Port Vale 0 Bradford City 0: More points dropped at home for Valiants
MORE points dropped and another opportunity missed.
Port Vale's run of results, particularly at home, is becoming something of a concern.
No-one was under any illusion as to just how important this game was after back-to-back losses at headquarters.
But Micky Adams's men never deserved the precious victory they wanted so badly.
Impressive Bradford had the best chances and could have won it but for two goal-line clearances from defender Richard Duffy.
Vale had opportunities of their own, but a draw was the best they could realistically claim to deserve from the match.
It's now just one win in six for the Valiants, who find themselves just four points clear of the play-off pack.
Anthony Griffith made his second debut for Vale, having re-joined the club on loan from Leyton Orient for the rest of the season.
The midfielder replaced the ill Ryan Burge in one of four changes to the team which lost at Oxford on Saturday.
Liam Chilvers stepped in for John McCombe in the centre of defence, Ashley Vincent won a recall at the expense of Calvin Andrew and Louis Dodds made his first start since New Year's Day up front, edging Ben Williamson out of the team.
Bradford boss Phil Parkinson left leading scorer Nahki Wells on the bench, preferring in-form Garry Thompson up front instead.
It was immediately obvious the Vale players were keen to get on the front foot, but Chilvers was forced to make an early defensive clearance when a cross from the left speared into the penalty area.
Tough-tackling Bradford were taking no prisoners early on and Vincent was left in a heap by a crunching tackle from Stephen Darby.
But Griffith evened that up after six minutes with a foul on Thompson that earned him an early yellow card.
Vale were looking bright, however, and Loft's dangerous cross, after a run down the left, had to be headed clear by Carl McHugh under pressure from Tom Pope.
A Gary Jones corner caused panic in the home side's penalty area before the ball was hacked clear, while Will Atkinson was a yard wide after 22 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area after good build-up work involving the classy James Hanson.
The Valiants were showing plenty of endeavour, even if the quality was lacking at times.
But they went close to an opener after 27 minutes.
Duffy's high, hanging cross was collected by Dodds on the edge of the area and his shot was deflected only just wide by a sea of Bradford defenders, with visiting keeper Jon McLaughlin wrong-footed.
McLaughlin was then called into action to make a stunning save to deny Vincent's effort.
Vale went even closer just after the half-hour.
Darren Purse was lurking at the far post to head Jennison Myrie-Williams's curling free-kick back into the danger area and Pope got across his marker only to see his effort from eight yards out drift wide.
Chris Neal was then forced to punch clear under pressure from Hanson, but Bradford's attacking threat seemed to be fading towards half-time and it was Adams' men who were asking most of the questions.
An encouraging run forward by Dodds right at the start of the second half almost gave Pope the chance of a shot as the ball bobbled around on the edge of the area, but Bradford burst down the other end and a Zavon Hines cross from the right had to be superbly headed away by Duffy.
City went even closer after 49 minutes when McHugh's wickedly curling cross was met by a thumping header from Hanson, which was touched on to his crossbar by Neal.
The visitors were pressing again soon after, but committed too many men forward and Dodds broke from inside his own half only to be squeezed out in the end.
The game was opening up now and Vale were suddenly on the front foot.
Myrie-Williams led a break and when Dodds slid in Vincent, the winger's shot was stopped by a great diving block from McHugh.
The ball dropped to Pope, but the striker couldn't get enough on it to trouble McLaughlin.
Hanson was the centre of attention again after 56 minutes, rising to meet a Jones free-kick with a powerful header which whistled past the post.
Vale's Dan Jones was booked for a foul on Darby and the crowd were wanting similar punishment when Gary Jones left Myrie-Williams on the ground with a head-high challenge.
Bradford were inches from taking the lead on the hour-mark and Vale had Duffy to thank for a couple of vital interventions.
The right-back cleared off the line from central defender Rory McArdle and when the ball rebounded to Hanson, the defender was in the right place yet again to clear his lines.
Wells was thrown on to add to Bradford's attacking momentum midway through the second half, but Vale were thinking of their own goal threat and Dodds was only a yard or two too high with a volley from distance.
Ricky Ravenhill's yellow card, for handball on 70 minutes, was greeted with ironic cheers from fans, but hearts were in mouths soon after when Wells burst into the home side's penalty area only to be put off by a challenge from that man Duffy.
Vincent swung over a cross that was glanced past the far post by Pope, but Vale were still struggling to sustain attacking impetus, even when Sam Morsy replaced Vincent in a move which prompted Dodds to take up a wide right position.
Lee Hughes replaced Myrie-Williams with four minutes to go, and was immediately involved in the action.
His cute flick set up Pope just inside the area but just when you expected to see the net bulge, a Bradford defender slid in to save his side's bacon.
The frontman still had time to meet a Jones cross with a header from close range, but keeper McLaughlin was there was make sure home fans remained frustrated.
And that feeling increased in injury-time when skipper Doug Loft was sent off for an over-the-top challenge on Ravenhill.
There was still time for Bradford to mount late attacks, which left the Valiants grateful for a point in the end.