Football: Beagrie starts the City rush

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers 1

Gallen 79

Bradford City 3

Beagrie 32, Westwood 62, Watson 90

Half-time: 0-1 Attendance: 11,641

A PERFORMANCE of purpose and considerable poise took Bradford City back into the second automatic promotion spot in the First Division at the expense of Ipswich Town yesterday, condemning Queen's Park Rangers to an anxious final fortnight of the season as they seek the points from their last two games to avoid relegation.

For Rangers it was a case of too little too late against Bradford and now their fans must hope this will not turn out to be the story of their season. Bradford, like Ipswich, have two more tricky fixtures to come but they have scored more goals than their East Anglian rivals and are now in the box seat.

As you would hope in a match of such importance for both teams there was no lack of commitment, although in Rangers' case the enthusiasm barely hid a lack of sophistication.

Steve Slade personified their admirable work-rate, shooting just wide after 10 minutes. But although Rangers began brightly the disparity between the sides became ever more apparent.

Bradford's first chance fell to Lee Sharpe who volleyed just over from a cross by Lee Mills and it was Sharpe who began the move that led to the first goal. Winning a throw near the corner flag, he found Gareth Whalley in the penalty area. He in turn laid the ball into Robbie Blake's path and his first-time pass found Peter Beagrie who stole between two defenders to rifle home.

The second half began with QPR all optimism and energy, but, after Gavin Peacock had squandered a good chance to equalise, Bradford went two up. George Kulcsar conceded a free-kick in dangerous territory and Steve McCall scooped the ball cleverly over the wall. Blake touched it past Harper and Ashley Westwood bundled the loose ball home.

Rangers threw on Iain Dowie and Paul Murray in a desperate attempt to retrieve a point and after Ian Baraclough's 25-yard free-kick and a Kevin Gallen header were kept out they pulled one back when Gallen converted Peacock's corner to set up a frantic finale.

Beagrie and Sharpe had chances to make the game safe for Bradford but shot wide while Peacock shot over for Rangers. Karl Ready and Westwood were shown red cards for a spot of hand-bags in the final minute before the substitute Gordon Watson clinched it for the visitors in injury time with a breakaway goal.