Bradford City

Fleetwood Fight Back Hits Bradford’s Hopes

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams - but couldn't prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams – but couldn’t prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Two late goals from Fleetwood meant that the Lancashire side came back from Valley Parade with a point, after being two goals down. The result against the ‘Cod Army’ leaves the Bantams in 12th, all be it with two games in hand on their play off rivals.

Bradford who missed the chance of a Wembley date earlier in the week with an agonising FA Cup replay defeat against Reading had Filipe Morais unavailable for this one. The former Chelsea man’s sending off in that defeat on Monday night means the 29 year old will have to sit out of this one.

As for the visitors Fleetwood they could call on Stephen Dobbie, after the midfielder was previously unavailable.

After enduring the heart ache of missing out on a chance of a Wembley date with Arsenal, the Bantams came into this one in determined fashion – and it was of no surprise when the home side took the lead.

Jonathan Stead who was a key part in the memorable FA Cup opened the scoring. Fleetwood keeper Chris Maxwell wasn’t able to hold on to a Billy Clarke cross, which allowed Stead to score.

The opening goal was a reward for Bradford’s dominance – and it was of little surprise when the home side double their lead. Christopher Routis who replaced the suspended Morais doubled the hosts lead. Routis managed to squeeze in James Hanson’s far post cross – and at that point the Bantams looked in complete control – but that goal seemed to spark Fleetwood to life.

The visitors who were dominated, managed to pull a goal back when Jamie Proctor pulled a goal back when he headed in Tyler Hornby- Forbes’ cross. Despite the disappointment of conceding that goal, you still would have back Bradford to see the game out – but unfortunately for the home fans Fleetwood’s Nathan Pond had the last say as the Fleetwood man scored in stoppage time after an all mighty scramble.

Two apiece it finished then – but this result will be a better result for the visitors no doubt. Having said that Bradford aren’t out of the promotion race just as they do have two games in hand on their play off rivals – but more dropped points in a fiercely competitive play off race is never ideal.

Bradford 0-0 Reading

Bradford City v Reading - FA Cup Quarter Final

Bradford 0-0 Reading

Bradford failed to take advantage of being at home in this FA Cup quarter final tie as Reading left Valley Parade still with in a shout of an FA Cup semi final as this one ended all square at 0-0, which means this match will have to be replayed on Monday 16th March.

The hosts just like in the other FA Cup ties, had to call on former Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Williams as Sunderland loanee Jordan Pickford hasn’t been given the approval to play by parent club Sunderland. Gary Liddle also returns for the home side after serving a ban.

As for the visitors Reading, they were pretty much as full strength as strikers Hal Robson Kanu and Pavel Probgrebnyak both started for the Royals.

With the incentive of a Wembley day out at stake, both sides were rather tentative as both sides resorted to long balls on a very difficult pitch, the playing surface was something which Sunderland manager Gus Poyet also publicly pointed in the build to their match against Bradford .

Although they are a side who are strong and physical, Bradford aren’t afraid to ‘put the ball down and play’. This game however the Bantams faced a different challenge, as the pitch was difficult to play and also home side were seen by some as the favourites for the tie despite being a league below Reading.

Wins against Chelsea and then Sunderland was only going to increase expectation on Bradford and they nearly fell behind in the first half. Russian striker Probgrebnyak latched on to a Jamie Mackie cross – but could only hit the post with a right footed shot.

Rattled by that, Bradford looked to take advantage of their reprieve and hit the woodwork themselves. The returning Gary Liddle who has had to sit out the last few games due to suspension, saw his speculative cross creep past Royal’s keeper Adam Federici – but thankfully for the away side Liddle’s effort hit the post.

Buoyed by hitting the post, Bradford came out the stronger in what turned out to be an overall tight affair. The home side will be slightly disappointed of not taking advantage of some good situations.

Andrew Davies saw his headed effort go over the bar and Scott Hanson’s side footed effort flashed agonisingly wide. Those missed chances nearly proved costly as an Oliver Norwood free kick was floated into the box – but a combination of the woodwork and some last ditch defending kept Bradford’s clean sheet intact.

This one finished all square. Reading will be the happier of the two sides as they have the advantage of playing at home next – but Bradford you feel won’t be phased by that. The West Yorkshire side have played with out fear and this what makes this cup tie so finally balanced.

The Black Cats Lose All Their Lives At Bradford As The Bantams Progress In The FA Cup

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead scored the second goal in an impressive 2-0 FA   Cup win over Sunderland

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead scored the second goal in an impressive 2-0 FA Cup win over Sunderland

League One giant killers Bradford took another premier league scalp in Sunderland which helped the Bantams book a place in the quarter finals of the FA cup.

