Introducing a new summer website feature called 'Throwback Thursday' where we take a look back down memory lane at past fixtures; many of which you may recall with great fondness.
This week we take a look back to a vital game in the club’s history, one that resulted in Bradford City retaining their second tier status in the 1996-97 season, using it as a platform to earn an eventual promotion into the top flight a couple of seasons later.
Bradford City 3 (Pepper (2), Wright)
Queens Park Rangers 0
4th May 1997
The Bantams needed to match Grimsby Town’s result on the final day of the season to ensure safety and another year in the second tier, having only been promoted via the play-offs a year earlier. The fight for survival was between Bradford and Grimsby with Oldham Athletic and Southend United already relegated and it was Chris Kamara’s side who had the upper hand going into the final day of the season.
A mid-week victory at home to Charlton Athletic meant that the situation was clear for City and very much in their hands. A win would guarantee safety no matter what Grimsby did against basement club Southend. A late season signing from York City, Nigel Pepper glanced the ball home from Tommy Wright’s wide free-kick to give The Bantams the lead. Wright himself found the net with a wide free-kick from a similar position that went all the way in.
Pepper wrapped up victory for City with an indirect free from inside the penalty area which he rocketed into the top corner. It was a memorable afternoon for Bradford City who would earn promotion into the Premier League a couple of seasons later; not so memorable however for Grimsby Town who were relegated despite a 4-0 home victory against Southend United at Blundell Park on the final day of the season.
Aidan Davidson, Richard Liburd (Andrew O’Brien 58), Wayne Jacobs, John Dreyer, Nicky Mohan, Chris Wilder, Sean Murray, Tommy Wright, Mike Newell, Edinho (Ole Bjorn Sundgot 72), Nigel Pepper
Unused Subs: Robbie Blake
Tony Roberts, Danny Maddix, Rufus Brevett, Nigel Quashie, Steve Yates (Karl Ready 45), Steve Morrow, John Spencer, Gavin Peacock, Steve Slade, Andy Impey, Paul Murray
Unused Subs: Simon Barker, Danny Dichio
Referee: J H Pearson from Crewe
Stadium: Valley Parade