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....and that's just the players. 3000 Leeds fans were equally dischuffed with the day in general and the match in particular.
But let's start at the beginning. First of all, a big hello to our friends at GNER. Friday: "Hello - GNER? Will there be any change to the departure times from London on Sunday?" "No, trains will be leaving at the same time but arriving later due to speed restrictions."
Wrong! Leaving 7 minutes early and with quite a few red-faced people having to sprint to get themselves on board. Still, uneventful journey up and not delayed too much on a nice, sunny day.
By the time we reached the ground, the nice sunny day has changed into a cold damp evening, and with the clocks going back, the darkness was closing in by kick-off, adding to the general sense of foreboding. At least we were moderately under cover in our stand (though we had a bloody great pillar in front of us for a less than unobstructed view of the pitch) - a couple of thousand of the Bradford fans were draped in plastic bags but otherwise exposed to the elements due to building works.
Our old enemy Carbone and Bradford's new boy Collymore started, at least giving us a couple of Halloween villains to shout at. "He's going mad - Stanley's going mad!" chanted the Leeds faithful. "Only cowards hit their birds," they added. A couple of Leeds fans in the Bradford stand next to us said something that revealed their identity - the stewards eventually reacted to pull out the Leeds lads, but neither stewards nor police deemed it fitting to eject or arrest the fat skinhead Bradford fan who had waited until the Leeds fans were held by the arms by two stewards before jumping out of his seat to "have a go". Brave boys, these Bradford hard men.
With the pitch looking more than a bit damp underfoot, we needed a half-decent ref who was going to understand the difference between a two-footed leg-breaker and a conditions-affected collision, and at first, as two challenges from Bradford players went in on Alan Smith and Eirik Bakke, it looked like Stephen Lodge was going to act sensibly, keeping the cards in his pocket. Ha! "Mr Lodge, the second most card-happy referee in the Premiership, then produced a yellow card to Ian Harte". That's a quote from a match-report for Leeds vs Boro from January 1999 - and not much has changed since then with Bakke, Harte and Dacourt all booked for offences that were ignored when committed by players in the claret and amber of the home side.
Lee Bowyer had tested Matt Clarke's reactions early on, but a poor defensive clearance fell to a Bradford player just outside the box, and the ball was shuffled out to Carbone on the right wing. Ian Harte tried to close him down, but he'd already been given too much space and fired in a cross towards the penalty spot. Collymore had been running into the six yard box, checked, found that Jon Woodgate had given him a couple of yards of space and produced a stunning overhead kick that gave Paul Robinson no chance. Then, as he is wont to do, he blotted his copybook (not with the Bradford fans, who loved it, but with the FA who tend to take a dimmer view of this sort of thing) by standing 3 yards from the Leeds end and inviting them to come on and have a go. A couple nearly made it past the stewards, but Collymore had been dragged away by the rest of the Bradford team by then: he may be brain-dead, but there's a good deal of experience and common sense in the Bradford squad.
The pitch grew steadily soggier as the half wore on, with the ball skidding away one minute, stopping dead the next. Matteo had a good chance to level with a header, but Ian Nolan cleared off the line, and the home side went in a goal to the good.
Bradford managed 5 minutes of pressure at the start of the second half - a period which saw Mark Viduka added to Mr Lodge's book for failing to stop after the whistle: at least he would later produce a card for Peter Beagrie for the same offence, but neither deserved a booking. Peter Atherton possibly deserved a booking - maybe more. He may have got half a stud on the ball as Alan Smith cut into the area from the left, but Atherton's challenge made sure that whatever happened to the ball, Smith wouldn't be anywhere near it. The former Wednesday man then suggested that Smith dived, and the handbags that followed were a lot worse than most of the challenges that were carded during the game.
With about half an hour remaining, Leeds had begun to dominate the game, and Clarke was called on several times to save City. He found himself pulled to the right hand edge of the box to try to clear the danger, but Viduka was there first and curled a shot just past the far post with the keeper stranded. Shortly after that, Stephen Lodge showed yet more leniency to the home side. Viduka was ahead of the defence and Clarke raced out of his area to avert the danger. He went to ground looking to pick up the ball, but realised he wasn't in the box and instead went down on all fours above the ball to deny Viduka a clear goalscoring opportunity. In fairness to Clarke, he didn't try to handle the ball (although it may have hit his arm in the struggle) which would have resulted in a red card - but he did stop Viduka from getting to the ball with an open goal behind him. Mr Lodge's leniency in just showing Clarke a yellow card wasn't unexpected, neither was the direction in which his leniency was shown.