Bradford who famously beat Chelsea in the previous round would have been confident going into this one. The fact that there are two leagues separating the two sides wouldn’t have bothered Bradford.

The home side came into this cup tie knowing that they were able to call Billy Clarke from the start for the second successive game. On loan Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford misses out against his parent club.

As for the visitors they had to without former England striker Jermaine Defoe, Danny Graham who hasn’t scored for two tears came in for the 32 year old. Sunderland also changed their goalkeeper as Costel Pantillimon made way for Vito Mannone.

With the pitch being in a poor state, which was well documented – it was the hosts Bradford who took the lead after three minutes. The now fit again Billy Clarke’s effort deflected off Sunderland skipper John O’Shea and into the Black Cats net. The worst possible start for the visitors who were very publicly told about the pitch by manager Gus Poyet.

Bradford went on to dominate the half – but Sunderland did have their moments, Rory McArdle and Andrew Davies were forced to make last ditch tackles when Sunderland thought they were clear through on goal. The visitors had a huge penalty appeal turned down when Steven Fletcher tumbled in the box – but replays appeared to show the Scotland striker being offside when the offence happened, so a penalty award there, would have been harsh.

The homeside’s direct approach which was more physical to what is played in the premier league, was causing mayhem amongst the Sunderland ranks, it was actually a surprise the score was only 1-0 at half time as the hosts did have chances to increase their lead.

Bradford who were excellently managed by Phil Parkinson, were brave and resilient – something which has been a highlight of their cup run and their season. Danny Graham who replaced Jermaine Defoe for this game, didn’t look like he was going to end his two year goal scoring drought here. Sadly for the former Boro striker, Graham couldn’t continue after half time due to a serious head injury he sustained in the first half.

Danny Graham’s replacement was Connor Wickham, as Sunderland looked to get back into this game and avoid being another victim to a cup upset at the hands of Bradford City. To be fair the Bantams always seemed to be in control of this one – and double their advantage through Jon Stead in the 61st minute which killed the game off as a contest.

Gus Poyet will no doubt be quick to point out the state of the Valley Parade pitch – but how disappointing Sunderland were, I extremely doubt it would have made any difference.The Black Cats will have to focus on premier league survival now after missing out on another long cup run.

Bradford march on to the quarter finals and who ever they face will no doubt be in for a good game. The Bantams have showed here that spirit and hard work get you along way.

Bradford Vs Sunderland FA Cup Team News

Bradford can call on their talisman Billy Clarke for this one. Clarke and Filipe Morais will have to be at their best to help Bradford beat premier League Sunderland.

Bradford can call on their talisman Billy Clarke for this one. Clarke and Filipe Morais will have to be at their best to help Bradford beat premier League Sunderland.

FA Cup Fifth Round
Venue: Coral Windows Stadium
Kick Off: 14:30 GMT
Date : Sunday 15th February

In an FA Cup so far full of shocks, both teams will be fancying their chances in this years FA Cup. Bradford who enjoyed a famous FA Cup win over Chelsea, will be no doubt be not fearing any team – after beating the best team in England at the moment.

Sunderland who beat Fulham in the last round through a replay, like Bradford have been to a cup final in recent years and will not fear anyone – but this challenge for the Black Cats is different as this is a game the Premiership will be expected to win.

Bradford Team News

Bradford who last time out defeated League One high flyers will be looking for the same kind of battling spirit here. The Bantams who started the influential Billy Clarke in the win over Mk Dons could have the 27 year old in the starting line up for this match as well.On loan Sunderland goal keeper Jordan Pickford is unavailable because of the loan agreement with parent club Sunderland.

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson has no fresh injury worries for this one. Mark Yates who also scored in that famous FA Cup win over the Blues is available .

Sunderland Team News

The Black Cats who suffered the embarrassment of being the first home side to lose to QPR in the Premier League have a few injuries to worry about. Former skipper Lee Catermole (Knee) and Emanuelle Giacherrini (Ankle) both miss out – but former Everton and Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell is available again after serving a suspension and having a groin injury.

Apart from that the Premier League side are at all full strength and will be looking to likes Jermaine Defoe and Adam Johnson to inspire them to an FA Cup win here.

Our Verdict

In a competition filled with shocks – calling this game would be very difficult. I very confidently predicted a 2-0 win for Chelsea in the previous round – but I was proven wrong. This match although there is a case of Bradford being two divisions lower, I don’t think that would make a difference.

