MX23RW : Thursday, January 24 01:06:03
May 20, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Wembley Stadium
BradfordBradford City
FT(HT: 0-0)
Morison (86')

Live Commentary: Bradford City 0-1 Millwall - as it happened

Relive Millwall's 1-0 win over Bradford as a late strike from Steve Morison earns the Lions promotion to the Championship via the League One playoff final at Wembley.
Live Commentary: Bradford 0-1 Millwall - as it happened
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Millwall secured promotion to the Championship this afternoon courtesy of a 1-0 win over Bradford City in the League One playoff final at Wembley.

Bradford created the best chance of the first half when Billy Clarke raced through on goal only to be denied by a fine one-on-one save by Jordan Archer.

Rory McArdle squandered another clear chance for the Bantams in the second half, but they were made to rue those misses when Steve Morison turned Lee Gregory's flick-on past the keeper from close range to hand Millwall an 86th-minute winner.

Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of our minute-by-minute updates below.

2pmGood afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's League One playoff semi-final as Bradford City and Millwall do battle for a place in the Championship. These are always very interesting affairs, and today should be no different with little to separate the two teams on paper. One of these clubs is just 90 minutes away from a return to the second tier, but there is plenty of action to come before we find out who. First, though, let's have a look at the team news...

2.02pmBRADFORD STARTING XI: Doyle; McMahon, McArdle, Knight-Percival, Meredith; Marshall, Cullen, Vincelot, Law; Wyke, Clarke

2.02pmBRADFORD SUBS: Sattelmaier, Darby, Dieng, Hiwula, Gilliead, Jones, Kilgallon

2.04pmMILLWALL STARTING XI: Archer; Romeo, Webster, Hutchinson, Craig; Wallace, Abdou, Williams, O'Brien; Gregory, Morison

2.04pmMILLWALL SUBS: King, Cooper, Thompson, Butcher, Ferguson, Worrall, Onyedinma

2.06pmWhat can we make of those two teams, then? Well, it is no surprise to see that Bradford City name the same starting XI as they did in both of their semi-final matches against Fleetwood have just done enough to scrape into today's showpiece event with their 1-0 aggregate victory. The goalscorer from that tie was centre-back Rory McArdle, who keeps his place at the heart of the defence alongside Knight-Percival. McMahon and Meredith, the latter of whom scored in the most recent meeting between the two sides, make up the back four.

2.08pmBradford will once again use something close to a 4-4-2 formation, with Clarke perhaps playing just a little deeper than the main striker Charlie Wyke. Bradford as a team have not exactly been the most free-scoring this season - something I will look at a little closer later on - but Wyke has certainly been a valuable addition for the Bantams at the sharp end of the field. Indeed, since making his debut for the club in February he has been directly involved in more goals than any other Bradford player, scoring seven and creating three more.

2.10pmThere will be others eager to share the goalscoring mantle, however, as McArdle showed in the playoff semi-finals with his all-important goal. One of Bradford's best performers this season has been Law, who have enjoyed himself in League One since his move from Rangers. He has scored five goals and registered six assists so far this season, and will be keen for another important contribution to complete a successful campaign today.

2.12pmRomain Vincelot captains the side again having made a major impact at the club since his move from Coventry in the summer. The Frenchman has played more matches for Bradford than any other player this season - this will me his 48th of the League One campaign - and victory would see him return to the Championship on an individual level for the first time since 2011-12, when he made 15 appearances for Brighton & Hove Albion.

2.14pmMillwall have plenty of players with more recent experience of playing in the second tier - and of playing in occasions like this one - and they also name an unchanged starting XI for this afternoon's game. There was a concern over the fitness of Shaun Hutchinson, whose goal dramatically fired them into the playoffs on the final day of the season, but he will continue to play through the pain of a broken rib as he did in the semi-finals.

2.16pmThe Lions may not need to rely on the centre-back to pop up with any important goals this afternoon due to the fact that they boast one of the fiercest attacking lineups in the league - not particularly surprising for a team managed by one of the club's greatest strikers. Lee Gregory in particular has terrorised Bradford in recent meetings, scoring in each of the past three contests between these two sides including both legs of the playoff semi-final last season.

2.18pmGregory was also on the scoresheet in this season's playoff semi-final win over Scunthorpe, but simply keeping him quiet may not be enough for Bradford today. In Steve Morison they have another proven goal-getter, with 13 in League One this season including two in that semi-final win. O'Brien has also weighed in with 13 goals of his own this season, leaving that trio on 44 goals between them in League One alone.

