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Dave Woods reports
"Bradford are back to what they do best - fighting for points"
 real 28k

Saturday, 22 January, 2000, 19:48 GMT
Bradford claim crucial scalp

Peter Beagrie opens the scoring from the spot

Bradford 3-2 Watford

Bradford stepped up their bid for Premiership survival with a vital win over fellow strugglers Watford.

Match facts
25: Beagrie's penalty puts Bradford ahead
33: Hyde equalises for Watford
37: Whalley gives the home side the lead
49: O'Brien puts the game out of Watford's sight
88: Helguson claims a late consolation
And after the game City chairman Geoffrey Richmond refused to rule out a surprise swoop for controversial Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore, offering a simple "no comment" to the suggestions.

On this display, though, Bradford's need for extra firepower is not as urgent as had been feared as they at last found their scoring form after netting just once in five games.

Bradford's players celebrate Andrew O'Brien's goal
The prospects for Watford are looking increasingly bleak, however.

Defeat for the visitors saw Graham Taylor's team drop to the foot of the table, following Sheffield Wednesday's victory at Tottenham.

It was ironic that on a day when Collymore's hopes of career salvation should reside at Bradford, they should score three goals in a game for only the second time this season.

Relegation zone

Despite the victory, Bradford remain in the bottom three due to Southampton's win at home to Everton - but at least the confidence was back in boss Paul Jewell's side.

A disgruntled Graham Taylor heads for the dressing room
Bradford grabbed the opener with a controversial penalty after Dean Windass went down in the area under a double challenge from Paul Robinson and skipper Robert Page.

Referee Paul Alcock waved away some vehement Watford protests and Peter Beagrie then sent Alec Chamberlain the wrong way from the spot.

Watford's one truly creative moment came with their 33rd minute equaliser.

New Icelandic signing Heidar Helguson played a one-two with Xavier Gravelaine on the edge of the City area, the 1.5million capture then feeding a low ball into the heart of the six-yard box for Micah Hyde to slide home past Matthew Clarke.

Back in front

But it took just five minutes for Bradford to regain the lead as Gareth Whalley - recalled after the defeat by Sheffield Wednesday - scored with a speculative long-range shot which bobbled badly in front of Chamberlain, who could only touch the ball onto the post and into the net.

Bradford's Wetherall tries his luck with a header
Centre-back Andy O'Brien then got in on the act when he scored his first goal of the season shortly after the break with a header into the roof of the net from a Beagrie corner.

Despite falling two goals down, Watford continued to press and Clarke was forced into two superb saves from substitute Tommy Smith and Robinson.

When Helguson then scored his second goal in two games following his recent move in the 88th minute, it made for a heart-stopping last few moments for Bradford.

But they hung on to remain unbeaten at home in the league since October 2.


Bradford: Clarke, Halle, Wetherall, O'Brien, Jacobs, Lawrence, McCall, Whalley, Beagrie, Windass, Saunders.
Subs: Davison, Westwood, Blake, Sharpe, Redfearn.

Watford: Chamberlain, Cox, Page, Palmer, Robinson, Lyttle, Miller, Hyde, Perpetuini, Helguson, Gravelaine.
Subs: Day, Smart, Smith, Gudmundsson, Bonnot.

Referee: P Alcock (Halstead)

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