Blackpool 0 Bristol City 0

Last updated : 01 February 2003 By Footymad Previewer

A Mickey Bell free-kick which rattled the Blackpool post was as close as either as they two play-off hopefuls came to a goal in a hard fought clash at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders made it eight games without defeat while City have yet to win this calendar year, but both managers expressed their satisfaction at the performance and the result.

Visitors City started brighter and could have taken the lead on 27 minutes when a Scott Murray cross picked out Christian Roberts right in front of goal, but the former Exeter striker dragged his shot wide when it seemed easier to score.

Three minutes later Roberts was fouled on the edge of the area and Bell clipped a free-kick towards the near post and, as Phil Barnes scrambled across his goal-line, the ball crashed against the post and clear.

The home side's best chance of the half also came from a set-piece, with Welsh international Paul Evans hitting a powerful shot which was well saved by keeper Steve Phillips.

The home side came more into it after the break and Bell had to show his defensive qualities on 55 minutes, when a John Murphy header from a Ben Thornley corner had to be cleared off the line.

At the other end on-loan striker Craig Fagan came off the bench and almost stole all three points when he dodged in behind Colin Hendry and took a shot which Barnes was just about able to parry, with Murray putting the rebound well wide.

Visiting boss Danny Wilson said: "Not once did they get in behind us until Martin Bullock came on after 80 minutes.

"Our keeper hasn't had a save to make and has been full of praise for his team-mates.

"I know it isn't a win, but a draw here is always a good result.

Seasiders boss Steve McMahon, who will sign a new contract next week, said: "I think a draw is a fair result, both sides will be happy with the result."