16 September 2023

Mark Hughes calls for people to ‘keep their nerve’ as Bradford booed after draw

16 September 2023

Mark Hughes called for people to “keep their nerve” after Bradford were booed despite scoring late to draw 1-1 with Harrogate.

Jamie Walker’s headed stoppage-time equaliser earned the hosts a point after Harrogate had led through Matty Daly.

But Hughes’ side were still booed at the final whistle of a drab encounter.

Bradford manager Hughes said: “There’s a little bit of frustration at the moment but we’ve just got to remind ourselves that it’s early in the season.

“We’re only eight games in and we’ve got new players coming in trying to make an impact and we’re reintegrating the guys who have been injured as well.

“It’s not an easy time and people have just got to keep their nerve and relax a bit.”

Bradford are still without last season’s League Two top goalscorer Andy Cook with a knee injury. Hughes admitted that is having an effect.

“It’s difficult at the moment because we lack a focal point to our attack,” he added.

“We lack a little bit of physicality, which you need at this level. We’ve got to find another way to affect teams.”

Walker created the only shot on target in the first half when he charged into the box before Mark Oxley blocked his near-post effort.

Bradford picked up the tempo after the break and Oxley saved again from on-loan Aston Villa forward Chisom Afoka.

Harrogate’s Luke Armstrong was not far away with a shot that took a slight deflection over the bar.

Daly, a former Bradford loan player, then popped up through a hesitant defence to convert Jeremy Sivi’s pass from close range.

It was the first time Harrogate, who had lost five of their previous six games, had scored from open play in the league this season.

But they were denied the win after conceding in stoppage time for the second week running.

Manager Simon Weaver said: “I was disappointed only to achieve a draw because the standard of performance was high.

“I thought we deserved the three points but we don’t want to be known as the unlucky team, the last-minute team. We’ve got to be better at sealing the deal.

“It was a fairly deep free-kick lofted into the box and when you see a small player being the goalscorer and running away in delight, you’ve obviously got to be disappointed with not dealing with the situation.

“We’ve worked really hard in order to be a bit more compact. On a difficult run, the first thing you want to do is stop the goals going in against you.

“Then obviously you want to score goals more freely. It was good to get a goal and I think we’re showing signs now of a team that’s evolving and can expect to win games.”

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