Jewell's call is answered

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Bradford, who had managed only two goals in four home games without winning any before this one, cast aside self-doubt to enjoy their best day so far in the Premiership. Leicester, fifth in the table, barely knew what had hit them.

Bradford, who had managed only two goals in four home games without winning any before this one, cast aside self-doubt to enjoy their best day so far in the Premiership. Leicester, fifth in the table, barely knew what had hit them.

Giving their all, the shoestring newcomers responded to the call of manager Paul Jewell to show opponents less respect by affording Leicester none. The consequence might yet convince them that in rubbing shoulders with the élite they are not out of their league.

It meant a somewhat wasted afternoon for Kevin Keegan, the England coach, who had come to see some of Leicester's burgeoning stars, notably Muzzy Izzet, Steve Guppy and Emile Heskey. He will have been more impressed with Robbie Blake, Bradford's 23-year-old attacker, and Dean Saunders, 12 years his senior, whose high quality gave their side the edge. There was also much to admire in the defending of 20-year-old Andrew O'Brien, already capped at Under-21 level, whose presence had much to do with Heskey's lack of impact. "Bradford showed all the things we normally do," Leicester manager Martin O'Neill said. "You could say we were out-Leicestered."

Bradford surprised their guests by taking a 13th-minute lead with a goal of Premiership quality. The long ball from which it stemmed might have been hit in hope, but the header by Saunders that was directed into the path of Blake was exquisite. Blake, controlling instantly, surged into the gap between Matt Elliott and Frank Sinclair before unleashing a left-foot shot that gave Tim Flowers no chance.

Leicester's response was typically robust and they needed only nine minutes to equalise. For a few moments, the ball zipped in and out of the Bradford box before Neil Lennon fired it back in with venom. Gary Walsh, the Bradford goalkeeper, could only parry and Andrew Impey smashed the loose ball into the net.

It might have been a setback to expose holes in Bradford's confidence, but instead they stood firm and sought to re-establish their advantage and were rewarded again four minutes before half-time.

Saunders played a key role, spotting Gunnar Halle's overlapping run on the right. But Leicester had cause to rue their poor defending. Halle's cross sailed over the head of Elliott and Lee Mills, timing his arrival nicely, headed firmly into the opposite corner.

Leicester sent on a third striker in Ian Marshall, but were unable to puncture Bradford's growing confidence. Saunders was twice denied by Flowers before Neil Redfearn put the issue beyond doubt, scoring from close range after Blake, sending Impey one way and then the other, had supplied the perfect low cross from the left.

Comments