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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 March, 2003, 17:08 GMT
Bradford 2-1 C Palace

Bradford came from behind to beat Crystal Palace at Valley Parade and move further away from the relegation fight at the foot of the First Division table.

Noel Whelan had scored on his debut to give Palace a 1-0 half-time lead but Bradford struck back with two goals in three minutes from Peter Atherton and teenager Simon Francis.

Palace started well, and David Wetherall had to block a shot from Danny Butterfield in the first minute.

They continued to pile on the pressure and the opening goal came in the 24th minute from a long throw from Butterfield.

Whelan, who had caused the Palace defence numerous problems, picked up the ball and turned Wetherall before volleying past Aidan Davison.

Whelan's strike partner Ade Akinbiyi could have doubled the lead 10 minutes later - but with the goal at his mercy he headed wide from Gary Borrowdale's cross.

The visitors began the second half well and were unlucky not to go 2-0 up when Steven Thomson hit the side-netting from close range three minutes from the restart.

Hayden Mullins then tried his luck from distance but Davison saved his shot with his feet and Bradford managed to clear the resultant corner.

City began to battle and should have been level on the hour mark but Cedric Berthelin parried Uhlenbeek's strike and Wetherall sent his header over the bar from Francis's corner.

The equaliser came on 70 minutes as Bradford capitalised on a period of pressure.

Palace failed to clear a corner and Atherton pounced to volley an unstoppable shot past Berthelin.

Just three minutes later the Bantams were ahead. Substitute Danny Forrest pulled the ball back from the byline and Francis was there to drill it home.

Palace's defence was struggling to cope and Bradford could have had a third but Berthelin punched away a vicious shot from Atherton.

Palace were shell-shocked and despite finishing the game strongly to give the Bradford fans a few nervous moments, they could not break down the home side's defence.

Bradford: Davison, Uhlenbeek, Wetherall, Bower, Myers, Francis, Atherton, Jorgensen, Emanuel, Ward, Gray. Subs: Walsh, Forrest, Ekoku, Penford, Muirhead.

Crystal Palace: Berthelin, Symons, Mullins, Popovic, Butterfield, Derry, Thomson, Borrowdale, Gray, Akinbiyi, Whelan. Subs: Kolinko, Freedman, Black, Routledge, Granville.

Referee: E Evans (Manchester)



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