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The Crown Ground
Accrington Stanley
Bradford City
, January 1st 2008, 3pm
League Two
Jordan Pattison

(Bradford City fan)

Mouth as dry as a camels bum? Balance similar to that of a drunken hobo? Head banging like the audition for Stomp? Welcome to waking up on New Years Day. Many fans up and down the country will have dragged their badly hung-over bodies from the kneeling position in front of the toilet to football stadiums nationwide.

Luckily for Bradford City we only had 1 hour to travel to Accrington, at least the fixture list had not thrown up a Hartlepool-Torquay esque journey. I doubt many City fans had too much expectation before this game having already seen Accrington bang 3 past us at Valley Parade in one of the tamest performances ever seen by the Bantams. In fact most City fans had just about written off the season, what was supposed to be a promotion season had in reality turned into a write off in which we had just about come to the conclusion we were nowhere near good enough to obtain promotion. Anyway, City fans were hoping for revenge from our earlier drubbing and who knows 2008 might just swing our form to push for a play off place.
Having got to the ground in good time we choose not to go to a pub seeing though most of us had drunk the contents of one the previous night, instead making our way into the ground. It is easy to find and well signposted but it is not a stadium you will be able to see from miles away. Once getting through the turnstiles, there are a few take away vans to choose from, prices are cheap however this is reflected in the quality, but anyone who has been to more than 3 away grounds would not expect Michelin Star food at a football ground. First thoughts of the stadium was okay, as long as your not expecting the San Siro, you pretty much get what you expected. Very similar to other previously non-league grounds I have been to, it has some tidy little sections and some not so nice areas such as the uncovered terracing we were located in.
City fans were in very good numbers, taking our full allocation and possibly outnumbering the home fans. The singing was very good from our end but I doubt anyone can hear it without a roof on. Their fans were quite noisy and put up a good account of themselves with some unique songs, I am 99.9% sure they even gave us a rendition of East 17’s ’Stay Another Day’ at one stage of the game. The first half was very even and like most City games, very dull. However, the second half kicked off and within a few minutes, Bradford had taken the lead from a set-piece as the ball ended up back into the Accrington penalty box and our most in-form player and giant centre-back Matt Clarke tucked it away and the City fans enjoyed it a lot. The game then opened up and Bradford and Accrington both continued to attack, Accrington made a triple sub and really attempted to get back in the game, this suited Bradford who had two wingers with pace who were very adept at counter-attacking. With our two wingers having their best games of the season we managed to land a sucker punch in the final few minutes as they both combined over a 70 yard run to clinch the victory. City fans were delirious and reacted as if we had won the champions league, we gave the City fans the praise they deserved as they walked off after a thrilling second half.

Getting away from the ground was simple enough and I think most City fans had received the only tonic that would cure our hangovers - a rare City away win, unbeaten in 2008 - I hope I can still say that on The 31st December 2008.


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