Bradford City 1 Crystal Palace 2

Last updated : 24 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Away-day specialists Crystal Palace secured a fourth successive win on their travels but had to survive a few late scares as Bradford came close to salvaging a point.

The resurgent Eagles stunned the struggling Bantams with an early two-goal blitz but, inspired by new recruit Ronny Wallwork, City almost claimed a share of the spoils.

Iain Dowie's hot-shots got off to a flyer as Bradford's defensive failings came back to haunt them.

After just 12 minutes a long ball down the middle was flicked on by Eagles skipper Neil Shipperley and, when unmarked Michael Hughes switched the ball inside, striker Andy Johnson was left with an easy sidefoot finish from 12 yards.

The Bradford fans were still reeling when a clanger by keeper Alan Combe gifted Palace a second just two minutes later.

Johnson's pace caused problems as he chased down a loose ball inside the City box and despite getting there first Combe fumbled possession leaving Shipperley with a 16-yard chip into an unguarded net.

With nothing to lose City began to apply some pressure and it paid off when loan signing Wallwork bagged his first goal for six years.

The former Manchester United star last scored when playing for Carlisle but his 21st minute header was just what Bryan Robson's side needed.

The West Brom midfielder, who had been recruited on Thursday, timed his run into the box perfectly to nod home Paul Heckingbottom's cross from eight yards out.

Combe made amends for his earlier blunder when he superbly blocked at the feet of Finnish international Aki Riihilahti and three minutes later he did well again to push away a Wayne Routledge drive.

Johnson wasted a great chance to bag a second after 56 minutes when his weak header was easily covered by Combe.

And Bradford striker Andy Gray was inches away from diverting Lewis Emanuel's low cross late on.

Wallwork drilled a fierce shot just wide four minutes from time and in a frantic finish Palace keeper Thomas Myhre had to be quick off his line to smother the ball as Gray threatened.