Lee Bowyer had to be subbed after a collision with Clarke left both down for some time - but it looked like the midfielder had picked up a dead leg, so on came Jacob Burns to run around and stir things up a bit. 12 minutes to go, and finally we got the break we wanted: Matteo's delicate chip found Viduka in acres of space just outside the six yard box, and his precision header restored a degree of justice to the scoreline.
We certainly didn't deserve to lose this one, and maybe a win would have been hard on a Bradford team who battled away in atrocious conditions. But this is the sort of game we won last season, and it's the sort of game we're going to have to remember how to win this year if we are to stand a chance of repeating our qualification for the Champions League: at this rate, the FA Cup could be our only route back into Europe for next season, and although a year of concentrating on domestic honours might bear fruit, it's not the sort of thing the club needs at this stage.
To cap a really cruddy day, the Bradford police made us take a 1.5 mile detour through the teeming rain to get back to our cars, and an initially promising journey back down south ground to a halt in Hertfordshire, where torrential rain had caused flooding and closed the track. The train crew were apologetic, the free taxis home welcome, but a journey that generally takes at most 4 hours turnstile to door ended up taking 8 as I finally got back at 0200. Let the train take the strain? Maybe next time I won't bother.
A strange day of contrasts of one sort or another. Left for the gorgeous city of Bradford at half-noon and the sun was shining and the sky was blue. I took my raincoat just in case, I don't usually listen to the forecast, but they were pretty confident that it was going to piss it down.
We eventually found the Bradford LUSC pub (Bedford Arms) and me, Thirkers and Thirkers Jr settled in after meeting Si C in there, Niggy joined us later. Pre-match was the usual fair, Thirker's madness (he's got 4 points for it you know) and running buffet, as well as pretty fine pints of Tetleys. About 3.20, we got a lift on the supporters club bus for the game and this is where the contrasts began.
It had started to rain and the wind had really got up, in fact it was bloody miserable and downright freezing - a stark contrast to the pub.
And whilst the bradford-branch members were very inviting, hospitable and friendly, something happened on the bus. Twenty or thirty started up all the "No Surrender/The Bradford End/I'd Rather Be a P.." stuff - as loud as I've ever heard people sing it at any away game, this was quite an eye-opener. I'm not sure if it was probably because they were the bradford branch or what, but it was a bit OTT and quite suprising for an official branch.
Then a woman on the bus had a go at Thirkers who had unwittingly (and in his general innocent madness) smuggled on a couple of cans. She threatened to throw him off and then called him an arsehole - all the while 20 or 30 of her fellow branch members sung the afore-mentioned songs. She'd do well in politics, on the far right of course - and whatever her skills were, diplomacy wasn't one of them. A woman in her 60/70's near me had the f***ing cheek (sorry) to say "Just who ARE these people we are giving a lift to?" - her disgust that someone hadn't realised that there was a no-beer policy on the bus before she gleefully began to sing "Singing die die turkey turkey die". Contrasts indeed. I began to feel like I was in some version of a West Yorkshire "Deliverance" remake. (Apologies in retrospect to the many bradford members who didn't join in)
Then we got to the ground, which is a right mess. The tickets were 27 and for that you'd expect reasonable facilities, but the place is a joke, worse than even Watford. The weather didn't help and you had to have pity for those on the lower section. The toilets in particular were highly unpleasant.
Not that it's just the away fans they couldn't give a toss about (although the stewards were very amiable to be fair) the home fans to the left of the away section were handed makeshift kagouls which were all white and it ended up looking like the Bradford collective of the Klu Klux Klan - still it made for much amusement ("D'ya wanna be in my klan, my klan, my klan").
And they couldn't fill the ground, for their biggest game. Pathetic, or should that be 'apathetic'.
One look at the official before the game and it was Lodge, quite ironic with all the KKK in the stand. And pretty soon he was dishing out yellow to anyone raising their eyebrows in a white shirt - he was bloody awful all game.
As for the game itself, here was perhaps the biggest contrast - that of the battling, passionate Barca performance and today's listless, half-hearted (in the main) effort. A few players aside, we looked fairly ordinary, but we should have had plenty in reserve to beat the likes of Bradford who were very fired up for it.
