to shoot.

The energetic Jamie Spencer looked to rally Bradford, darting forward and shooting but watching the effort cannon off the back of Jordan Keane before being cleared.

Ben McKenna provided an outlet for the hosts throughout but really hit his stride in the final fifteen minutes. His teasing delivery found Jake Beesley, but the forward sent a glancing header wide.

With twelve minutes remaining, the Hatters took the lead as Warburton found the top corner with a sensational strike from distance.

Bradford responded by piling bodies forward, and deployed the towering Adam Nowakowski as a makeshift striker. The decision was rewarded when Nowakowski put the hosts back on level terms, steering home after meeting a Beesley delivery from the left.

FULL-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-1 Stockport County

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Ross, Clee, Branson, Killock (c), Havern, McKenna, Dawson (Wroe 53′), Beesley, Johnson (Knight 58′), Spencer (Nowakowski 71′).

Unused substitutes: Atkinson, Boshell.

Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Minihan, Askew, Keane, Smalley, Walker, Dimaio (Mantack 75′), Turnbull (c), Mulhern (Bell 9′), Warburton, Kirby (Stephenson 63′).

Unused substitutes: Cowan, Ormson.

Attendance: 825

Referee: James Bell