Football - Ref Atwell feels the heat

Both managers criticised referee Stuart Attwell's decision to show two red cards after a first-half incident in which Bradford's debutant Kyle Bennett and Preston midfielder Neil Kilkenny were sent off.

PA Sport Report

The dismissals came in the 25th minute when Bennett, signed on loan from Doncaster, and Kilkenny were dismissed after a clash on the halfway line. Kilkenny reacted to a foul by Bennett and the Bradford player retaliated.

Preston manager Simon Grayson said: "There was nothing in the incident by either player.

"They pushed each other in the chest or neck area. I don't know if that constitutes a sending off, but I think we have to use common sense.

"I think the referee could have given himself a bit more breathing time and then given both players a yellow card.

"There was nothing malicious on the part of either of them."

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson agreed. He said: "All I can say is that it looked innocuous to me.

"I think he could have used his common sense. I suppose the players did raise their hands so technically he is right, but refereeing is about common sense and that has got to prevail."

Parkinson said he would look at a video of the incident before deciding whether to appeal or not.

"Kyle Bennett started brightly," he said. "Now he has got three games out. He has got terrific talent and I think our supporters will warm to him, but it wasn't to be in this match."

Preston missed a great chance two minutes after the double sending off when Joe Garner just missed connecting with Scott Laird's left-wing cross and Paul Gallagher chested the ball against the post.

Bradford's best effort of the first half came in the last minute of normal time when home debutant Aaron Mclean saw his goal bound shot punched away by Declan Rudd.

Skipper Gary Jones and Reach, a loan signing from Middlesbrough, impressed for City as both sides went close to scoring in an action-packed second half.

Rudd did well to block a shot from McLean, while Josh Brownhill hit the post for Preston, who had the ball in the net in the 83rd minute only for Garner to be ruled offside.

The result extended Bradford's run of matches without a home win to nine - they have not won at Valley Parade since the end of September - but Parkinson was pleased with his side's performance and delighted to have defender Andrew Davies back in the side after four months out of action with a knee injury.

"To come back after four months out without a reserve game is an achievement. He was just brilliant," he said.

Grayson added: "We limited Bradford to few opportunities. It was a tough surface. Both sides wanted to win the game. Neither team settled for a point."

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