It was blindingly obvious before kick off that the domestic-abuser would score against us, he always seems to, and fair-doo's, he scored a peach although Bakke was a bit slack in the period that led to his goal. Apart from that, Robinson didn't have too much to do. But I'd be very suprised if Collymore is not dragged screaming before the FA for crowd-incitement.
As a team we deperately need a little luck, although our goal was well worked and very much deserved in the end, whereby we might have had a penalty, their keeper might have gone off on another day (and another ref) and we might have grabbed a few more goals instead of having 2 hoofed off the line.
The conditions were dreadful and a couple of people have scoffed at players wearing gloves, but take it from me, I was in the relative warmth of the upper-stand, had trousers, coats and stuff on, had 5 pints of beer and some pies (some pork ones, not the usual larger balti) and I was chuffing freezing so god only knows what it was like on the pitch.
25min walk in the freezing rain back to the pub after the game, where everyone was friendly again, at least until the Celtic game came on and "No Surrender" started up again... A couple of pints and then back home courtesy of Thirkhill Taxi-Cabs. (Thanks GT and this is true)
Will Collymore face charges from the FA for some of the most blatant crowd incitement I've ever seen ? Why have Bradford replaced a perfectly acceptable stand with a roof with a crap one with no roof ? Was the ball-boy on the right hand side the most obnoxious little git you've ever seen ? Is it possible to get thrombosis from spending too long stuck on a minibus ? Why were there 3000 ghosts watching the game ? What was Steven Lodge on ? When the Police took Leeds fans from the Bradford end, why didn't they do anything about the Bradford fans who attacked them on the way out ? Why can't Bradford sell out their ground for a local derby ? How on earth did we let that shower of shit hold us to a draw ?
Once I'd survived the challenges of actually getting oop north via the machinations of British Rail and the afore-mentioned minibus the day started well as I won the pub card in the Peacock. (Which is a much pleasanter option before away games than Home ones). The usual crawl through Bradford as it started to piss with rain and we got into the ground and only Niggy's soup staved off frostbite.
A 3-5-2 formation at the start with Matteo at the back and Harte and Kelly pushed forward. First 15 minutes we looked in control and it took a clearance off the line from a header at a corner and a tip over the bar from Bowyers shot to stop us taking the lead. Bradford won a corner up our end and Collymore responded to the inevitable abuse with various gestures, which of course only inflamed the situtation. Stephen Lodge was also proving what a prat he was by booking about 4 of ours (including Harte after Carbone dived) whilst ignoring worse tackles from Bradford players.
Shortly afterwards Collymore scored an admittedly brilliant goal with an overhead kick but then ran right to the front of the Leeds fans to inflame the situation even more and only a combination of Police and stewards managed to stop a few fans getting onto the pitch and attacking him. For most of the rest of the 1st half we lost our way a bit and the constant rain was forming puddles on the pitch and making it difficult to play decent football, as we were dragged down to their level. We still came closest to scoring when another corner led to Matteo's header being cleared off the line. Second half - again it took a while to get into our stride but for a spell in the middle we were all over them and it was amazing we didn't score. Clarke made 3 or 4 good saves, including foiling David Wetherall's attempt to raise his status amongst Leeds fans even more. Hay also managed to scoop one over the bar from 8 yards and a flow of crosses had Bradford under constant pressure. Smith had a penalty appeal turned down which could easily have been given and then got involved in a spot of handbags with the defenders, which went on longer than necessary because Lodge had run to the other side of the pitch to avoid the Leeds protests.
A couple more incidents of note, Viduka chased a through ball, Clarke came out of the area and the ref gave a free-kick and booked Clarke for handball. But surely if it was handball he had to send the keeper off. A bit later Bowyer collided with the keeper, while both were receiving treatment, Collymore decided to run 70 yards to start complaining about the challenge even though none of the other Bradford players (all closer) were bothered about it. He then made more gestures to the Leeds fans and had to be told to behave himself and dragged away by the other Bradford players. He was substituted soon afterwards.
Bowyer limped off soon after this and was replaced by Burns which led to a reshuffle to 4-4-2 with Matteo wide on the left. This proved to work in our favour, as just when it looked like Bradford had weathered (no pun intended) the storm, Smith found Matteo after a good run and his cross was headed in by Viduka. We should have gone onto win it, but never really controlled the game to the end, though we again came close when Viduka dragged the keeper out of his area and his chip drifted just past the post.
Scores Robinson 7 - No chance with goal, otherwise bored and
Ref - Lodge - Just hopeless, worst this season except Munich at home. Totally unable to distinguish between a foul caused by the slippery conditions and a bad tackle which deserved a booking.
