EVEN STEVENS FOR BLUES AND BANTAMS
Bradford City 1-1 Chelsea
Darren Steward reports
Bradford City and Chelsea battled to an entertaining 1-1 draw at Valley Parade, but a point apiece will be cold comfort for both these sides.
The less illustrious home side may be slightly happier with the outcome but, in Premiership terms Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli surely waved goodbye to the Premiership title.
Bradford made a brilliant start to the game at Valley Parade with Lee Mills scoring the opening goal on 59 seconds. Robbie Blake played a clever ball out wide to Dean Saunders for the Welsh international to whip in a cross for Mills to head home his sixth of the season.
Chelsea, recent masters of the immediate reply, almost pulled level three minutes later when Matt Clarke completely missed a Dennis Wise corner, letting in surprise selection John Terry. However, his effort was timid and cleared off the line by Gunnar Halle.
After a quarter of an hour Tore Andre Flo spurned a great chance after Didier Deschamps' sublime pass found him 10 yards out, but his placed shot went just over the bar.
Deschamps prompted the lively Norwegian again two minutes later with a short ball for Flo, but Clarke pushed out the shot.
Just after the half-hour mark Bradford almost went two-up but Mills' 20-yarder was stopped by de Goey.
Redfearn then prompted Halle to try his luck and his left-foot piledriver tested de Goey at full stretch to tip away.
It was then Clarke's turn to push out his side with a stop right on the goal-line from a downward Flo header and Deschamps was thwarted by Yorkshire resistance after Chris Sutton turned provider.
Petrescu levelled things in the 57th minute. Roberto Di Matteo dispossessed Neil Redfearn and put Dan Petrescu through. Clarke couldn't make the ground up and the canny Romanian lifted the ball calmly over the onrushing 'keeper to level.
City rallied and almost regained the lead. Redfearn's corner was knocked back towards goal by Wetherall for Blake just three yards out and in the middle of the Chelsea goal, but his flick whistled high over the bar.
Bradford had a goal disallowed for off-side late on when Neil Redfearn's header was adjudged to have been illegally positioned, but Paul Jewell's men, roared on like hungry lions by the majority of the 18,276 crowd claimed a point.
Bradford: Clarke, Halle, Wetherall, O'Brien, Myers, Windass (Beagrie
62), McCall, Redfearn, Blake, Mills, Saunders.
Subs Not Used: Davison, Westwood, Lawrence, Rankin.
Goals: Mills 1.
Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Thome, Terry, Babayaro, Deschamps, Poyet
(Morris 84), Wise (Di Matteo 57), Petrescu, Flo, Sutton (Zola 68).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Lambourde.
Goals: Petrescu 58.
Ref: A Wiley (Walsall).