Hamilton engineers Bradford's elevation

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The Independent Online
Bradford City 2 Notts County 0

Rising to their biggest occasion in 85 years, Bradford City yesterday joined Swindon and Oxford in the First Division, the Yorkshire club securing their elevation with a rousing victory over Notts County in the Second Division play-off final here.

A goal apiece from Derick Hamilton, after eight minutes, and Mark Stallard, after 75, marked their triumph as County found lift-off eluded them. Back in 1911, it was Newcastle who suffered - losing that season's FA Cup final to Bradford in a replay. After so long, it was an understandably raucous party yesterday evening.

County were making their fifth visit to Wembley since 1990, and, perhaps, familiarity bred contempt. Whatever it was, they had plenty of possession but no cutting edge.

It was, however, a professional job by Chris Kamara's spirited and swift team. Bradford played with a width, verve and pace which embarrassed County and Hamilton, only 19 but much-fancied by Premiership scouts, was their star. His tireless running on the right flank and Andy Kiwomya's on the left won the game as cleanly as the two strikes which beat Darren Ward.

Bradford scored with their first meaningful shot - Hamilton both instigator and finisher. Collecting a headed pass on the right, he put his head down. Stumbling and recovering, he slalomed through the flailing tackles from Tony Agana, Ian Baraclough and Gary Strodder before scooping his shot past Ward and in off the bar.

County responded by raising their commitment but what they needed was cohesion and wit. This was reflected in the cautions collected by Shaun Murphy and Strodder for fouls which resulted from Bradford's superior pace and movement.

Carl Shutt, 34, looked more mobile than many younger men opposing him in the County team. He buzzed and prompted, but was without luck in front of goal and his best shot, from a sensible pass by Stallard, ricocheted off Ward's ankles shortly before the interval.

County pressed during a potent 20-minute spell. Gary Martindale saw a header glance wide and Tony Battersby had a drive saved before Bradford struck again.

Hamilton by then had limped off, exhausted, and been replaced by the lanky Ian Ormondroyd who, with his first touch, flicked Richard Huxford's long ball across goal and Stallard, swooping at the near post, cushion- volleyed it high into the net with aplomb.

Goals: Hamilton (8) 1-0; Stallard (75) 2-0.

Bradford City (4-4-2): Gould; Huxford, Mohan, Youds, Jacobs; Hamilton (Ormondroyd, 71), Mitchell, Duxbury, Kiwomya (Wright, 77); Stallard, Shutt. Substitute not used: Tolson (gk).

Notts County (4-4-2): Ward; Derry, Murphy, Strodder, Baraclough; Finnan, Rogers, Richardson, Agana; Battersby (Jones, 82), Martindale. Substitutes not used: Hogg, Pollitt (gk).

Referee: Gurnam Singh (Wolverhampton).

Bookings: Bradford City: Shutt. Notts County: Murphy, Strodder, Richardson.

Man of the match: Hamilton. Attendance: 39,972.