Date:Sunday February 27 2011
During the week the Bradford City co-chairman met with his manager. The upshot was his departure by mutual consent. But not immediately.
And so Peter Taylor held the reins of the Bantams for one last 90 minutes. Could he leave us with cheers in his ears or would it be another poor result?
In terms of going out on a high, the bookies would have suggested Taylor's opposition couldn't be better. Relegation might be a fear for us but if Stockport County are your team then it's a very real possibility.
So the scene was set. Throw into the mix a special offer on tickets at £1 and at 3pm, Valley Parade was rocking with over 15,000 in attendance. For once Hi Ho Silver Lining didn't sound pathetically stolen from Wolves or Wednesday and the stadium appeared intimidating.
Taylor couldn't resist a little bit of tinkering for his final eleven. James Hanson led the line with Michael Flynn alongside as he took to a 4-4-2. A snood-less Pidgeley enjoying the spring sunshine in goal, Luke O'Brien at left back, Lewis Hunt at right with Luke Oliver and Steve Williams at the heart of the defence. Kevin Ellison took to the left flank, David Syers returned from injury alongside Lee Bullock in the middle and Tom Adeyemi on the right.
The Bantams started brightly and before quarter of an hour had gone were in the lead. James Hanson was fouled, Michael Flynn delivered the free kick and Steve Williams nodded home.
But just 13 minutes later the barber from Bamber Bridge turned from hero to zero. As he tried to dribble the ball out of danger and despite Ryan Doble slipping he found himself tripping over the ball and outmuscled. A neat pass to Paul Turnbull and, from the edge of the penalty area he made it 1-1.
It was a mistake but it didn't put the Bantams off their stride. Back they were roared and a spell of pressure led to a corner. Struck deep into the box by Luke O'Brien it was headed back across the goal, in it went and woodwork it hit, in it went again and somehow it came out, and for a third time the ball went close to restoring the Bradford advantage but Glennon and County held firm.
But almost immediately there was another corner. The ball again pinged around the box but this time Adam Griffin used his hand to stop the ball crossing the line. A red card and a penalty.
Up stepped James Hanson. Sadly his penalty was poor and Matt Glennon saved it. So, 1-1 still but against 10 men surely the Bantams would dominate in Peter Taylor's last game?
It took five minutes for that hope to be extinguished. A punt from the Hatters' backline turned into the perfect defence splitting pass as it evaded everybody.
The ball ran kindly for Ryan Doble but Lenny Pidgeley advanced from his goal. Surely he was favourite to get there first and smother it? He almost did but rather than smother it the City number 1 saw it fumbled from his grasp, bounce off his chest and end up at the feet of the Stockport forward. An easy tap in and the ten men were 2-1 up five minutes before the interval.
As the half time whistle rang out around the ground so too did the boos. Losing, at home, to a team with ten men mired in the relegation zone but who would come within 3 points of us if they could hold on. Not looking good for Peter's farewell.
Cue his final half time team talk. Could he persuade the players to give their all for his, and our cause? He acted quickly. Adeyemi and Bullock removed for Speight and Evans. Speight and Hanson up top, Flynn into the midfield with Evans down the right wing.
But they couldn't make that man advantage count. For 20 minutes Stockport County more than held the men in claret and amber at bay. Balls pumped forward came back at County feet and they looked good value for their lead.
Heads in hands, Bantams despairing, could we sink any lower than we already were?
And then, a lifeline. Well, more like an indestructible lifeboat. A clearance forward from Matt Glennon saw Ryan Doble jump with Luke Oliver. County's goalscoring hero led with his elbow, clobbered the giant centre back and left him bloodied. The referee went to his pocket straight away.
The Hatters down to 9 men but still with a lead. 65 minutes on the clock, what could Peter Taylor manage with his final 25 minutes in charge?
Luke Oliver taken off, Robbie Threlfall on. Three at the back. Williams, Hunt and Threlfall. O'Brien in the middle with Flynn and Syers. Four at the top in Evans, Hanson, Speight and Ellison.
But still the Bantams hoofed the ball. They couldn't exploit the space left by 9 men and made hard work of breaking down a resilient Stockport County.
We had chances but Speight fluffed a few, the bar was hit, the ball went wide. We just couldn't get things done. And then up stepped substitute Threlfall to deliver a corner. And who was there but that man, Steve Williams, the barber from Bamber Bridge to send 15,000 souls into ecstasy as his header pulled the hosts level.
2-2, against nine men, 16 minutes to go. Surely they would crumble? Wouldn't we now get the three points?
The kitchen sink was thrown forward, again and again the Bantams built, time and again the chances failed to fall and we didn't really threated Glennon. The ball at one point fell to Dave Syers, you'd think nobody better to see the ball nestle in the back of the goal but he screwed his effort wide.
Still 2-2 and the natives were restless. 90 minutes on the clock and up popped the 4th official to signal 5 added minutes. Roars broke out in the stands, willing the Bantams to give their all, to send Taylor on his way with three points and positive emotion.
It was desperate, it wasn't pretty, it wasn't really effective. But as the game ticked down to its final whistle another scramble in the box, the ball fell to Gareth Evans whose shot hit beautifully from the edge of the box hit the back of the net to give the hosts the edge. 3-2, 90+4, 3 points, game over.
The Stockport players devastated, in a heap on the ground, stunned and shell shocked. They'd worked so hard, they'd kept the Bantams at bay, they'd played with 9 players for most of the second half.
At the other end of the pitch the Bantams elated. In the stands around the pitch the still-packed Valley Parade buoyant, delighted with the culmination of their day out.
But in the dug out? Peter Taylor and his managerial team left to ponder on a season that has had too few moments like that. It's not been a very emotional 12 months Pete, you've not enjoyed it much. I'm not sure anybody has.
But this? Thanks for this memory. You couldn't have given us a better parting gift.
Date:Sunday February 27 2011
Stats: Burton Albion v Bradford City (Wednesday May 8 2013)
Wembley Ticket News (Wednesday May 8 2013)
Wembley Again (Sunday May 5 2013)
Burnley Want Wells (Saturday May 4 2013)
Stats: Bradford City v Burton Albion (Friday May 3 2013)
Who Will Get The Last Promotion Place (Tuesday April 30 2013)
Bring On Burton (Sunday April 28 2013)
Stats: Cheltenham Town v (Sunday April 28 2013)
Play Off Tickets (Friday April 26 2013)
Sky Bet's View On Whaddon Road Trip (Friday April 26 2013)
|Blues sign keeper Horlock
» Wycombe : 23/05/2013 12:30:00
|Former defender retires
» York : 23/05/2013 12:26:00
|Drew Talbot Signs A Two Year Contract
» Chesterfield : 23/05/2013 11:56:00
|Blues announce friendlies at Staines and Burnham
» Wycombe : 23/05/2013 10:32:00
|Capital One Cup Draw
» Plymouth : 23/05/2013 09:15:00
|RUFC - Pen Pics - Claude Davis
» Rotherham : 23/05/2013 08:42:00
|United Announce First Pre Season Game
» Torquay : 22/05/2013 21:40:00