Match Report 2002-2003

Saturday 08 March, 2003, Division One

Crystal Palace At Valley Parade

Right side of the Law

Bradford City 2
Peter Atherton 1-1
Simon Francis 2-1
Crystal Palace 1
Noel Whelan 0-1

Speaking after this 2-1 win over Crystal Palace Nicky Law said that he would like to start trying out a few young players for next season once First Division security is reached. On 42 points it seems that that might be in weeks not months but when it does come, and it will, it will be in no small part thanks to the young men that Law holds back.

Last season it was Claus Jorgensen and Mark Bower who emerged to give Law's side creativity and solidity respectively. Back then the idea that putting all the defensive hopes of the Bantams onto a guy who could not hold down a place at York seemed folly but City fans have more than learnt the lesson of our ways.

There were gasps when Danny Forrest was excluded from the side today and calls for the 18 year old, who's praises were being sung by Radio Five's Jonathan Pearce after the draw with Leicester City in the week, to be included must have been the chimes of a job well done for Law.

These days at City every new player is a potential world beater, not just another Gareth Grant.

Such change is down to Law and his eye for players. Lord only knows how and why Simon Francis was released but when he rattled in the 73rd minute winner the general buzz around Valley Parade was that we would do well to keep hold of Franny. No one ever said that about Jeremy Howe.

Francis' goal came at the end of a spell of City pressure that had seen Peter Atherton his the sweetest shot of his career to level up Noel Whelan's first half goal for the visitors who adapted much better to the wet pitch than the Bantams did. Palace boss Trevor Francis said that he though a different Referee might not have allowed the game to be played. Having already cost City 10,000 in travel expenses previously with two abortive games one must assume that Francis was just aching to get another free day out from Gordon Gibb. Perhaps we should issue the Eagles with some Flamingo Land passes, they seem to like visiting the North.

City's revival came when Law told his men to get the ball further down the flanks and cross from behind the Palace line. Lewis Emanuel was most able to do that but at the moment he looks able to do just about anything. There is nothing like the fearlessness of youth.

Speaking of which. Enter Danny Forrest.

Forrest came on just as City scored to replace not really fit again Andy Myers. Forrest played left wing and charged at the Palace right back in a way that would frighten anyone. Ian Ormodroyd revealed in the week that Danny had turned down the chance to join Manchester United's youth set up when he was younger because he wanted to play for the Bantams. That desire is there for all to see and inspires the team. With a half dozen games under his belt he already has the talismanic effect of an Alan Shearer. He wants it so badly that everyone responds.

So when Francis did give City the win he wheeled off towards the Kop to take his applause. Tha barrier between the fans and the players seems to be falling. Certainly something is changing from the Jim Jefferies days when goals were celebrated between the players with us watching as opposed to the now traditional search for Danny Forrest's brother charge to the crowd.

The atmosphere is seeping back into Valley Parade.

Man of the Match
Lewis Emanuel

Played well on the left flank before moving back when andy Myers came off when he overlapped superbly.

Bradford City Team
Danny Forrest for Andy Myers