The two goals in three minutes with which Neil Shipperley produced the first investment on the pounds 1m spent on him last week, came after Palace had been subjected to a pummelling. When Dougie Freedman and David Hopkin added further goals in the second half, Bradford City had suffered a travesty for their early polished play.
The manager of the Nationwide First Division's 23rd club certainly thought so. "It's a joke," Chris Kamara said. "We dominated them for 30 minutes and then they go and score two goals and it's game over."
Looking nothing like a side that had not won in five games and had scored only two goals during that spell, Bradford made all the early running. Inhibited perhaps by the roar from the terraced Kop, impressively populated considering that City began the match in 23rd position, Palace had severe difficulties getting the ball out of their own half.
That initial onslaught had been influenced by Chris Waddle as much as anyone. But as the 35-year-old former England winger fell ever further back after an energetic contribution to the first half-hour that left him gasping for breath following every burst of activity, City, too, succumbed all to readily.
It was from Waddle's first-minute cross that Marco Sas almost headed City in front. Mark Stallard and Des Hamilton where then denied by timely interventions from Andy Roberts and David Tuttle before the third member of Palace's back trio, Robert Quinn, was beaten to a Waddle cross by Stallard.
Chris Day saved Palace then and finger-tipped a Lee Duxbury piledriver to safety before Shipperley took over in the manner born. He headed in a Hopkin corner after 36 minutes and then beat Eric Nixon's despairing dive with a stinging shot from 30 yards.
Palace were now a different proposition, relaxed, almost carefree but it was adding insult to the injury suffered by Sas when Bruce Dyer collected a long clearance to start the move that led to the third goal. Freedman dispatched that with a clinically struck volley and then set Hopkin up to shoot the fourth Palace goal through the legs of the unfortunate Nixon six minutes from time.
Bradford City (4-4-2): Nixon; Liburd, Sas (Murray, 73), Mohan, Jacobs; O'Brien (Pinto, 46); Duxbury, Hamilton, Kiwomya; Waddle, Stallard (Shutt, 46).
Crystal Palace (3-4-1-2): Day; Tuttle, Roberts, Quinn; Edworthy, Hopkin (Andersen, 90), Veart, Muscat; Freedman; Shipperley (Trollope, 87), Dyer (McKenzie, 82).
Referee: T Heilbron (Newton Aycliffe).Reuse content