Bradford City 1-1 Barrow: Bantams drop out of play-offs
Above: The Bradford City players taking the knee prior to kick-off. (Photo taken by George Wood/Getty Images)

Charles Vernam's second half strike helped rescue a point for Bradford City, cancelling out Josh Kay's early finish.

The Bantams were unfortunate not to take all three points, scoring just one of their 18 shots, but some valiant Bluebirds defending denied the home side their fourth victory of the season.

Prior to kick-off, these two sides had played one another just twice in the last thirty years; with both getting the better of each other.

Bradford are now winless in their previous five outings, whilst Barrow continue to ply their way into mid-table.

  • Teams

Derek Adams opted to not make any changes from Saturday's late defeat at the hands of Salford City.

Bradford City: O'Donnell; Threlkeld, O'Connor, Kelleher, Ridehalgh, Watt, Evans, Gilliead, Cooke, Vernam, Cook

Barrow on the other hand made two changes from last Friday's defeat to Colchester United, as Festus Arthur and Josh Kay were unveiled into the starting lineup.

Barrow: Farman; Hutton, Arthur, Taylor, Brough, Kay, Gotts, Banks, Stevens, Zanzala, Gordon

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  • Story of the match

If there was going to be anyway to sum up this afternoon for , it would be with Kay's first minute volley, which was sliced over the TL Dallas stand.

The Bantams came closest early on, as in the opening ten minutes a challenge on Alex Gilliead allowed the ball to trickle into the path of Charles Vernam, whose low drive narrowly evades the target.

Barrow talisman Offrande Zanzala was left frustrated, as the towering attacker could only nod Patrick Brough's excellent cross wide of Richard O'Donnell's goal.

But just over twenty minutes in, the game would take a twist, as the opener was rifled home by Kay. The winger, who was making his first start since August, made his impact, swivelling on the edge of the box before alluding O'Donnell and placing his effort off of not one, but two posts before reeling away in celebration.

Bradford looked to immediately respond, as some nice link-up play involving Oscar Threlkeld and Vernam ended with the latter placing a shot just wide of the target. The Bantams weren't done however, as Elliot Watt and Andy Cook squandered chances.

Adams' side had relentless pressure, but their missed opportunities were nearly made the more sour as former Bradford man Jordan Stevens won the ball off Vernam before forcing a reactive save from O'Donnell.

Heading into the second half, Barrow looked to assert an early dominance, as former Leeds United winger Robbie Gotts had a strike parried wide.

Vernam was the bright spark for the Bantams however, as the attacker mazed his way past three Barrow defenders, but his shot was comfortably held by Farman.

But Bradford's endless pressure had to be rewarded at some point, and eventually, it was. Vernam, who had been running the show for Bradford, raced into the box before bullying Gareth Evans' cross home from six yards out. 

Mark Cooper's Bluebirds almost re-took the lead, as Kay's surging run ended with a deflected shot bouncing wide of O'Donnell's goal.

Vernam continued to terrorise the Barrow defence, as he received the ball from Cooke and his cross rattled the Bluebirds woodwork, and minutes later the favour was returned, as Cooke's free-kick nestled the side netting.

But the former Burton Albion attacker was thwarted again, with the biggest chance of the game for the Bantams. A clever flick from Theo Robinson allowed Vernam to be one-on-one with Farman, but the goalkeeper managed to tip his effort around the post.

With ninety minutes on the clock and Barrow defending vigorously, the spoils were shared in West Yorkshire.

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  • Takeaways

The lack of finishing touch

A similar story to their recent matches against Salford and Walsall, Bradford were punished and denied points by a lack of finishing touch.

Despite having the quality of Cook, Robinson and Caolan Lavery on the pitch, the Bantams failed to capitalise on their opportunities. With the creative mindsets possessed by the likes of Cooke, Watt, Gilliead and Vernam, chances are a guarantee for Bradford- now it's just a case of learning to finish them.

A valiant point for Barrow

Many teams who come to the Utilita Energy Stadium are often intimidated by the size of the ground and the atmosphere, but not Barrow.

Cooper's men were strong on the ball and defended excellently against a very capable Bradford attack, but along with that showed pride in playing. The club fought today, not just for the badge, but for the excellent away showing too. 

  • Star man

Charles Vernam

Another fine performance from the winger, Vernam is quickly establishing himself as one of the first names on the Bradford team sheet.

The winger had to make his mark off of the bench previously, but starting today he showed class and directness when attacking. Scoring the only goal and creating numerous chances, Vernam terrorised the Barrow defence all game long.

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