Match report: Bradford City 2 Blackpool 1
Omari Patrick's second-half strike meant Blackpool made a losing return to League One '“ but with a performance which offered hope for the season ahead.
The City striker settled matters just before the hour after a highly entertaining first half saw Colin Daniel cancel out Nathaniel Knight-Percival’s close-range strike.
A frenetic opening could have seen both sides score inside the first 10 minutes.
Jake Reeves’ cross was slightly too high for City striker Alex Jones, whose header sailed over the Seasiders’ bar.
If Bowyer’s players were feeling any nerves on their return to League One then they didn’t show them with strikers Mark Cullen and Kyle Vassell proving a pain for the home backline.
An exchange of passes forced Matthew Killgallon into a last-ditch challenge with the well placed Cullen about to shoot.
Seconds later and Pool won the ball back high up the pitch with Cullen’s shot well blocked by Tony McMahon.
They came closer still on nine minutes, though more by luck than design.
Cullen’s high, looping cross went straight to City keeper Colin Doyle, who let the ball slip through his hands and was forced into a desperate retreat to clear it off the line.
However, the first half’s main talking point was one which worried all of the near 21,000-crowd present.
Having earlier fired well off target, City debutant Adam Chicksen’s match ended inside the quarter-hour after a sickening collision with Oliver Turton which saw play held up for a good seven minutes and the full-back stretchered off.
It took the momentum out of the Seasiders’ play with the home side enjoying the better of the play in the immediate aftermath.
Ryan Allsop kept out Kilgallon’s shot and Nicky Law fired off target before City took a 41st minute lead.
A free-kick from the left was flicked on by Law and Knight-Percival netted from close range.
Any Blackpool heads which dropped only did so for a couple of minutes as Daniel drove in from the Seasiders’ left-hand side before firing into the far corner.
In contrast, the second half was less to end-to-end with the home side enjoying much more of the ball.
That said, it was Pool who could have regained the lead seven minutes in after Vassell broke but a heavy touch allowed a defender to clear with Cullen unmarked in the middle.
He was punished for that error moments later, just after Clark Robertson’s sliding challenge denied Jones as he was about to shoot.
There was no such escape with the hour approaching as Patrick’s curling effort beat Allsop with the hour approaching.
With Vassell and Cullen making less of an impact after the break, Bowyer introduced Bright Osayi-Samuel and Viv Solomon-Otabor for the final 20 minutes.
However, it was the home side who came closest to scoring again with substitute Dominic Poleon denied by Allsop’s legs and then prodding an effort narrowly wide.
Osayi-Samuel saw a shot kept out by Doyle with the rebound striking Nathan Delfouneso before sailing over the bar but that was near as Bowyer’s men got to claiming a point.
Bradford City: Doyle, McMahon, Kilgallon, Knight-Percival, Chicksen (Dieng 22), Vincelot, Law, Reeves, McCartan (Devine 79), Jones (Poleon 79), Patrick. Subs not used: Sattelmaier, Gilliead, Pybus, Hudson.
Blackpool: Allsopp, Aimson, Robertson, Tilt, Turton, Delfouneso, Ryan, Cooke, Daniel, Vassell (Solomon-Otabor 70), Cullen (Osayi-Samuel 70). Subs not used: Williams, Taylor, Clayton, Gnanduillet, Longstaff.
Referee: Roger East.