We didn't play well but still deserved to win, Bradford are very poor and Collymore will backfire on them soon. Odds on him having a fight with Carbone before the end of the season ? I guess we didn't need a physical game on a heavy pitch, 2 days before going to Tranmere, I hope DOL picks the reserves, if we have any left. Players need a rest for the big games next week and it'd be stupid to risk more injuries. My handy little Premier guide doesn't have a map of Birkenhead, anyone got any pub ideas. Given the state of British Rail better think about leaving soon.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 30/10/2000.
Stan Collymore may have frequented more last-chance saloons than Wyatt Earp but after yesterday maybe, just maybe, the nomadic centre-forward should not be perceived as a cowboy after all.
With patience running out at Valley Parade, Collymore did his best to earn Chris Hutchings a stay of execution here with the type of goal that, before the tantrums, the Priory clinic and everything else that has sullied his career, was once regarded as his forte.
Collymore being Collymore, things have a habit of going awry, of course. His manic celebrations in front of the Leeds supporters will not have gone down well with the powers that be at Lancaster Gate. But, of more consequence to his new employers, just as his acrobatic goal seemed destined to secure their first victory since beating Chelsea on August 22, a rare win bonus was denied them by Mark Viduka's equaliser 11 minutes from time. The wait goes on.
Copy from The Independent of 30/10/2000.
Stan Collymore has driven most of his managers to distraction; yesterday he went some way to saving his latest employer from the sack.
Collymore and Benito Carbone are not the kind of players you would choose if your life depended on their performances but Chris Hutchings's managerial existence at Bradford does and after this gutsy draw in a rainstorm it will have been extended by a few weeks.
He laughed that he had not yet seen his chairman, Geoffrey Richmond, who had begun the week by telling Hutchings that he expected an "improvement in results with immediate effect".
The meeting, when it came, would have been easier than Hutchings might have expected, although Mark Viduka's short-range header 10 minutes from time ensured they would not be discussing Bradford's second Premiership victory of the season.
Collymore's future at Valley Parade is still as uncertain as his manager's since there have been false dawns before and autumn is a time for dead leaves, not turning over new ones.
In March he marked his debut for Leicester with a hat-trick against Sunderland, which was followed by pranks with fire extinguishers in La Manga, a broken leg and finally dressing-room confrontations which sparked his transfer on Thursday, despite apparent misgivings in both the dressing and the boardroom at Bradford.
His goal was pure theatre – a beautiful cross from Carbone that was met by an overhead kick that sent the ball into the corner of Paul Robinson's net.
Collymore may have been disoriented but it was strange he should run over to the Leeds fans to celebrate. It provoked a typical spasm of fury in the stand behind the goal and his actions are likely to be reported to the FA.
Collymore is still to face a hearing at Lancaster Gate after a stamping incident involving Paul Gascoigne, which marked his last, sorry game for Leicester City.
"I know he has shone on his debuts before," admitted Hutchings. "And it's important he does his talking on the pitch. He has moved up into the area which shows his commitment."
It may be that Bradford would suit Collymore more than the intense glare of Liverpool and Aston Villa; he confessed to being happiest of all in the backwaters of Southend but if he is in the Last Chance Saloon, he has stood his first round.
This was Bradford's seventh point in the Premiership and five have come against Chelsea, Arsenal and Leeds which tells its own story.
If Bradford are to survive, and their chairman believes they will need half a dozen more points than the 36 they managed last season, Carbone and Collymore will have to raise their game against the Premiership's ordinary sides.
Leeds are not ordinary; not even when they have a team ruined by injury.
"I am not a genius and my players are not rocket scientists," said the Leeds manager David O'Leary, with some understatement, when asked if the nine-point gap between Manchester United and Arsenal could be bridged. However, on sheer weight of chances, Leeds should have won.
In a first half played as the rain sluiced down on the mill city from dark, satanic skies, they twice had headers cleared off the line by Ian Nolan while O'Leary was convinced they should have had a penalty as Alan Smith was brought down in the 52nd minute.
When these teams last met, Bradford's goal was guarded by the portly frame of Neville Southall, forced into a comeback through a string of injuries. This time they had a harder task finding a way past Matt Clarke.
He began a performance that was to eclipse even Collymore's by tipping away a fierce, swirling shot from Lee Bowyer and then Ian Harte.
In the second half, with the penalty area a wetland, he turned away headers from Jonathan Woodgate, Danny Hay and a shot that cannoned from the shins of his own defender, David Wetherall.