2.20pmO'Brien retains his place in a wide role this afternoon, while Wallace, Abdou and Williams make up the midfield quartet and will no doubt be dreaming of becoming a less likely name on the scoresheet today. It is in defence where Millwall's main struggles have come from this season, but that hasn't prevented Harris from sticking with Romeo, Webster, Hutchinson and Craig as his back four. Archer, meanwhile, continues between the sticks.

2.22pmMillwall arguably have more players capable of nicking a vital goal than Bradford this afternoon, then, but the Bantams will still be confident heading into today's match. After all, they did finish the season in fifth place - six point ahead of the Lions and only three off third-placed Scunthorpe United. Bradford ended up seven points adrift of an automatic promotion place, but their spot in the playoffs has looked safe for some time now.

2.24pmIt is the second season in a row in which Bradford have finished fifth in the table and, while they ended the regular campaign one point worse off than last term, crucially they have already gone one better in the playoffs. The Bantams were knocked out in the semi-finals by Millwall last season, but a victory today would see them return to the second tier of English football for the first time since 2004.

2.26pmDuring their 13 years away from the second tier Bradford have dropped all the way down to League Two, spending seven years in the third tier and six in the bottom level of English football. They won promotion back up to League One in 2012-13, since when they have never really looked like returning. Indeed, promotion this season would cap off a clear period of progress for Stuart McCall's side having finished 11th, seventh, fifth and fifth in their four season since returning to this level.

2.28pmBradford boast a decent record in playoff finals too - they have won promotion on both occasions where they have previously reached Wembley at any level. The first of those came when moving from third tier to second tier in 1996, when they beat Notts County 2-0 in the final, while they beat Northampton to win promotion from League Two in 2013 - a match Rory McArdle scored in as Bradford ran out 3-0 winners.

2.30pmBradford are the first team to finish fifth in League One and then reach the playoff final since Swindon Town in 2010, and they will be hoping that lightning doesn't strike again at Wembley as Swindon were beaten by none other than Millwall on that occasion. The last team to finish fifth and go on to secure promotion, meanwhile, was Barnsley back in 2006, so the Bantams are bidding to end an 11-year hoodoo of sorts today.

2.32pmBradford come into this match in decent form having lost just one of their last eight games, winning five of those and only losing to champions Sheffield United to comfortably see them over the line in League One. Crucially, they have kept six clean sheets in those eight games, underlining just how hard they are to beat. Indeed, Bradford began the campaign with a 12-match unbeaten run and they have lost just three of their last 21 league outings - including their aggregate win over Fleetwood in the semi-finals.

2.34pmBradford dropped more points than any other League One team due to draws during the regular season, sharing the spoils on a league-high 19 occasions, but while that may have been frustrating for the season, it could prove to be a positive in a one-off match like this one. Only champions Sheffield United lost fewer games than the Bantams this season - beaten just seven times in 46 outings - and a team that is so tough to beat will always have a good chance in a playoff final.

2.36pmMillwall will need to come up with the solution of cracking that Bradford nut today if they are to return to the Championship at the second attempt after missing the chance to bounce straight back last season. The Lions got to this same stage of the 2015-16 campaign, via a semi-final win over Bradford, but they were beaten by Barnsley at Wembley to suffer heartbreak. They are just the fifth team to reach back-to-back playoff finals at this level, and all four of the previous teams have gone on to win at the second attempt.

2.38pmThat includes Millwall themselves achieving the feat in 2010 having lost the final a year previously, and while their record when they reach Wembley could be better, they do at least always seem to get there once they qualify for the playoffs. Indeed, the Lions have now reached the final in each of their last four appearances in the playoffs, but two of those have ended in defeat - in 2009 and last season.

2.40pmWembley is a ground which Millwall will be relatively familiar with considering you might not expect a club of their calibre to reach it too often. This will actually be their fifth appearance at the stadium in the last eight leagues, with four of those coming in the aforementioned playoff finals. Millwall also made it all the way to the FA Cup semi-final in 2012-13, but once again the majority of their experience on this hallowed turf has been rather negative.

2.42pmHaving been beaten by Barnsley in the playoff final last year, Millwall are now looking to emulate the Tykes by finishing sixth in the table and still managing to make it into the Championship. The Lions were handed the toughest semi-final draw on paper due to that finish, and their chances looked a little bleaker when they could only manage a 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe in the home first leg. However, a 3-2 away victory in the second leg saw them claim the aggregate win and reach Wembley once again.

2.44pmThe last time a sixth-placed team won promotion from League One two seasons in a row was back in 1997, when Crewe Alexandra followed in the footsteps of Millwall's very opponents today to book their place in the Championship. Millwall were very not in the picture at all on the final day having handed Southend a route back into the top six with back-to-back defeats at the hands of Fleetwood and Oxford prior to that.

