Flashback: Bradford City hit for six but Leeds United miss out on top four

Harry Kewell gets past Ian Nolan.
Harry Kewell gets past Ian Nolan.
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LEEDS United will face Bradford City for a first league clash in 16 years next term should the Bantams beat Millwall in next Saturday’s League One play-off final.

The last league meeting was one that Leeds have fond memories of – a 6-1 Premiership whitewash this weekend on Sunday, May 13, 2001.

Stuart McCall, now in charge of attempting to take Bradford out of the third tier of English football, started in the City midfield.

But the Bantams were already relegated by the time they visited Elland Road for their penultimate game of the top-flight season in 2001 in which the Whites ran riot with six different scorers.

Leeds were just three years away from being relegated from the Premier League themselves but their seemed zero possibility of that happening in 2001 with the Whites taking on Bradford just five days after their second leg semi-final loss at Valencia in the Champions League.

David O’Leary’s side had finished third the previous campaign – guaranteeing the club’s first appearance in the Champions League for eight years.

Mark Viduka set the ball rolling when marking his 100th appearance in British football with a 19th-minute opener

In the days when only the top three from the Premier League qualified for Europe’s premier competition, United entered the Bradford clash sat fourth and chasing third-placed Liverpool who had just one league game left – at Charlton the following weekend.

Leeds, four points behind the Reds and with a game in hand, knew that two wins at home to Leicester City and Bradford were a must.

And victory rarely looked in doubt against the Bantams who were 2-0 down after 19 minutes.

Mark Viduka set the ball rolling when marking his 100th appearance in British football with a 19th-minute opener as the striker headed home Ian Harte’s peach of a left-wing cross, even with his weaker foot. And Harte himself then doubled United’s lead just five minutes later as the left-back curled a home a fine free-kick from 25 yards out.

Bradford temporarily looked on course to stage a fightback just three minutes later when Ashley Ward latched on to a through ball and fired home past Nigel Martyn.

But United’s two-goal cushion was soon restored five minutes later when Alan Smith threaded a clever pass through for Erik Bakke who fired the ball home into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for the Bantams who were fell 4-1 behind in the 38th minute as a Danny Mills delivery paved the way for Smith to get on the scoresheet.

Harry Kewell then joined the party five minutes later when Martyn’s long punt was collected by the Aussie who showed beautiful control before bursting into the area and finishing with aplomb.

Martyn looked on and laughed as the goalkeeper celebrated a rare assist as Leeds led 5-1 at the break.

A half dozen looked a formality and a sixth goal duly arrived though United had to wait until the 84th minute to find it as Harte’s cross was eventually converted by the midfielder. The Bantams victory had put Leeds one point behind Liverpool ahead of the final day of the season yet the Reds stormed to a 4-0 success at Charlton one week later, putting the Anfield side in the Champions League at the Whites’ expense.

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MATCH STATS

Leeds United 6 (Viduka 14, Harte 19, Bakke 27, Smith 38, Kewell 43, Bowyer 84)

Bradford City 1 (Ward 22)

Premier League 
May 13, 2001

Leeds United: Martyn, Mills, Matteo, Ferdinand, Harte, Bowyer, Bakke, Dacourt (McPhail), Kewell, Smith, Viduka. Subs not used: Robinson, Kelly, Robinson, Maybury, Wilcock.

Bradford City: Davison, Nolan (Locke), Halle, Myers, Jacobs, Whalley, McCall, Lawrence, Jess, Carbone, Ward. Subs not used: Worsnop, Kerr, Blake, Grant.

Referee: Andy D’Urso (Billericay).

Attendance: 38,300.

Pontus Jansson. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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