Burton Albion toiled in the heat to claw back a point from a sloppy and flat performance against lowly Bradford City at the Pirelli Stadium. Two goals down inside sixteen first half minutes, Albion were grateful for Billy Kee's third goal in as many matches and a penalty from Justin Richards deep in first half stoppage time to rescue a welcome point for Paul Peschisolido's side.
Neither side really took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second period although Bradford perhaps had the better of it clear cut chances were few and far between in a lacklustre second period.
The good news for Albion was that Tony James reported fit and with Darren Moore shaking off an ankle injury the central defensive partnership picked itself. Danny Blanchett made his full League debut for the club standing in for Aaron Webster and Calvin Zola returned in attack to partner leading scorer Justin Richards. In form striker Billy Kee kept his place but was moved to the right side of midfield to deputise for the injured Jacques Maghoma.
Albion made a positive start with both Danny Blanchett and Justin Richards putting in testing crosses but it was the visitors who grabbed the lead in the 6th minute. Midfielder Kyel REID picked up the ball and was allowed to run to the edge of the Burton box and as the Brewers defence backed off he picked his spot and smashed his shot beyond Atkins.
Buoyed by the early goal the Bantams went in search of a second and Craig Fagan's drive was saved by Atkins who then had to watch Liam Moore's ambitious effort go just wide of the post.
Reid was instrumental as the Bantams doubled their advantage on 16 minutes. The midfielder skipped past the challenge of Andy Corbett and had time to pick out a low cross that was food and drink for James HANSON to score from inside the six yard box.
Albion tried to respond immediately and Calvin Zola was close to pulling one back with a header that went inches wide from Danny Blanchett's cross. Kee almost got himself on the scoresheet for the third successive match as well when his cross almost crept into the top corner, Matt Duke having to scramble to tip the ball over the bar.
Zola also forced Duke to keep the Bantams clean sheet in tact with a low drive from outside the box that had the former Albion keeper diving low to his left.
Just as the game seemed to be drifting as it headed towards half time the Brewers got the goal they badly needed to get themselves back into it. Jimmy Phillips delivered a low cross in and there seemed little danger until Billy KEE threw himself at the ball and got enough of a touch to send it past Duke and in off the post.
Burton began to turn the screw and Justin Richards was not far wide with a header from a Kee cross as half time approached. Albion got the equaliser they desperately wanted when they earned themselves a penalty in first half stoppage time. Jimmy Phillips was denied by a good save from Duke and when the ball fell to Kee it looked like an easy opportunity for the youngs striker to equalise. Inexplicably he only managed to hit the post but managed to get the rebound. His cross turned into a mad scramble inside the penalty area and when Zola dug the ball out and triued to shoot the hand of Robbie Threlfall denied him. Referee Eddie Ilderton pointed to the spot and booked the Bradford defender. Leading scorer Justin RICHARDS stepped up and confidently grabbed the equaliser to send the Albion fans happily into the half time break.
Half time: Burton Albion 2-2 Bradford City
Burton came out strongly at the start of the second half with Kee testing Duke with a low drive but with Reid again becoming prominent Bradford began to look more dangerous. The Brewers began to get a little frustrated and that was epitomised by Zola's booking for a clumsy challenge on Michael Flynn.
On the hour mark it was Albion pressing forward and Jimmy Phillips went close with a low shot that clipped the heels of Andrew Davies and went out for a corner.
Reid twice went to ground in and around the penalty area but on both occasions referee Ilderton waved away Bradford appeals although the tricky winger almost conjured up a chance that Ross Atkins had to shovel wide of the post.
On 67 minutes Jason Banton was introduced for his Football League debut at the expense of Richards. Billy Kee moved forward to join Zola in attack and Banton immediately moved to the left wing.
Albion almost paid for Darren Moore trying to play his way out of defence when the ball came back and Craig Fagan curled an effort wide of the target.
As both teams began to toil in the October heat the game became somewhat scrappy and the end of the game turned into something of a non-event. Blanchett spurned an opportunity to shoot to try and set up substitute Adi Yussuf but perhaps symptomatic of a disappointing performance the young striker strayed offside.
Bradford finished the game on top but a point was probably a fair result for both sides on an unseasonably hot day.
ALBION: Atkins; Corbett, James, Moore, Blanchett; Kee, Bolder, McGrath, Phillips; Richards (Banton, 67), Zola (Yussuf, 85). Substitutes: Poole, Palmer, Amankwaah.
BRADFORD: Duke, Flynn, Oliver, Jones (O'Brien, 74), Hanson, Moore, Threlfall, Reid (Compton, 88), Reed, Davies, Fagan (Hannah, 79). Substitutes: McLaughlin, Branston.
Referee: Mr. E.Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)
GOALS: ALBION: Kee (39), Richards (45+3 pen); BRADFORD: Reid (6), Hanson (16)