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Saturday, 29 December, 2001, 17:45 GMT
Bradford 1-2 C Palace
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Crisis-torn Bradford plumbed new depths as Crystal Palace finally ended their away-day misery to revive their play-off hopes.

The managerless Bantams are currently in freefall following their fourth successive league defeat.

City chairman Geoffrey Richmond is next week expected to unveil the club's seventh manager during his eight-year reign.

Brentford boss Steve Coppell is favourite to move into the hot-seat vacated by Jim Jefferies and would have his work cut out at Valley Parade.

While on-loan Trevor Benjamin was the match-winner with a curled finish 20 seconds after the break, the real hero was goalkeeper Alex Kolinko.

He made a string of superb saves which denied Bradford what would have been a deserved share of the spoils.

The Latvian should have been beaten twice in the opening 10 minutes, but winger Juanjo and midfielder Eoin Jess both fired straight at the grateful Palace number one.

Missed chances

Gregg Berhalter and Clinton Morrison had chances to fire the visitors in front, but both were spurned prior to the 33rd-minute breakthrough.

Carl Muggleton, signed on loan from Cheltenham because of injuries to Gary Walsh and Aidan Davison, handled Aki Riihilahti's 33rd-minute through-ball just outside the area.

The 33-year-old could do little about a drive through the wall from American international Berhalter.

Parity was restored with the last kick of the half when Robbie Blake drove home his 12th of the season after being set up by Juanjo and Lee Sharpe.

Then came the 15-yard curler from Benjamin which flew beyond Muggleton as City were caught napping moments into the second-half.

Kolinko pulled off remarkable saves from Juanjo twice, Ashley Ward, Wayne Jacobs and City skipper Stuart McCall.

Bradford's captain left with his head in his hands, adequately summing up another frustrating 90 minutes for beleaguered Bradford.


Bradford: Muggleton, Caldwell, Molenaar (Myers 75), Tod, Jacobs, Juanjo, Jess, McCall, Sharpe (Grant 81), Blake, Ward. Subs Not Used: Jorgensen, Emanuel, Worsnop.

Booked: Jacobs, Juanjo.

Crystal Palace: Kolinko, Popovic, Berhalter, Mullins, Hopkin, Kirovski, Riihilahti, Thomson, Gray (Harrison 68), Benjamin, Morrison. Subs Not Used: Carasso, Rubins, Edwards, Kabba.

Booked: Gray.

Att: 14,233

Referee: A Hall (Birmingham)

Links to more Eng Div 1 stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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