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Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 17:39 GMT
Bradford 3-1 Portsmouth

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A controversial second-half penalty helped Nicky Law to a winning start in his fledgling managerial reign at Bradford against nine-man Portsmouth.

Referee Paul Taylor originally turned down the spot-kick appeal after Shaun Derry had hauled down Lee Sharpe.

But then Taylor spotted a raised flag from the linesman and reversed his decision, allowing Sharpe to gratefully stroke home the winner.

With Gareth Grant and Gunnar Halle also scoring, City's run of five straight defeats came to an end.

Portsmouth's sixth defeat in seven games sees Graham Rix's men careering towards the relegation mire.

Rix was not helped by the late dismissal of both substitute Jason Crowe and Carl Tiler, the latter for a disgraceful head-butt on Andy Tod.

First league goal

It had all looked so different earlier on as City fell behind almost before the fans had taken the seats.

With just 105 seconds on the clock, Robert Prosinecki's cross instigated a goalmouth scramble.

And Linvoy Primus finally turned the ball home for his first league goal for the south coast club.

Gradually, however, Bradford came back into the match and it was a deserved equaliser that came Bradford's way in the 19th minute.

A tremendous solo run along the right ended with the ball dragged back for Eoin Jess, whose cross-cum-shot was turned in by 21-year-old Grant for his first career strike.

Two minutes before the interval a fine strike from Nigel Quashie crashed against the upright with Carl Muggleton well beaten.

The game's most contentious issue arrived just short of the hour.

Penalty claim

Sharpe was felled by a clumsy tackle from Derry, who was making his return to the squad after injury.

A penalty seemed the appropriate punishment, but the referee waved play on.

But the linesman had raised his flag and with confusion reigning the referee reversed his decision.

Sharpe picked himself up and gleefully sidefooted home from the spot.

It was the kind of helping hand Law could only have dreamed of.

Fifteen minutes later things got even worse for Pompey as Crowe was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Matters further deteriorated for the visitors when Tiler also received a second yellow two minutes from time for a clear head-butt on Tod.

The Football Association may well be called to investigate the distasteful incident.

Bradford finished with a flourish, with Halle spectacularly heading Grant's cross past Beasant.

Bradford: Muggleton, Halle, Myers, Caldwell, Emanuel, Jorgensen, Locke, Jess, Sharpe, Tod, Grant. Subs: Jacobs, Bower, Juanjo, Lawrence, Worsnop.

Portsmouth: Beasant, Tiler, Primus, Derry, Pitt, Barrett, Prosinecki, O'Neil, Quashie, Harper, Crouch. Subs: Tardif, Crowe, Buxton, Curtis, Allen.

Referee: P Taylor (Cheshunt).

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