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October 21 2020 2.47pm

Bradford City 2 - 1 Palace

Sat Mar 8 2003 - League

Palace threw away a goal lead and their play-off hopes with a 2-1 defeat away to Bradford.

Match Stats

Ground: The Pulse Stadium (Attendance: 11016)

Bradford City: Davison, Atherton, Myers (Forrest, 70), Wetherall, Bower, Ward, Gray, Ulenbeek, Emanuel, Jorgensen, Francis

Subs Not Used: Walsh, Ekoku, Penford, Muirhead

Bookings: Francis

Goals: Atherton(70), Francis(73)

Palace: Berthelin, Butterfield, Symons (Black, 71), Borrowdale, Popovic, Thomson (Freedman, 62), Derry, Mullins, Gray (Granville, 62), Whelan, Akinbiyi

Subs Not Used: Kolinko, Routledge

Bookings: Borrowdale, Mullins, Granville

Goals: Whelan (24)

Referee: E Evans (Manchester)

Noel Whelan, on loan from Middlesborough, scored on his Eagles debut as they went in at half-time ahead.

But Bradford replied with two goals in three minutes from Peter Atherton and teenager Simon Francis to ease their relegation plight.

In the first minute, David Wetherall had to block a Danny Butterfield effort and afterwards Gus Uhlenbeek fired wide for Bradford.

Palace continued to dominate proceedings and took the lead when Butterfield's long throw went to Whelan, who turned and volleyed past the keeper.

Ten minutes later, Ade Akinbiyi missed a good chance to score but his header from Gary Borrowdale's cross went wide.

Three minutes into the second half, Steve Thomson's shot went into the side netting from Hayden Mullins' cross. Mullins then tried a shot from long range out but was saved by the keeper.

Bradford replied with an Uhlenbeek strike parried by Cedric Berthelin and Wetherall headed over the bar from a corner.

The home side equalised on 70 minutes as Atherton volleyed home as Palace failed to clear from a corner.

They got what proved to be the winning goal just three minutes later when Francis scored from close range.

Post match comments:

Francis said: "The opposition found energy that they could not seem to find in the first hour.

"It was like a dam that had burst and we could just not stop the flow once the first goal went in.

"The problem we had was that there were a number of players who've been absent through injury this season and there were players on the field who were suffering through a lack of fitness.

It was unusual for us to lose a game after going ahead, it is only the second time that has happened to us this season
Trevor Francis

"The message I gave at half time was that we needed to build on the first goal and we did have our chances - Ade Akinbiyi had a header which was off target, Steve Thomson hit the post and Hayden Mullins was clear but hit the keeper's legs.

"It was unusual for us to lose a game after going ahead, it is only the second time that has happened to us this season.

"Noel Whelan got us off to a good start but we were unable to build on it which was disappointing. I had intended only to start him on the bench but due to the conditions I changed my mind.

"I was going to start with Tommy Black but when I saw the heavy conditions I decided that the match would be more suited to more physical and stronger individuals.

"The pitch was just about playable but there were puddles of water lying on the surface in places. After two postponements I was just keen to get the game going.

"Danny Granville was fouled before Simon Francis struck their second but the three officials obviously didn't see it."

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