October 2001: CITY 4 (Etherington 6 Jess 38, 47, 66) WATFORD 3 (Helguson 63, Smith 76, pen 79)

CITY hat-trick are always particularly memorable because they don’t happen very often.

You have to go back to September 2017 for the last one when Charlie Wyke netted a televised treble against Bristol Rovers.

This week’s nostalgia match turns the clock back to a previous Bantams hat-trick hero from 19 years ago.

Eoin Jess was the star man in a seven-goal thriller against Watford at Valley Parade – even if he didn’t know much about the end of it.

The Scot, who would top score with 15 goals in that 2001-2002 campaign, spent the tense closing stages blissfully unaware of the drama going on.

He was in the dressing room having 10 stitches put in behind his right ear following a clash with Watford striker Heidar Helguson.

Jess needed his team-mates to fill in the gaps afterwards following a rollercoaster afternoon in what would turn out to be a pretty disappointing season.

Any hopes of bouncing straight back up from Division One after being relegated from the top flight were fading fast.

By the time Gianluca Vialli brought his Hornets north, City had lost five on the trot and Jim Jefferies was starting to get some heat from chairman Geoffrey Richmond.

But Vialli had bad vibes about Valley Parade from the previous season when defeat with Chelsea would see him lose his own job soon after.

He remembered the role the crowd had played that night – and sent out Watford with a game plan of “destroying the link between the supporters and players to put them under even more pressure”.

It would not pan out quite like that, although the final margin was still too close for comfort.

City were missing the injured Ashley Ward and Andy Myers while Gary Locke was suspended.

But they got off to the perfect start to soothe the nerves as Matt Etherington nodded past his former Tottenham team-mate Esper Baardsen from Gunnar Halle’s cross.

A firework thrown from outside the ground landed right in front of the tea bar beside the Symphony Stand. But the action on the pitch was more explosive.

As Watford were coming into the contest, it was City who struck again. Halle was once more the provider, galloping down the right before squaring for Jess to side-foot home from just inside the box.

And life got even better for the Bantams 90 seconds into the second half with a third goal.

Wayne Jacobs crossed early from the left, Andy Tod brought it down well and slipped a neat touch to Jess who smartly finished.

The ground boomed to the chants of “Jimmy Jefferies Bradford army” as the fans relished the prospect of a convincing victory.

Vialli desperately threw on all three subs – and newly-arrived Dutch winger Nordin Wooter crossed for Helguson to pull a goal back.

But City seemed to be back in total control when Jess completed his own personal feat in fortuitous circumstances.

Paul Robinson was first to the ball as Todd headed Etherington’s cross into the six-yard box. But the Watford defender’s clearance pinged off the Scot’s knee and back into the net.

Everything seemed to be going City’s way – or so it seemed.

Even when Watford again hit back with 14 minutes left, there appeared no reason to panic.

Helguson created it with a strong run before the hard-working Tommy Smith drilled past Gary Walsh.

But as the fans kept singing, tensions rose when Watford trimmed the deficit again three minutes later.

Robert Molenaar was harshly adjudged to have pulled back James Panayi and Smith sent Walsh the wrong way from the penalty spot.

A slightly groggy Jess left to a standing ovation in the final moments – and missed the sight of a fan wearing only underpants and his boots run across the pitch as the fourth official signalled five added minutes.

Watford finished with 10 men after Patrick Blondeau was then sent off as City hung on for a much-needed win.

Jess said: “There has been speculation about the manager after this string of results and we're delighted to get the win for him. It will lift a lot of weight off his shoulders and hopefully be the catalyst to get us back into winning ways.”

But two months later, Jefferies would be gone.

CITY: Walsh, Halle, Wetherall, Molenaar, Jacobs, Etherington, McCall, Whalley, Jess (Makel 88), Blake, Tod.

WATFORD: Baardsen, Robinson, Issa, Blondeau, Galli (Wooter 56), Cox, Fisken (Vega 57), Hughes, Glass (Panayi 57), Helguson, Smith.

Attendance: 16,860