2.46pmMillwall still had things in their own hands when they took on Bristol Rovers on the final day, knowing that a win would clinch their place, but heading into the final stages of the match they were level at 3-3 and would have been overtaken by Southend. However, Shaun Hutchinson's 85th-minute winner saw Millwall book their place in dramatic fashion - a goal which would prove even more important should the Lions complete the job today.

2.48pmMillwall ended the season in worse form than any other team in the top six, thanks largely to those two defeats, but they performed better in that top-six mini-league than Bradford did this season. Millwall won three of their 10 outings against fellow top-six opposition, including being one of only five teams to inflict a league defeat of Sheffield United, whereas Bradford managed just one win from their 10.

2.50pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes away from kickoff at Wembley, which means that it is time for a prediction! This really is a tough one to call and plenty will be split on who to back in this one. Bradford have proven themselves very hard to beat, but Millwall have the front two who are capable of winning any game for their side. It could go all the way to extra time, but I'm backing Millwall to get the job done - possibly even via a penalty shootout.

2.52pmBradford have only lost one of their last nine matches against Millwall in all competitions, although it hasn't all been one-sided in that time with six draws and only two victories for the Bantams. Crucially too, that solitary defeat since December 2006 came in the playoff semi-final last year, which ultimately sent Millwall through to the final at Wembley.

2.54pmMillwall's 3-1 victory came at Valley Parade before a 1-1 draw at The Den sealed a 4-2 aggregate triumph for Neil Harris's side. Both fixtures this season also ended 1-1, so there has been precious little to separate the two teams in recent meetings. The most recent clash in January saw Millwall take the lead through Gregory at Valley Parade before Meredith levelled things up against 10 minutes later, while the reverse fixture saw Webster's own goal cancelled out by Martin.

2.56pmTEAMS! Just before we get this party started at Wembley, let's have a quick reminder of the two teams for this one...

BRADFORD STARTING XI: Doyle; McMahon, McArdle, Knight-Percival, Meredith; Marshall, Cullen, Vincelot, Law; Wyke, Clarke

MILLWALL STARTING XI: Archer; Romeo, Webster, Hutchinson, Craig; Wallace, Abdou, Williams, O'Brien; Gregory, Morison

2.58pmThe anthem is complete, the handshakes are done and we're just about ready to go here. Plenty of fans have made the trip to Wembley for this one!

1 minKICKOFF! Here we go, then! There is a great atmosphere inside Wembley as Millwall get us underway. The Championship awaits one of these teams!

3 minMillwall have started this match on the front foot, and they appear to have brought the bulk of the fans to Wembley tonight. There are lots of empty seats in the Bradford end - less so for the Lions.

5 minPainful one for Abdou here as he slides in and wins the ball from Marshall, who proceeds to trod on his shin. It looks nasty, but Abdou will be fine to continue.

6 minSHOT! The first shot of the afternoon falls to Bradford as Marshall's cross is only cleared as far as McMahon on the edge of the box. The full-back tries to swing a half-volley into the far corner, but he doesn't get the swerve he is after and it goes behind for a goal kick.

8 minMarshall collects a cross at the back post, but you can tell that Millwall have highlighted him as a threat. They are very quickly out to him and close him down well on this occasion.

9 minAlmost a chance for Millwall to get in behind as Gregory races on to a pass over the top, but McArdle forces him out wide. The danger is not quite averted, but Millwall eventually have to settle for a corner.

10 minCHANCE! Millwall are a threat from aerial situations, and they prove that from the resulting corner. Hutchinson attacks it really well and meets it with a firm header at the front post. It could well cause the keeper problems, but it nicks off a Bradford defender and flies over for another corner.

11 minCHANCE! Millwall win a second and a third corner in a row, and the latter provides another decent chance. Morison meets it relatively unmarked, but steers his header off target when he probably should have done better.

12 minMillwall are applying all the pressure now! Gregory finds more space to come forward before sliding the ball in for Morison, whose subsequent cross causes problems. Abdou nearly gets on the end of it, but eventually it is put behind for a corner.

13 minCHANCE! Completely out of the blue, Bradford have a huge chance to take the lead! They break from another Millwall corner, with Marshall sliding a perfect pass through for Clarke. The Bradford striker only has the keeper to beat, but Archer pulls off a sensational save to deny the opening goal. Superb goalkeeping, as Clarke didn't do much wrong there.

15 minSAVE! Archer has another save to make, although this one is more straightforward. Meredith tries to beat the Millwall keeper at the near post with a powerful strike, but Archer has his angles right and beats it away.

