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Saturday, 31 March, 2001, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Bantams stunned by Magpies resolve
David Wetherall
Wetherall (right) celebrates his goal with Carbone
Bradford 2-2 Newcastle

A 77th minute equaliser from Clarence Acuna broke Bradford hearts as Newcastle came back from two goals down to grab a 2-2 draw at Valley Parade.

Acuna stooped low to head in after persistent pressure from Newcastle in the second half just as it looked as Bradford would hold on to help them in their battle for survival.

The Bantams took the lead in the space of two minutes in the first half, through David Wetherall and Robbie Blake.

Newcastle fought back when Carl Cort grabbed his second goal in as many games following his injury comeback before Acuna finished off the scoring 13 minutes from time.

  Match incidents
8 min: Weatherall hands Bradford the lead
10: Blake converts penalty
25: Cort heads in
55: Cort spurns clear chance
60: Carbone free-kick saved
62: Given stops Ward effort
77: Acuna heads the equaliser
While it was mathematically possible to escape relegation, Jim Jefferies' men still believed there was a cause worth fighting for.

Against a beleaguered Newcastle side, somewhat looking forward to starting again next season, the Bantams leapt out of the traps.

Former Bradford star Andy O'Brien made his debut for Newcastle in defence, but was helpless to prevent former teammate Wetherall steam in to head past Shay Given.

Two minutes later the home side doubled their lead when Robert Lee was adjudged to have fouled Robert Molenaar inside the 18-yard box after both players leapt up for a header.

It'll take a minor miracle to get out of this position
  Bradford goalscorer David Wetherall
Referee Taylor pointed to the spot and up stepped former Darlington man Blake to place the ball low to the left of Given.

It was up to Bradford to take full advantage of a shellshocked Magpies outfit, but the home side's own weakness in defence was exposed when Wayne Quinn delivered a superb ball from the left for Cort to head home.

Carl Cort
Cort has impressed following his comeback
Cort made amends for a glaring miss just moments before, having nodded wide from three yards out.

Along with rising England under-21 star Shola Ameobi, the pair began to give the Bradford a few problems.

Newcastle should have equalised ten minutes after the restart. but Cort had his low shot saved after finding himself one-on-one with 'keeper Gary Walsh.

The game had opened up and chances were being spurned either end.

It was a terrific entertaining game with two marvellous displays from two very good goalkeepers
  Newcastle United manager Bobby Robson
Italian Benito Carbone had a free-kick brilliantly saved by Given and then Ashley Ward had an close-range shot again blocked by the alert Republic of Ireland star.

But back came Newcastle and got their reward when Peruvian Nolberto Solano finally delivered a good ball, after having a relatively poor game, to give Chilean Acuna the easiest of headers from two-yards out.

It was a bitter blow for the Bantams, who looked on course to picking up a valuable three points which would have given them hope in their battle against relegation.

But Bobby Robson's men highlighted why Bradford are the basement club and why it is likely Jefferies' side will go down.

Bradford: Walsh, Jacobs, Molenaar, Wetherall, McCall, Locke, Jess, Whalley, Ward, Blake, Carbone. Subs: Worsnop, Myers, Halle, Grant, Kerr.

Newcastle: Given, O'Brien, Barton, Hughes, Lee, Speed, Quinn, Solano, Acuna, Cort, Ameobi. Subs: Bassedas, Griffin, Harper, Cordone, Gallacher.

Referee: P Taylor (Cheshunt)

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