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BBC Sport's John Murray
"My how edgy Middlesbrough were"
 real 14k

Saturday, 5 May, 2001, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Boro earn precious point
Hamilton Ricard and Robert Molenaar
Ricard and Molenaar contest possession
Bradford 1-1 Middlesbrough

Christian Karembeu helped Middlesbrough take a huge stride towards Premiership status with a late leveller against Bradford at Valley Parade.

Boro still need one point from their final match at home to West Ham to ensure their survival, but at one stage they looked like being dragged back into the relegation mire.

Wayne Jacobs had put the doomed Bantams ahead after 39 minutes.

Lively start

Coventry, winning at the time against Aston Villa, were threatening to move within a point of the Teessiders.

But a much-improved second half display combined with the Sky Blues' capitulation to leave Boro in a position of relative safety.

  Key incidents

25 mins: Boksic retires hurt for Boro

39mins: Jacobs opens the scoring with crisp finish
47mins: Halle handles to deny Ricard
68mins: Halles clears off line from Karembeu
75mins: Walsh saves from Marinelli
81mins: Karembeu's stunning drive earns Boro a point
Bradford, playing at home for the last time in the Premiership for at least a season, fielded an unchanged team, while Middlesbrough welcomed back Karembeu.

Both sides started brightly with attacking intentions.

Eoin Jess and Robbie Blake fired in early shots for Bradford, while Alen Boksic's effort deflected well wide at the other end.

The early endeavor soon subsided, and neither side was helped when Gareth Whalley and Boksic retired hurt to be replaced by Jamie Lawrence and Brian Deane respectively.

Boksic's departure left Boro with the pedestrian Deane-Hamilton Ricard-Dean Windass attacking axis. Bradford by contrast began to look more menacing.

Paul Ince and Robbie Blake
Paul Ince clashes with Robbie Blake
Blake reached the bye-line and crossed after 30 minutes, but Benito Carbone's acrobatic volley went narrowly wide from close range.

Carbone played Ashley Ward through minutes later, but his effort was easily saved by Mark Schwarzer as he unwisely opted to place his shot.

The Bantams squandered a third good chance in a manner of minutes after 37 minutes when Blake's shot was deflected wide - but they deservedly took the lead a minute later.

Lawrence was the creator. His dazzling run ended on the edge of the box, but he showed sleight of mind to poke the ball forward when lying on the turf.

Jacobs took full advantage, as he calmly chipped the ball beyond Bantams old boy Schwarzer.

In five or six games against the top teams we've not been that bad, but we got off to a poor start against Bradford
  Middlesbrough Head Coach Terry Venables
Bradford had a lucky escape at the start of the second half. Gunnar Halle blatantly handled to deny Ricard a clear goal-scoring opportunity - but the referee failed to spot the offence.

Heroic Halle

That prompted Boro to raise their game and Windass should have levelled against his former club after 55 minutes.

Halle made another crucial intervention after 61 minutes with a spectacular diving header to divert Karembeu's cross as Boro strikers queued up to finish.

Halle's trinity of vital interceptions was completed after 68 minutes when he cleared Karembeu's drive off the line.

Then Bradford had reason to be grateful to Gary Walsh after 75 minutes as he produced a stunning save to deny Boro substitute Carlos Marinelli.

Everybody's playing now for the team, and they will continue to do so for the remaining two matches
  Jim Jefferies, Bradford manager
But Walsh was helpless after 81 minutes.

Marinelli's corner was only half cleared and Karembeu crashed an unstoppable drive home from 25 yards.

Despite that late blow, Bradford have the satisfaction of knowing they have now safely avoided the lowest points total in the Premiership.

City now have 25 points - one more than Watford managed last season.

Bradford: Walsh, Myers, Molenaar, Halle, Jacobs, Whalley, Jess, McCall, Blake, Ward, Carbone. Subs: Davison, Nolan, Lawrence, Locke, Grant.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Gavin, Cooper, Ehiogu, Vickers, Okon, Karembeu, Ince, Windass, Boksic, Ricard. Subs: Crossley, Mustoe, Deane, Stockdale, Marinelli.

Referee: G Barber (Tring)

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