(My match reports from our Premiership days – 1999-2000)
Match 02 – Premier League – August 14th 1999
Bradford 1 (Beagrie 89 pen)
Sheffield Wednesday 1 (Dreyer 39 OG)
A last minute Peter Beagrie penalty against Sheffield Wednesday gave Bradford a point in their first Premiership match at Valley Parade.
City, still unbeaten, showed determination and a never-say-die attitude that they will need to show for the rest of the season if they are to retain their Premiership status next May.
Wednesday will be horrified that they let slip two points after missing an endless amount of chances to wrap things up earlier. They were made to pay when substitute Simon Donnelly brought down Beagrie right on the edge of the area to give away a controversial penalty. With a minute left on the clock, the 33-year-old Beagrie coolly stepped up and slotted home.
City had gone behind when former Luton defender John Dreyer put through his own net after 39 minutes. Dreyer, trying to clear a long Andy Hinchcliffe clearance, could only lob the ball over a stranded Gary Walsh.
Wednesday had started the match much the brighter thanks to a fine display from the recalled Italian, Benito Carbone. After ten minutes, Carbone got away from the unfortunate Dreyer and managed to get a cross in which found Alexandersson in the box but his side foot effort was hit straight at Walsh as City’s defence was caught sleeping. Carbone continued to torment Bradford, whose only real threat on Kevin Pressman’s goal came from the pressure they created from corners.
Their best chance of the first half fell to former Everton man Peter Beagrie who tried his luck from 25 yards out but his shot flew just over Pressman’s bar.
Minutes earlier Wednesday nearly finished off a fine sweeping move from one end of the pitch to the other. After some positive midfield running and constructive passing involving the Norwegian Petr Rudi, Walsh didn’t cleanly hold Wim Jonk’s powerful shot. It then ricocheted off Walsh onto a defender before City cleared it away for safety.
Paul Jewell’s half-time talk must have had an affect on his team as they began the second half in a much more determined mood. Gareth Whalley will rue his missed opportunity after a Dean Windass cross found him on the edge of the box, but the City midfielder failed to beat Pressman.
Wednesday were eventually made to pay for failing to take their chances. Carbone had wasted two great opportunities to put the game well beyond their Yorkshire rivals. First, the Italian produced a wonderful run but his resulting shot was cleared off the line from Jamie Lawrence, who had tracked him back, and the ball conveniently fell back to Carbone but his second shot was deflected wide. From the resulting corner, Bradford displayed some shocking defending to allow Carbone the freedom of Valley Parade to line up a header that City somehow scrambled away.
Dean Saunders, Bradford’s hero from last week, was bought into the attack and he certainly had an affect as offensively, City looked much more threatening. John Dreyer had a great chance to make up for his earlier own goal but failed to fully connect with a free diving header which came off Lee Briscoe and deflected to safety.
A relieved Bradford boss, Paul Jewell, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “I thought we deserved it. We played well in the first half and it was an unlucky goal to concede but we kept going in the second half and eventually got a penalty.”
On Sheffield Wednesday’s goal, Jewell commented: “It was a hoof forward and we got caught at the back. He (Dreyer) held his hands up at half-time but we showed some great character to come back and it was the least we deserved.
“We’ve got good players and for 25 minutes we outplayed Sheffield Wednesday. We tried to pass the ball and showed a good spirit.”
On the penalty, Jewell added: “It didn’t look like one from where I was. But the players were adamant that he was holding onto his shirt. Some you get some you don’t. We have been working hard in training. We intend to prove a few people wrong and it was encouraging that we kept going right to the death.”
- Bradford City: Walsh, Halle, Wetherall, Dreyer, Jacobs, Lawrence (Saunders 62), Redfearn, Whalley, Beagrie, Windass, Mills
- Subs Not Used: Myers, Clarke, O’Brien, Moore
- Booked: Wetherall 65, Beagrie 79
- Sheff Weds: Pressman, Atherton, Thome, Walker, Newsome, Hinchcliffe (Briscoe 48), Jonk (Booth 78), Rudi, Alexandersson, Carbone, De Bilde (Donnelly 78)
- Subs Not Used: Cresswell, Srnicek
- Booked: Newsome
- Attendance: 18,276
- Referee: D. Gallagher (Banbury)