Bradford came into this third round FA cup match against Millwall on the back of impressive league form. The Bantams came into this match with a nine game unbeaten run in all competitions – and the visitors were looking to carry on their recent good form which has taken them to fifth in League One.
Championship side Millwall on the other hand have been struggling in the championship this year and find themselves in the relegation zone after two wins in 19 games. The Lions were hoping this game would help them take their minds of their struggles in the league. The South London club will be hoping to repeat their heroics of 2004 where they got all the way to the final of the FA cup only to lose to 10 time FA cup winners Manchester United at the Millennium stadium in Wales .
The home side included experienced duo Ricardo Fuller and Scott McDonald in their side for this FA cup tie, as for Bradford they had to again do with out star man Billy Clarke and in goal Ben Williams came in for Jordan Pickford.
For Millwall this was their first game in the competition and as for Bradford they were looking to carry on their momentum from the last round after impressively sweeping Dartford aside 4-0 at Valley Parade in round two.
As for the match itself the visitors started on the front foot, and duly took the lead against their championship hosts. Bradford took full advantage of Millwall’s lack of confidence and took an early lead in the sixth minute. Billy Knott who has been in good goal scoring form of late, opened the scoring with a powerful shot from Alan Sheehan’s corner to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Millwall did slowly get back into this game however and had a Ricardo Fuller goal disallowed on 15 minutes after centre back Danny Shittu was flagged offside. The disappointment of that ruled out goal was short lived , Scott McDonald once of Celtic and Middlesborough grabbed an equaliser with a diving header for The Lions to ensure that the home side went in at the break on level terms. This match burst into the life in the second as four goals were scored in what turned out to be a fantastic cup tie.
After overcoming the shock of falling behind, Millwall went ahead for the first time in the match through veteran striker Ricardo Fuller who converted strike partner McDonald’s cross to make the score 2-1 to the hosts .At 2-1 the game never looked safe for the home side, and so it proved as the visitors did equalise in rather fortuitous circumstances. James Hanson’s shot was deflected on to the bar and off the unlucky Sid Nelson into the Millwall which levelled the scores again at 2-2.
The drama was far from over in a classic FA cup encounter, Bradford who refused to lie down throughout took the lead for a second time in this game. Billy Knott who has been a crucial player to Bradford in recent weeks, grabbed his second of the game by placing Filipe Morais’ cross into the far top corner with a brilliantly controlled volley to leave the score at 3-2 to the visitors.
With 14 minutes left on the clock , Bradford must have been daring to believe of an FA cup upset – but in a see-saw encounter Millwall gabbed another equaliser. Substitute Magaye Gueye went on a surging run and finished his run by teeing up Fuller who cooly placed his effort in the bottom corner to break Bradford hearts and level the scores at 3-3.
This cup tie was nothing short of sensational, this FA cup tie was very open with both sides having 50% possession and having 32 shots between them. There was time for Gueye to win it for the hosts – but Ben Williams saved the former Everton mans volley.
A defeat would have been harsh on visitors Bradford who had 14 shots on goal, who more than held their own against a higher league opposition.
Nothing could separate these two sides in a classic FA cup tie as the match itself finished all square. These two teams will have to do it all again at Valley Parade in a third round replay.