17 minThis has been a very entertaining playoff final so far. At the other end Millwall almost have another chance as O'Brien nearly gets on the end of a loose ball, but he opts to let it run out of play instead of trying his luck from a difficult angle.

19 minMillwall were on top for the opening 12 minutes of this contest, but since then it has been all Bradford, We're less than 20 minutes in but already this has been an absorbing game. It has ebbed and flowed very nicely and continues to be played at a very good tempo.

20 minAlmost another shooting chance for Clarke as he picks up a loose ball in a promotion position outside the area. Williams steps in and makes a good, clean tackle on the edge of his own box, though.

22 minBradford have a free kick in a decent crossing position and sent the big centre-backs up, but then they play it short. It almost comes off, though, and only decent clearance at the front post prevents them from creating another chance.

24 minFree kick to Bradford on the edge of the box here as Clarke gets a toe to the ball just in front of a sliding Abdou. McMahon is standing over this one...

25 minIt is a decent strike from McMahon, but Hutchinson sticks his head in the way and prevents it from troubling the keeper.

27 minMillwall have been pinned back into their own half for some time now, and Bradford deserve a lot of credit for that having made a rather slow start to the game. Still goalless at Wembley, though!

29 minMillwall just cannot make the ball stick up front at the moment. Bradford are putting enough pressure on them to force Morison back to help defend, which is leaving Gregory isolated whenever they do manage to get the ball forward.

30 minBradford have another chance to break following a Millwall corner, and once again Marshall is at the forefront. This time it comes to nothing, but Bradford are looking dangerous on those counter-attacks.

32 minCHANCE! Bradford have a corner of their own here and McArdle peels round to the back post to get his head on the ball. He rises well and gets his forehead to it, but his header lacks the power to really test Archer.

34 minAlmost another chance from a Bradford corner, although this time the Bantams come at it from a different angle. The ball is played low towards the edge of the box, but McMahon's first effort is blocked and he can't trouble the keeper when the ball comes back to him quickly either.

36 minBradford have spent the vast majority of this half inside the Millwall half, but Wyke has been relatively quiet considering that. It is the likes of Marshall and Clarke who have looked most dangerous for Stuart McCall's side.

38 minThe chances have dried up a little in the last 20 minutes or so, but the tempo has barely slowed in that time. Bradford remain on top, but Millwall are growing into the game as an attacking threat once again.

40 minAlmost a chance for Millwall as a deep free kick finds Morison, who nods the ball back into a dangerous area. Hutchinson is there to have a go, but Vincelot throws himself in the way of the ball to make a crucial block.

42 minNow Bradford have the opportunity to get the ball into the box after Hutchinson conceded a free kick in a good crossing position on the right flank...

43 minCHANCE! It's half a chance for Wyke as he darts to the front post and gets a glancing header to the ball, but he doesn't get enough on it and it goes out for a throw-in.

45 minThere will be one minute of added time at the end of this first half.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Bradford City 0-0 Millwall

3.56pmThe first half comes to an end at Wembley, then, and despite it still being goalless in the League One playoff final we have seen a good and entertaining contest so far. Millwall started well, but Bradford soon hit back and the Bantams will feel that they should probably be ahead at the halfway stage. It is still all to play for in the coming 45 minutes, though.

3.58pmThe best chance of the first half went the way of Bradford, who broke very quickly from a Millwall corner to send Billy Clarke clean through on goal. The striker only had the keeper to beat, but Archer produced a superb one-on-one save to deny Clarke and keep the scores goalless.

4pmBradford have struggled to turn their possession into chances for the most part, with Meredith, McArdle and Wyke only really having minor sights of goals after that Clarke chance. Millwall's chances all came in the opening 11 minutes, mainly from corners as both Hutchinson and Morison threatened via that route.

4.02pmMillwall remain very much in this game, but they will need to show more in the second half if they are to book their place in the Championship next season. Bradford will want more of the same, but they also need to improve in the final third as they haven't created the chances to match their possession and territory.

46 minKICKOFF! Bradford get us back underway for the second half, and what a huge 45 minutes it promises to be! As things stand we are heading for extra time.

48 minMillwall win an early free kick which is just about in crossing range, but Marshall can barely believe it having been penalised for going shoulder to shoulder with Abdou.

50 minGood pressure from Bradford as Law collects the ball in a good position before sliding a pass down the left channel. Eventually the ball drops to Meredith, but his low drive from the edge of the box is blocked.

51 minMillwall are very nearly in at the other end moments later, but McArdle makes a crucial challenge when Millwall would have been left two on one had he missed it.

52 minSHOT! This time there is a sight of goal for Millwall as the ball is knocked down to Morison, but under pressure he drags his 25-yard effort wide of the target.

