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The BBC's Alan Biggs
"Deservedly emerged with a probable point"
 real 28k

Saturday, 8 January, 2000, 19:05 GMT
Mills quick on the draw

Deschamps Mills Deschamps sends Bantams goalscorer Lee Mills tumbling

Bradford 1-1 Chelsea

Lee Mills scored the fastest goal in England on Saturday as Bradford City held Chelsea to a hard-working draw at Valley Parade.

This lone Premiership match was supposed to be the start of Chelsea's march back up the table while the rest of their rivals were otherwise engaged.

And though they swamped Bradford for 90 per cent of the 90 minutes, Gianluca Vialli's reshuffled side struggled to find an answer to Mills' 59-second header.

Match facts
59 secs: Lee Mills scores for Bradford
57 mins: Vialli replaces Wise with di Matteo
58 mins: Petrescu equalises for Chelsea
85 mins: Redfearn's goal is ruled out for offisde
Bradford held onto their lead for 57 minutes until Dan Petrescu slid home the equaliser.

But Chelsea' inability to turn pressure into goals is turning from a curiosity to a major flaw.

They mustered 36 shots on target yet still had to settle for a draw, which Vialli concedes sees them drop out of the Premiership title race.

Norwegian Tore Andre twisted and turned his way into half a dozen decent shooting chances yet his final strike was always either wayward or weak.

On the attack Chelsea looked as impressive as ever, Gus Poyet and Dennis Wise completely dominating the midfield and frequently unlocking the Bradford back-four with their quick-thinking and swift passing.

We we all over them for 59 seconds
Bradford manager Paul Jewell
But in defence the Blues looked frail.

New signing Emerson Thome and youngster John Terry were no substitute for World Cup winning centre-back partners Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf.

A misunderstanding between Thome and Terry allowed Mills to creep between them to power Dean Saunders' cross in off the right hand post in the first minute.

Mills, Bradford's top scorer, had a fine game. He forced several saves from Ed de Goey and the Dutchman produced a flying save to tip Gunnar Halle's driven shot from his advancing toes.

Earlier in the game Halle had produced a sliding goal-line clearance to maintain his side's lead.

With four minutes gone, keeper Matt Clarke missed a Wise corner and the ball ricocheted off the feet of Terry towards the undefended net before Halle slid in.

Terry also came close with a resounding second-half header, this time from a Wise free-kick, but Clarke produced a brilliant flying save to his left.

With time running out, Vialli made a change in midfield, bringing off Wise for Italian Roberto di Matteo.

The switch produced instant results - di Matteo's simple halfway line pass releasing Dan Petrescu who burst into the box and skillfully clipped an equaliser past Clarke.

The goal should have prompted more but Poyet fluffed two golden openings in the space of two minutes as the Blues' frustration grew.

Bradford began to sense it and had chances to snatch a winner - Mills' close-range shot blocked by the legs of de Goey.

Neil Redfearn thought he had earnt Bradford a rare win but the goal was ruled out for offside.


Bradford: Clarke, Halle, Wetherall, O'Brien, Myers, Windass, McCall, Redfearn, Blake, Mills, Saunders. Subs: Davison, Westwood, Lawrence, Beagrie, Rankin.

Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Thome, Terry, Babayaro, Deschamps, Poyet, Wise, Petrescu, Flo, Sutton. Subs: Cudicini, Di Matteo, Morris, Lambourde, Zola.

Referee: A Wiley (Walsall)

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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.