The goal, when it came, gave him no chance.
Copy from SportLive of 30/10/2000.
SportLive is no longer operational. Should it return to the web, this report will be removed and the link restored.
All his old bosses would have tuned in on Sunday as Stan Collymore, having found yet another new leaf to turn over, scored yet another debut goal.
And they would have sighed. Like Roy Evans, who paid the most for Collymore, £8.5million at Liverpool, and is still waiting to get a new job.
And Brian Little, who gave Collymore his second chance for £7m at Aston Villa and is now managing Hull.
They would all have seen the talent they knew was deep inside Stan and wondered again why they couldn't coax it out of him. Little even went round Stan's house in Cannock for coffee and sympathy to try and find a way into his complex mind.
He never did. Neither did John Gregory. Martin O'Neill left for Celtic before the malaise could get to him and Peter Taylor saw all the symptoms and baled Collymore out last week.
Now it's Chris Hutchings. He was smiling last night, and so he should be because Collymore was outstanding, man of the match, but whether he will last out to be man of the season is the larger question.
Collymore has all the football gifts in the world but it's a bit like Christmas - if you don't take the presents when they're offered you can miss out for a long, long time.
He lasted 70 minutes, full of ideas and power, at times terrorising Leeds' defence.
It was a 72-minute throwback to when Collymore was the best centre-forward in the country as he led Nottingham Forest from the First Division to third place in the Premiership five years ago.
Forest did not want to let him go. Underline that: Did Not. They were the last club who did not open the front door, looking in the street for a taxi to take Collymore off to a new club.
Maybe this is the New Stan. If it is, then whoever becomes the new England manager will have a gem in his hands. His goal was acrobatic excellence, taking Benito Carbone's cross from the right and scissor-kicking past Leeds' outstanding young keeper Paul Robinson.
Twenty-one minutes and a new dawn. Gregory saw something similar when Collymore played out of his skin in his first game in charge at Villa after replacing the burned-out Little. Gregory wondered then what all the fuss was about and thought Stanley Victor was no bother. What price the same thought in Hutchings' mind last night?
Collymore's dark side showed itself briefly, when he baited the Leeds fans behind the goal after he scored, causing some to stumble on to the pitch and stewards and police to rush to the scene.
He pulled faces at the same fans while waiting for a corner and when they sang, horribly, "Stan's going mad", he showed 1-0 to them with his hands before a wise team-mate pulled him away.
But let's not dig too deep, this was benefit Sunday for Stan. The time to criticise and examine motives will surely come, history says, in about a month. Collymore, for now, believes he has been harshly treated.
Sunday's performance was about the devils that had to be exorcised after being let go by Leicester. Hutchings told Stan to play himself to a standstill - something he may have had difficulty in recalling - and he did just that.
He even chased 25 yards to try to block Leeds defender Dominic Matteo when he made a run forward. Stan didn't make the tackle but it was noteworthy. The 37th minute.
But Collymore's main contribution was to lead Bradford's attack with venom. Carbone, in his white boots and savagely-cut hair, responded, whipping around the pitch trying to play Collymore in. And it kept working.
The goal, after Jamie Lawrence's shot had been blocked and squirmed over to Carbone, was the high point, but Collymore's confidence, adrenaline and motivation were so high he tried delicate 30-yard chips that Robinson had to watch like a fielder in the deep.
There was one lightning Bradford move when Collymore ploughed through the surface water like a destroyer, connected with Peter Beagrie's pass and just slid his shot wide of the post.
Collymore led this Bradford performance and when he went off, pulling on a navy blue woolly hat and standing getting soaked next to first-team coach Malcolm Shotton, so the drive went out of Bradford and with it their first victory in nine games.
Leeds were the quality side and stayed firm under most of the Collymore-inspired pressure to pick their moment. Twice they had efforts cleared off the line and Bradford goalkeeper Matt Clarke, as Leeds manager David O'Leary thought might happen, became an overworked hero.
Ten minutes from the end Mark Viduka blighted Collymore's perfect day with his sixth goal in seven games, heading in Matteo's cross at the near post.
Life can be cruel. Collymore firmly believes it has been crueller to him than most.
Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 30/10/2000.
STAN the man may be back and in business - but Marco-goalo rescued Leeds United from derby day disaster at Bradford.
Bradford's gamble of signing Stan Collymore appeared to have paid a rich dividend for their under-pressure boss Chris Hutchings when the striker did what he does best and scored a stunner at rain-soaked Valley Parade.