54 minThis time it is Millwall's chance to threaten on a break, but they are forced to settle for yet another corner, which comes to nothing.

56 minMillwall have made the better start to this second half, but it is worth remembering that they were also on top for the first 10 minutes of the first half before Bradford began to settle.

58 minYELLOW CARD! The first card of the afternoon goes to O'Brien for a trip on Marshall, halting his zig-zagging run.

59 minCHANCE! Bradford should be ahead! The resulting free kick is floated into the middle and McArdle, who is no stranger to scoring in big games, loses his marker. He just can't get over the ball, though, and nods it well over from a very good position. He should have done better there!

61 minCHANCE! Millwall respond with their biggest chance of the afternoon as Gregory does really well to spin away from his man before sliding a pass through for Wallace. The midfielder is under a bit of pressure, but he also lacks composure as he slides his finish quite a way wide.

63 minMillwall have had a lot of corners today and, while they haven't been able to make the most of them just yet, they are usually good enough in those situations to make one of them count.

65 minCHANCE! This time Bradford have the chance to get the ball in the box as they win a free kick in a dangerous crossing position which McMahon swings into the box. McArdle again gets his head to it, but once more he can't keep it down.

67 minYet another corner for Millwall, but Cullen rises well to deal with it. Bradford have coped with the aerial bombardment comfortably for the most part today.

69 minJust over 20 minutes remaining in this playoff final, and still we are waiting for the opening goal. This will be a nervy finale for both sets of supporters!

70 minMILLWALL SUB: The first change of the afternoon comes from Millwall as Shane Ferguson replaces O'Brien.

72 minIt is Millwall applying the bulk of the pressure now, with Bradford pinned back into their own half at the moment. This one really still could go either way!

74 minBRADFORD SUBS: Bradford make their first changes of the contest as Alex Jones and Timothee Dieng replace Clarke and Law.

76 minYELLOW CARD! Meredith is the second player in the referee's notebook today as Wallace charges into him. The Bradford player can feel quite hard done by there, though - there wasn't any real chance for him to get out of the way!

78 minWe're approaching the final 10 minutes of this playoff final here, and both teams are getting to the stage where they know any error could prove fatal. A s things stand, though, we're heading to extra time.

79 minBig piece of defending from McArdle! The ball is fed into the feet of Morison inside the area, but his shot is blocked by the Bradford defender before smuggle the ball behind for Millwall's 13th corner of the afternoon.

81 minMillwall look the most likely to get a late winner here. A ball into the box is met by Wallace at the back post, but his header is never troubling the keeper.

82 minCHANCE! Bradford hit back with a half-chance of there own as Meredith meets McMahon's cross into the box, but it is a difficult header to take on nd he can only steer it wide of the target.

84 minThis has been an entertaining game considering the scoreline, but it increasingly has the feel that it will go to extra time. Are either side willing to take a risk to win bit before then, though?

86 minGOAL! Bradford 0-1 Millwall (Steve Morison)

86 minWhat do I know, hey? I can only apologise to Bradford fans for this commentator's curse as Millwall put one foot in the Championship with the opening goal four minutes from time. The ball is flicked on by Gregory and Morison is there to volley it into the roof of the net from close range. The replay shows that Morison was a couple of inches offside, so Bradford will feel hard done by, but it was a difficult one for the official.

88 minIt is kitchen sink time for Bradford now! They have been the better team for the majority of this match, but they are just a couple of minutes away from playoff heartbreak now.

89 minMILLWALL SUB: Another change for Millwall as Fred Onyedinma comes on for Wallace.

90 minMILLWALL SUB: That is swiftly followed by a third and final swap as Gregory is replaced by Calum Butcher.

90+1 minThere will be FIVE minutes of added time at the end of this match! Still time for Bradford to add another twist!

90+5 minCHANCE! Bradford heads are in their hands here as they squander a big chance right at the death! There are so many Bradford players in the box, but McMahon suffers a rush of blood to the head and goes for goal from an impossible angle, sending his effort crashing into the side-netting.

90+6 minFULL TIME: Bradford 0-1 Millwall


4.58pmFans spill onto the pitch and are told in no uncertain terms by Neil Harris to get off. It will not spoil the occasion for the Lions, however, as they earn promotion back to the Championship after a two-year absence. Steve Morison is the Millwall hero with his 86th-minute winner, leaving Bradford suffering playoff heartbreak at the hands of Millwall for a second consecutive season.

5pmRight, that is all we have time for this afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's League One playoff final as Millwall earn promotion back to the Championship courtesy of a late 1-0 win over Bradford. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

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