Grimsby Town shared the points with Bradford City after an entertaining goalless draw at Blundell Park.
The Mariners followed up last week’s victory at Stockport County with another battling performance, this time in front of their home fans in an 8,000-plus crowd.
Town had the better chances in what at times was a frenetic contest, with Kieran Green rattling the bar in the first half before substitute Lewis Richardson was twice denied by great saves in the closing stages.
At the other end, assured defending throughout by Andy Smith and Luke Waterfall kept the Bantams’ attack at bay and ensured the hosts’ display was rewarded with a point.
Town were unchanged following the win at Edgeley Park, with goalkeeper Max Crocombe lining up behind a defence of Michee Efete, Waterfall, Smith and Anthony Glennon. Green sat behind the midfield of Brendan Kiernan, Gavan Holohan, Harry Clifton and Otis Khan, while Ryan Taylor again led the attack.
The substitutes were Niall Maher, Alex Hunt, Jordan Maguire-Drew, Danilo Orsi, Richardson, Keyendrah Simmonds and Bryn Morris, who made his return to the matchday squad from injury.
Bradford made one change from their victory at Salford last time out, with former Scunthorpe midfielder Alex Gilliead coming in for Ryan East.
The visitors sat fifth in the table at kick-off but just two points ahead of the 10th-placed Mariners, and manager Mark Hughes would again look to top scorer and former Town striker Andy Cook to fire his side to another win on the road.
An early Richie Smallwood header was cleared, before defender Rom Crichlow beat Taylor to a low cross from Kiernan at the other end.
Tyreik Wright was caught offside as the away side looked for a quick break, then Khan linked up well with Glennon down the Town left but his cross was headed out for a corner by Crichlow, who again had to make the vital interception to deny Taylor. The ball from the flag was headed clear.
Smith made a superb challenge inside his own penalty area after Harry Chapman went clear through the middle on five minutes, before Kiernan was flagged offside after Taylor had headed on a long ball from Glennon as the fast-paced opening to the game continued.
Smith was involved again on 15 minutes when he cut out a cross from Wright before it could reach Cook but the visitors kept possession and they eventually won a corner on the right after two shots were blocked. Smallwood’s delivery from the flag was headed towards goal by Cook but a vital block sent the ball over the bar for another corner.
At the other end, Khan was denied by a block from Brad Halliday after Clifton beat the offside trap and pulled the ball back. The defender ensured it went behind for a corner and Glennon’s delivery from the right was headed over the bar by Waterfall.
It had been an exciting opening 20 minutes as both teams pushed forward, feeding off the atmosphere generated by the near-capacity crowd.
A foul on Khan by Halliday gave Town a chance to put pressure on the Bradford goal with a free kick in a central position, 30 yards out. The opportunity was not taken though, as Glennon’s shot hit the away wall.
Intelligent play by Taylor on 25 minutes saw him hold the ball up on halfway before playing Khan through down the left. His pull-back was half-cleared but Town kept possession and Green struck a powerful effort from 18 yards which bounced back off the angle of post and crossbar, as the Mariners went the closest yet to opening the scoring.
A foul on Holohan near the dug-outs earned Smallwood a talking-to from the referee, although the hosts were unable to cause any problems from the free kick.
Kiernan was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon on 35 minutes after a full-blooded challenge with Halliday, before another promising position was lost when Khan was penalised for a push on Matty Platt.
Dion Pereira cut inside from the right and sent a low shot wide of Crocombe’s near post on 39 minutes as Bradford threatened following a period where Town had been on top.
Another effort from Pereira was blocked, before Wright nodded wide after a cross had been headed back across goal as half-time approached.
One added minute was played and Holohan had a chance to put the Mariners ahead in the final action of the half when he met a pull-back from Kiernan but the midfielder could only send his first-time shot over the bar, so it remained goalless at the break.
Morris replaced Kiernan before the restart as Clifton moved to the right wing, and Wright became the first Bradford player to be booked two minutes in after tripping Efete up on halfway to stop an attack from developing. The right-back stayed down after the foul but was eventually passed fit to continue after receiving treatment.
Great defending by Waterfall saw him step in to stop Chapman, before Crocombe had to tip a cross from Matty Foulds over his bar for a corner on the visitors’ left. From it, they almost took the lead as the ball was played short for Foulds and his cross eventually dropped for Chapman. The midfielder’s shot looked to be heading for the bottom corner of the net but Crocombe got a hand to it and Pereira sent the rebound over the bar.
Town were straight on the attack afterwards and a chance came when Clifton’s cross was met by Khan but his shot was well-saved by keeper Harry Lewis.
Lee Angol replaced Pereira in the away side’s first substitution on 54 minutes, before an attempted through-ball from Clifton was deflected away for a corner on the right but Waterfall was unable to hit the target with his far-post header.
Town had the momentum and they attacked again on 59 minutes, although nobody could get on the end of Holohan’s ball across the six-yard line.
Lewis came off his line to make a block from Holohan after good play by Morris around the edge of the box, then calm defending by Waterfall stopped a Bradford attack.
Holohan won a corner on 63 minutes after Morris launched a break by finding Khan and the pressure continued with another one after Glennon’s delivery was tipped over the bar by Lewis. This time, the ball broke for Green but he fired over the bar.
Soon afterwards, Smith was adjudged to have fouled Angol as he jumped to win a header and as a result, the visitors were given a free kick in a dangerous position near the edge of the box. Smallwood’s delivery was poor though and the ball sailed out for a goal kick.
Khan won a corner on the right on 70 minutes and the ball from the flag was headed away as far as Clifton but his volley from 20 yards flew wide.
Levi Sutton came on for Chapman in Bradford’s second change, with Town looking the more likely to force a breakthrough.
And the Mariners had an opportunity to open the scoring when Efete found Holohan from a free kick but the midfielder steered his shot just wide.
Foulds fired harmlessly over the bar from distance with 15 minutes to go, then Angol could only volley wide from a narrow-angle after Waterfall had got his head to a ball forward.
Richardson replaced Holohan for the last 11 minutes as Town continued to press for a winner and he was straight into the action with a fierce drive from 18 yards which the keeper had to push away for a corner. Glennon’s free-kick was headed clear.
Richardson tested the keeper again soon afterwards after winning the ball and driving towards the box. Again, he was denied by a good save and a corner was the result, with Glennon’s delivery beating everybody and going out for a throw-in.
Cook was replaced by East with seven minutes remaining after the Town defence had done an excellent job of keeping the striker quiet throughout the game.
Maguire-Drew came on in place of Khan for the closing stages, before Waterfall had to head behind for a corner, which was cleared by Morris.
Four added minutes gave both teams extra opportunity to find a winner and a free kick in the dying seconds gave the visitors a platform but as Wright’s ball was dealt with, the final whistle blew to confirm a deserved point for Town.
The Mariners will now head back on the road for the long trip to Barrow on Tuesday.