30-21 – The greatest Bradford City matches of the last 50 years (as voted by Bradford City supporters of 2012)

Joint 30: Huddersfield Town 2 City 2 (4th October 2011)

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy

It’s not been a great few years – from a claret and amber point of view – for the City/Town rivalry. Having enjoyed a two-division gap over the Terriers for much of the first few years of the new millennium, City’s decline saw them sink past their bitter rivals, and derby matches along the way largely made for painful viewing. So when City defeated Huddersfield on penalties in the JPT a year ago, it mattered because it did matter. Stuart McCall once claimed a game of tidily winks between City and Town would be important, and after Nialle Rodney netted the winning penalty 2,500 City fans went crazy and 7,500 home supporters looked mightily upset. A memorable performance from basically a City reserve side.

Josh Chapman: “It had everything, fightbacks, controversy, what should have been… But, the nerve wrecking penalty shootout victory made it worth the lot!”

Russell Kitson: “Heard a Town fan say he was going to walk out if they weren’t 4-0 up at half time.”

Joint 30: City 2 Burnley 2 (20th February 1960)

FA Cup

George Flyde: “Att. 26,227. A great cup run for us in 1959/60 – beat Barnsley, Rochdale, Everton and Bournemouth. 2-0 up against Burnley, but the ref played loads of injury time and they scored two to equalise. I watched it from the old Midland Road stand. We lost the replay 5-0 at Turf Moor in front of 52,850.”

Chris Jowitt: “Burnley were one of best teams in league and won 1st Division championship around that season. Ref seemed to allow add on time until Burnley equalised in what was claimed to be 94th minute. We lost replay 5-0 at Turf Moor. I was 10 and too young to go but my Dad went. No TV or radio results in those days. I remember forcing myself to stay awake until Dad got home with the bad news, which must have been midnight.”

29: City 4 Norwich City 1 (13th March 1999)

Division One

Having a few days earlier endured their first home defeat for almost four months, a wounded City hit back in spectacular fashion as they closed in on promotion to the Premier League. In 45 minutes of breath-taking football, they were 4-0 up through goals from Darren Moore, Peter Beagrie, Lee Mills and – most memorably of all – Jamie Lawrence’s direct run down the middle from the half way line that was ended with a cool low finish.

Norwich showed greater pride in the second half and pulled a goal back, before John Dreyer’s red card with 20 minutes to go meant we had to close out the game. There were actually some mutterings of disappointment at full time, at only winning 4-1. If only we could have such trivial problems in the present day.

28: Huddersfield Town 1 City 2 (2nd September 1997)

Division One

Another Huddersfield success, yes. But beyond the gleeful claiming of the bragging rights, this was a significant summer evening in the club’s meteoric late 90s rise from Division Two to Premier League. The Brazilian Edinho latched onto Peter Beagrie’s superb through ball to put City 1-0 up, and then early in the second half Robbie Blake was on hand to calmly slot home his first ever goal for the Bantams. Even though Marcus Stewart pulled a goal back, 4,000 City fans were able to celebrate a superb evening’s work.

And the significance? It placed City top of a division for the first time in 10 years (and we wouldn’t top a league again until 2008). Raising premature hopes of promotion to the Premier League, which would be realised a season later.

27: City 2 Middlesbrough 1 (15th May 1988)

Division Two Play Off Semi Final 1st Leg

Having failed to earn automatic promotion to the top flight following a home defeat to Ipswich, City embarked upon a first ever play off campaign and made a very strong start in the first leg, defeating Middlesbrough. City dominated and should have put the game out of sight, but instead an away goal from Boro would prove crucial as they ultimately won the second leg 2-0.

26: City 4 Derby 4 (21st April 2000)

Premier League

By Luke Lockwood

Less the greatest match, but more the greatest half I have ever seen. With relegation looming every point was vital. Very early on we went 2-0 down to County and defeat looked inevitable. However, the man quickly establishing himself as my favourite player stole the show!

Windass brought City back into the game with a great bit of skill on the edge of the box, equally matched by a superb finish. The second was typical Windass; he dropped into the space between the Derby defence and midfield and as the ball fell to him there was only one place it was going.

Controversy followed as Bradford thought they had taken the lead only for a penalty to be given instead and a red card to the County’s offender. Fortunately, Beagrie converted and City took the lead only to be pegged back moments later as Derby scored from the spot themselves.

Windass wasn’t done though as he completed his hat trick before half time scoring each goal with his weaker foot!

The second half was mellow by comparison but both sides still had chances to win it following a 2nd Derby penalty to make it 4 apiece. A draw, however, was probably the fair result. Windass not only took home the match ball but a place in the City’s history.

Damien Wilkinson: “For sheer entertainment this Good Friday feast of football takes some beating.  Felt like two dropped points immediately after, but in retrospect a decent point which provided the springboard for the most unlikeliest of escapes!” 

25: City 3 Stockport County 2 (26th February 2011)

League Two

To quote Oscar Levant, ““Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.” The American pianist may have passed away in 1972, but his words perfectly sum up the painful flurry of emotions we supporters went through against Stockport County 18 months ago. It was Peter Taylor’s last match after he announced he would quit, and we were slipping closer into relegation trouble. Being 2-1 down at half time to bottom club Stockport was hardly going to be a happy send off, but as County self-destructed and went down to 9 men, the hope that a two-man advantage could spur a comeback grew.

It was torturous as the clock ticked down, but at least Steve Williams bundled home an equaliser with 10 minutes to play. Then, deep in stoppage time, the ball broke loose to Gareth Evans in the area, and he smashed the ball home to spark delirium in the stands. Relief was the overriding feeling as we departed the game, but the outpouring of joy Evans’ winner sparked will be long-remembered.   

24: City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0 (7th January 1989)

FA Cup

The last few years might have largely been poor when it comes to cup competitions for City, but in the late 80s and early 90s they had something of a reputation as giant killers. This 1-0 victory was a typical example of that, as a highly-fancied Spurs team packed with big names could not break City down and bowed out after a stunning goal from full Brian Mitchell.

David Hornsby: “FA Cup tie at VP where City’s Scottish full back Mitchell-scored the winner. Spurs had a team of celebrity names but we deserved to upset the favourites!”

23: Bolton 0 City 2 (6th May 1985)

Division Three

Match in which the Bantams sealed promotion to Division Two, in a season that was overshadowed by the tragic events of five days later.

22: City 3 Millwall 1 (28th November 1984)

Division Three

Simon Holdsworth: “Took us top of the league from where we never moved and gained promotion to Division Two.”

21: Norwich City 1 City 2 (23rd February 1976)

FA Cup

As part of City’s best FA Cup campaign for over 50 years, the Fourth Division outfit managed to shock top flight Norwich on their own patch in the 5th round. The match had been delayed for nine days due to a flu outbreak at Valley Parade, which prompted a war of words between the two clubs. City had the last laugh, as goals from Don Hutchins and Bill McGinley sealed a quarter final spot.

Categories: Top 30 matches (survey 2012)

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