NEWPORT County AFC had to settle for a share of the spoils after being frustrated by Derek Adams’ stubborn Bradford City at a raucous Rodney Parade.

The man that guided Morecambe to a controversial League Two play-off win over the Exiles was left content with a point from a game when his new team, who started the season tipped for promotion, were given a working over.

County were superb after a shaky start and, while they didn’t record successive league wins for the first time this season, they did notch another point from a pulsating clash.

They had the better chances with James Clarke heading the best of them against the bar, yet were grateful that Joe Day pulled out a superb last-minute save to prevent a burglary.

That would have prompted wild celebrations from the visiting management after Adams copped plenty of flak from the terrace behind the dugout courtesy of his graceless comments after the win at Wembley.

The Scot seemed to suggest former Shrimp Kevin Ellison, who had celebrated wildly in from of him in the regular season fixture in Lancashire, had made a comment when heading to warm up.

That prompted a chat from the fourth official, making clear that there was to be no daft stuff on his watch. He had no such control over the Newport supporters, who went wild when Adams was yellow-carded for kicking the ball away in the closing stages.

Sadly, he got to return to Yorkshire with a hard-earned point from an engrossing fixture between two teams determined to be in the mix at the top of the table.

South Wales Argus: TUSSLE: Ed Upson battles for the ballTUSSLE: Ed Upson battles for the ball

Caretaker manager Hatswell stuck with the winning formula from the Scunthorpe game with a solitary change on the bench, Liverpool loanee Jake Cain covering midfield instead of Chris Missilou.

They started in 3-5-2 but caretaker boss Wayne Hatswell made a swift tactical change after an alarming start.

County got on the front foot inside the first minute but it was then Bradford that settled, and they should have opened the scoring after four minutes.

The Bantams, who had already caused problems with a rapid counter, worked an opening for Andy Cook when Mickey Demetriou had raced out to block a shot because of a lack of midfield cover.

Thankfully the striker’s shot was rather weak and Joe Day saved with his left foot.

The Exiles were being stretched by the visitors with midfielder Levi Sutton, who gave away a last-minute penalty when the sides met in Cardiff last season with a daft handball, causing problems.

However, it was then County that went close on three occasions.

First they had a double chance from a well-worked corner with Richard O’Donnell saving well from Clarke before a brave block of Matty Dolan’s powerful drive.

Then County had a two-on-one counter but Yann Songo'o defended well to cut off Ollie Cooper’s angle to the supporting Dom Telford, then block a shot behind for a corner.

The Exiles had shifted Dolan forward to midfield to try and get a grip and it worked as they got on top.

The Bantams still carried a threat with Charles Vernam curling a shot a couple of yards over from distance.

However, it was County that would have been the more frustrated at it being scoreless at the break, especially after Courtney Baker-Richardson break through but was denied by a majestic block by Bradford captain Paudie O'Connor inside the area as he tried to open up his body.

Both sides made changes at the break with Finn Azaz replacing Ed Upson in the home midfield while Theo Robinson came on to add a threat up front for the visitors.

The striker took just 40 seconds to make an impression, nodding a dangerous cross from the wide just wide of the far post.

Yet it was that man Songo’o who kept it level-pegging in the 60th minute when he produced a stunning nodded clearance off the line to deny Baker-Richardson after his looped header.

Just a minute later the Exiles went close again with the striker turning provider when nodding Azaz’s cross towards goal where Clarke slammed a header into the bar from a yard out, admittedly under pressure.

Bradford brought on Gareth Evans to try and get a grip of midfield and it settled the visitors down and it remained goalless as the clock hit 80.

The Bantams looked to be content with a hard-earned point on the road with Adams urging his team to take the sting out of the game and make it scrappy.

Hatswell made his second change with seven to go, replacing nippy Dom Telford with targetman Alex Fisher after the forward had emptied the tank.

Adams was shown yellow for kicking the ball away when it was passed towards Cameron Norman for a throw and he almost got the chance to celebrate wildly in the last minute of the 90.

Alex Gilliead shot powerfully on the turn but Day got down to save superbly with a strong right hand. County deserved three but at least they notched another point.

County: Day, Clarke, Dolan (captain), Demetriou, Norman, Haynes, Upson (Azaz 45), Willmott, Cooper, Telford (Fisher 83), Baker-Richardson.
Substitutes: Townsend, Lewis, Cain, Ellison, Abraham, Fisher.
Yellow: Cooper, Baker Richardson

Bradford: O'Donnell, Threlkeld, Ridehalgh, O'Connor (captain), Songo'o, Cooke, Cook, Gilliead, Vernam, Watt, Sutton.
Substitutes: Eisa, Foulds, Kelleher, Evans, Robinson, Staunton, Scales.
Yellow: O’Connor

Referee: Sam Purkiss