But United's Wizard of Oz Mark Viduka headed a late equaliser - his sixth goal of the season - to ensure the spoils were shared after an enthralling tussle in conditions that would have sent many a duck waddling for cover.
Those conditions ensured the game was never going to be a classic but, thanks to the appearance of Collymore and two teams prepared to fight to the bitter end, the entertainment value could never be doubted.
It was Leeds, who were so cruelly denied a safe passage into the next phase of the Champions League by Barcelona in midweek, who tried to stamp their authority onto proceedings in the opening minutes.
Bradford were game enough and Collymore and Benito Carbone were causing the United defence more problems than Rivaldo and co at times.
But their early efforts were quelled by the Leeds back three of Jonathan Woodgate, Danny Hay and Dominic Matteo, who coped with David O'Leary's change in formation capably enough.
Collymore had a header plucked out of the air by Paul Robinson while Carbone's long-range shot was also smothered by the keeper.
At the other end Olivier Dacourt put Viduka clean through but his run on goal was halted by a poor decision from an assistant referee who continually displayed an ignorance of the offside rule, while Alan Smith lost his footing and crashed to the deck after creating space for himself in the Bradford penalty area.
And City keeper Matt Clarke, who went on to become a real pain to Leeds, denied Lee Bowyer with a smart one-handed save after the midfielder's curling, dipping shot appeared destined for the top corner.
The from Bowyer's resulting corner, Hay's header beat Clarke but was hacked off the line by Ian Nolan.
Surely a goal had to come - and after 21 minutes it did but for Bradford and how!
The Bantams had enjoyed three sustained minutes of pressure when Eirik Bakke gave the ball away in midfield. Jamie Lawrence decided to try his luck from 25-yards but the danger looked to have been cleared by Woodgate's lunging block.
However, the ball spun wide right to Carbone and his delicious cross looped dangerously towards Collymore.
The alarm bells were ringing in the Leeds defence - but it was too late.
Collymore took one look before leaping into the air and acrobatically scissor-kicking into the corner of the net past a despairing Robinson.
The goal was great; but Collymore's unwise decision to go and "celebrate" in front of the massed ranks of baying Leeds fans must be questioned.
And if referee Stephen Lodge includes the incident in his match report, Collymore may just receive a letter from Lancaster Gate asking him to explain his actions.
Colly's goal sent Leeds into a wobble and for a few minutes Bradford were in control.
But the United defence - and Robinson - held firm and United finished the period on top.
Ian Harte was denied by Clarke's save and from the resulting corner Nolan was again the Bradford hero as his knee cleared Matteo's header off the line, although there were strong appeals for a goal. TV replays were inconclusive and O'Leary couldn't shed any light on the matter.
"I really haven't got a clue," he said. "It would be very harsh for me to say but some of the players said it was over the line."
Whatever the players thought, Lodge was unmoved.
After the excitement of the first-half, the second was more than a match as United realised they were in a battle.
Bradford started well with Collymore and Carbone going close, while a wicked Lawrence cross beat everyone as it zipped over the greasy surface and out for a throw.
Then, after 54 minutes, United should have been handed the perfect chance to draw level when Smith - after a stunning turn of pace - had his standing leg taken by Peter Atherton's sliding tackle in the area.
But with the travelling fans celebrating the imminent penalty, Lodge ignored the pleas and waved play-on.
Just two minutes later an accidental collision between Bowyer's knee and Clarke's temple left both players prone with Bowyer forced off, while a dazed looking Clarke carried on.
And Bradford were indebted to the keeper from that moment on.
He escaped with a yellow card after performing a rugby tackle outside his area on Viduka - some referees would have sent the keeper to the warmth of an early bath - and then brilliantly stopped Dacourt's resulting free-kick.
Then Clarke stunningly saved David Wetherall from embarrassment against his old club as Smith's cross deflected off the defender and was heading for the net until the keeper got a hand to the ball.
That was after 68 minutes and twice in the next 90 seconds Hay was denied by Clarke saves.
Viduka did beat Clarke in a race to the ball after 70 minutes but he couldn't convert from a tight angle and it appeared that Leeds were going to lose to Bradford for the first time since 1986.
But 11 minutes from time Smith did well before feeding Matteo on the left.
The former Liverpool man chipped a cross into the centre and there was Viduka - a little shimmy losing his marker - to plant a firm header beyond the reach of Clarke and into the net.