Bradford City 0 Wigan Athletic 0

Last updated : 13 March 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Former Bradford hero Paul Jewell had a bittersweet return to his old patch as his new side saw their promotion challenge falter for a second successive week.

But things could have been much worse for the ex-Bradford boss if referee Eddie Evans hadn't waved away a strong penalty appeal at the start of the second half.

City striker Michael Branch, who was making his first start since Boxing Day, went sprawling under a challenge from Wigan skipper Jason De Vos and Mr Evans rubbed salt in the wound when he booked the Bradford frontman for his heated protest.

Although City held out comfortably for their first goalless draw since November, other results meant they lost ground on their relegation rivals.

Jewell, who led Bradford into the Premiership in 1999 was given a warm welcome on his first return to Valley Parade, but with first division survival at stake he could have expected no favours from his former club.

After just five minutes a low cross from Lewis Emanuel almost picked out Branch, but Wigan full-back Leighton Baines got back to clear the danger.

Branch could have opened the scoring if he had made the most of Dean Windass' hard work just before the half hour.

Windass forced the ball beyond De Vos and after Branch used his pace to run in on goal, keeper John Filan stood up well to block his near-post shot.

Wigan's danger man Nathan Ellington showed glimpses of his threat but his only real sight of goal came six minutes before the break and Bradford keeper Nico Vaesen blocked his fierce strike.

As injury time loomed City blew a great chance to take the lead when Windass ignored Wigan's offside appeals to square the ball to Nicky Summerbee, but centre-half Ian Breckin hurled himself in front of the winger's goalbound drive.

Branch's tumble was the key moment of the second half as both sides struggled to create clear cut chances.

City centre-half Mark Bower jabbed a close-range effort wide and Wigan striker Lee McCulloch saw his header flash over the angle of bar and post.