Known as The Club That Wouldn't Die, City fans of a certain age had probably only experienced the name Accrington Stanley via an infamous TV advert until the current incarnation of the club were promoted to the Football League in 2006.
Now in the third tier for the first time in their history, this afternoon, City head across the Pennines for the 49th league meeting with Stanley (old and new).
Given how the original Accrington club collapsed in 1966 - and the reformed outfit didn't reach the Football League until some 40 years later - there was a fair gap between official meetings of the two sides. However, prior to that time, City and Accrington were regular acquaintances. Stanley entered the Football League for the first time in 1921 but at that time City were a First Division club. As a result, it was six years later when the two clubs' paths eventually crossed. On October 15, 1927, a Ralph Burkinshaw goal saw City leave Accrington with a point. Later that season, Burkinshaw scored again - this time in a 2-0 victory to help the Bantams to a sixth-placed finish in Division Three (North). City were soon relegated back down from Division Two, and given how Accrington never left Division Three (North), they met regularly in the years after that.
From the end of World War II in 1945 all the way through to 1960, City and Stanley met regularly in the aforementioned third-tier of English football. That was, however, until Stanley were relegated to the newly-created Division Four in 1960 - but City joined them a season later! There were plenty of victories for City during that time, including a 7-0 triumph in March 1951. Edward Carr scored a hat-trick and Kenneth Walshaw scored twice, while David Gray and George Williamson scored the Bantams' other goals in what remains one of the club's all-time biggest victories. Unfortunately, in City's first season in Division Four during 1961-62, Stanley folded and failed to complete their fixtures, meaning their results from that season - a 1-0 defeat and a 2-0 victory - were expunged from the records. It would be over 40 years before they met again in the league.
City's next game with Accrington was in the Football League Trophy in 2004, when a then non-league Stanley side beat the Bantams 2-1. Nearly three years later, they were league opponents again following Accrington's promotion - with the first meeting on October 2, 2007. It ended in a 3-0 defeat for City - but we would avenge that later in the season, as Matthew Clarke and Joe Colbeck scored the goals in a 2-0 win in Accrington. Both sides remained in League Two all the way through to the 2012-13 campaign, meaning meetings with Accrington became a regular occurrence. The final league clash against Stanley came in City's promotion-winning campaign of that season, as Garry Thompson and Alan Connell scored in a 2-1 victory for the Bantams.
In all, 49 players have scored official league goals in the 48 league meetings with either incarnation of Accrington Stanley. Of those, 15 have scored more than once. Their names, in order of most goals scored, with heritage numbers, are: 6 - Derek Stokes (#522); 4 - Edward Carr (#446), Albert Price (#448), George Williamson (#456); 3 - Alfred Whittingham (#337) Derek Hawksworth (#414), David Jackson (#501); 2 - Ralph Burkinshaw (#212), Jack Deakin (#336), Kenneth Walshaw (#452), John Connor (#459), Lawrence Ward (#429), Robert Webb (#505), John Reid (#524), Barry Conlon (#1026), Alan Connell (#1133).
While City still have one former Accrington player in Shay McCartan on our books - although currently out on loan - there is an ex-Bantam in the Stanley ranks, too. Goalkeeper Connor Ripley joined City in 2013 and earned heritage number #1155 when he debuted against Hartlepool in the Football League Trophy on September 3, 2013. That was his one and only appearance for the Bantams.
THE ALL-TIME RECORD
Played 48 | Won 20 | Drawn 13 | Lost 15.