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BANTAMS HERITAGE: CITY v ROVERS

28 September 2018

The visit of Bristol Rovers to the Northern Commercials Stadium on Saturday marks only the 27th league meeting between the two sides.

The amount they have avoided one another over the years underlines the very different journeys the two clubs have been on across various generations.

But it is also a reminder that until the late 1950s, the Football League's bottom tier was regionalised into North and South competitions.

THE FIRST MEETING
City didn't face Bristol Rovers in an official league game until November 22, 1969, when Peter Middleton (Heritage Number #631) scored our goal in a 1-1 draw. There were sporadic meetings again - including City's biggest ever third-tier defeat, a 7-1 loss on September 4, 1971 - in the immediate years following that, but the 1970s saw Rovers spend time in Division Two, while City were to spend some tough, lean years in Division Four - meaning they didn't meet again until the early 1980s.

THE FIRST VICTORY
Incredibly, it wasn't until some 14 years later when the Bantams finally recorded their first victory over Rovers, as Bobby Campbell (#710) was among the scorers as City, now under the management of Trevor Cherry after Roy McFarland's acrimonious departure a few months earlier, won 2-0 in their first season back in Division Three.

RECENT MEETINGS
There are only six current Football League sides City have never beaten away from home - and Bristol Rovers are one of them. In 13 visits to Bristol, the Bantams have drawn three and lost 10, including the most recent trip there in January, when Charlie Wyke (#1221) scored City's only goal in a 3-1 defeat. In 13 home games against Rovers, City have lost only four - with 23 years between the most recent and the present day. On that occasion, October 14th 1995, 5,817 fans watched City lost 3-2: in a season which eventually saw the Bantams promoted via the play-offs under Chris Kamara's leadership.



LEADING GOALSCORERS
In total, 25 players have scored league goals for Bradford City against Bristol Rovers - with six scoring on more than one occasion. Lee Duxbury (#778) and Michael Flynn (#1064) have scored twice, Bruce Bannister (#599), the aforementioned Bobby Campbell and Nakhi Wells (#1112) have scored three goals against Rovers - but the leader is Wyke. His four goals against Rovers all came last season, and included a hat-trick, City's most recent in all competitions. Wyke's treble helped City to a 3-1 win almost a year ago to the day, on September 2nd 2017, before that consolation in the return fixture later in the year.



FORMER BANTAMS
There is an ex-Bantam in the squad of tomorrow’s opposition. Making his debut on January 28 2014 after signing from Doncaster and earning Heritage Number #1161 in the process, Kyle Bennett went on to make 18 appearances for City, scoring on one occasion before returning to his parent club.


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