Memory Match: Blackpool 4-1 Bradford City, 1995

Andy Watson was on the scoresheet for the Seasiders
Andy Watson was on the scoresheet for the Seasiders

Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to take a look back at Blackpool's 4-1 win against Bradford City on December 16, 1995


Christmas came early for Blackpool fans as the Seasiders turned in their most impressive home performance of the season so far.

A week after turning on the style to beat promotion rivals Crewe Alexandra on their own ground, Pool provided the perfect follow-up to rattle up their biggest goals total since a 5-2 romp against Plymouth Argyle way back in January.

Sam Allardyce’s men had to be patient against a stubborn Bradford side who employed three central defenders in a bid to frustrate Pool’s efforts to avenge three defeats against the same opposition already this term.

But a nifty piece of typical opportunist finishing from Andy Watson set the Seasiders on the way and, with the bit firmly lodged between their teeth in the second half, there was no stopping their victory march.

Watson added a second to take his tally to three in two games after strike partner Tony Ellis had taken his total for the season to 10 with a glorious goal.

Bradford pulled one back through Paul Showler after Pool had gone 3-0 ahead but less than a minute later, Mark Bonner lashed home a cracker of a fourth from 25 yards to put the icing on the celebration cake.

The Seasiders now go into the hectic holiday programme of four games in 10 days on the back of their most impressive two performances and results of the season.

And with the likes of Andy Morrison, Darren Bradshaw and Andy Preece along with first-choice keeper Steve Banks still to come back, Pool have to be confident of building on their current position over the festive period.

On a bitterly cold day at Bloomfield Road, Pool’s performance against Bradford was one to warm the heart and all credit to Watson for the alertness he showed to get the Seasiders off to the ideal start with only 15 minutes gone.

A cross to beyond the left-hand post by James Quinn was met by Ellis, whose looping header came back off the bar.

As the Bradford defence, budgeting for the ball going over, hesitated for a split second allowing Watson to nip in at the back post to head the ball over the line from point-blank range.

Attacks were few and far between for the rest of the half, but Pool looked good value for their lead at the break with stand-in keeper Fred Barber rarely tested and what efforts on goal there were coming from the Seasiders.

Bonner and loan defender Dave Linighan tested City keeper Gavin Ward with shots, while the best Bradford effort of the half was a shot over the bar by Tommy Wright after a rare wayward attempt at a clearance by Marvin Bryan.

Within a minute of the second half starting, Pool had made clear of their intention to build on their advantage, with Ellis putting a cross-shot wide after a neat through ball from Scott Darton, on for the injured Rick Holden.

Quinn and Bryan both had efforts on the Bradford goal before Wright forced Barber’s first real save of the afternoon at the other end 10 minutes into the second half.

But three minutes after that, Pool doubled their advantage and it was all down to a tremendous show of persistence from the impressive Ellis.

Quinn played a cross into the centre of the field from deep on the right and Ward came out of his area to try and beat Ellis to it.

But the Bradford keeper missed connecting with it 30 yards out, Ellis ran on towards goal and beat off three defenders before turning a low shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net from the edge of the box.

On 65 minutes, Watson was set clear by another good pass from Darton but disappointingly hit his cross directly at Ward at the near post with Ellis waiting eagerly in the centre.

Four minutes later, however, it was 3-0 and Watson had made amends by being in exactly the right place just in front of the goalline to turn home a rebound after a header by Ellis from a Quinn cross had been parried by Ward.

Ellis and Quinn both forced saves from Watson as Pool piled on the pressure in a bid to add further goals to their tally.

On 76 minutes, Ellis shot wide of goal after a glorious build-up which started at the other end of the field.

A minute after that, Bradford pulled a goal back as Showler turned the ball home.

That was only ever going to be a consolation but 60 seconds later, Pool restored their three-goal advantage with a devastating strike from Bonner.

The Seasiders could have added further to their tally before the full time whistle, but eventually settled for their comfortable 4-1 margin.

Attendance: 4,857