Bradford throughout this tournament and in League One this year have played with a lot of spirit. The win against Chelsea and Mk Dons a promotion rival, shows this team know how to raise their game for the big occasion.

That fact has also concerned Sunderland boss Gus Poyet who ‘offered’ to have this FA Cup tie moved to Sunderland’s Stadium Of Light, which maybe suggest Poyet is worried about his team getting knocked out by a lower league opposition. The outspoken Black Cats manager also suggested that his players should ‘pass the ball forwards’ otherwise they ‘won’t be picked’ .

Mind games you might think – but Gus if it is an attempt of mind games, leave it to the experts (Jose Mouriniho). The Black Cats who enjoyed a good cup run in last years League Cup will not be under as much pressure here – but a ‘favourable draw’ so far might add a bit more pressure now considering some of the big teams who have already exited the competition.

Players like Jermaine Defoe and Adam Johnson will be key for Sunderland – but I don’t see the toughness around the rest of the squad that’s needed for a game like this. The black Cats have been embarrassed 8-0 this year by Southampton – and the defensive fragility was the main reason for that.

It could be argued that the Premier League side have got better defensively since that defeat – but with the intense atmosphere of Valley Parade and the fact that Bradford beat the best team in the land this year (Chelsea) , the Black Cats will have far from an easy ride at Valley Parade.

The match it self I think will be full of goals – but Bradford will come out on top here.

Bradford 3-2 Sunderland

O’Connor Is Bradford’s Bantams Menace As Port Vale Battle Back To Salvage A Point

Michael O'Connor secures last gasp equlaliser for Port Vale, which dents Bradford's promotion push.

Michael O’Connor secures last gasp equaliser for Port Vale, which dents Bradford’s promotion push.

Michael O’Connor scored one and set up the other to help snatch a point for Port Vale in an entertaining game against playoff chasing Bradford.

Port Vale came into this game with an outside chance of the playoffs themselves – but having played more games than their rivals around them, that looks like it’s not going to happen for this season.

The home side came into this one no doubt looking for a win. The Valliants although just three points behind visitors Bradford, are only seven points away from the relegation places, so Vale will no doubt no doubt looking to avoid getting sucked into a unwanted relegation battle.

As far as Port Vale’s team was concerned, that was pretty much at full strength. Frenchman Achille Champion starts on the bench along with fellow signing Tommy O’Sullivan who was signed on loan from Cardiff.

Bradford who have hit the headlines in recent weeks after that superb FA Cup win over Chelsea, have struggled a little bit of late. Despite going on an impressive 10 game unbeaten run, the Bantams have suffered costly defeats at the hands of playoff rivals Rochdale and League Two strugglers Yeovil with in the last month or so.

Those defeats have seen the Yorkshire side slip to ninth position after being in fifth position at one stage, part of that has been due to Bradford’s impressive cup run. With the Bantams having a game in hand over some of their play off rivals, Bradford were looking to take advantage here and gain ground on the teams above them.

The visitors came into this game pretty much unchanged. Jordan Pickford who missed the famous FA Cup win over Chelsea due to not being grated permission by parent club Sunderland, starts in goal ahead of Ben William’s. Billy Clarke who had been so influential at the start of the season for Bradford, still isn’t ready to start after a long injury layoff – but does make the bench for this one.

In a game that was important to both sides, it was in fact the visitors who started the better. Bradford who famously went to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea in the FA Cup, were showing the confidence and the belief that they can be just as rampant here.

It was they who deservedly took the lead as well (Bradford). Filipe Morais who is having an excellent season, crossed into the box for James Hanson to open the scoring and the floodgates it looked at that point as well . The visitors who were well on top at that point failed to make their period of dominance count – and were made to pay dearly.

Port Vale managed to weather the Bradford storm, and went in at half-time just one goal down. Vale manager Robert Page introduced Frenchman Achille Champion who would make a telling contribution. Champion after coming as a second half substitute levelled for the home side with a well placed shot into the bottom left corner of Jordan Pickford’s goal, Michael O’Connor who would go on to save the game for the Valliants provided the assist.

Bradford after enjoying the better of the game would have been bitterly disappointed to have let their hosts back into this one. To rub further salt into the wounds James Hanson missed a great chance for Bradford to retake the lead as his header was easily saved Vale keeper Chris Neal. That disappointment how ever was to be short lived as Bradford did retake the lead through Filipe Morais. The 29 year old former Chelsea trainee scored from outside the box after being set up by James Meredith.

At this point the visitors must have been thinking that the game is surely – but the real drama was yet to come. Jordan Pickford who was sent off last month in the home defeat to Rochdale was to receive the same feat here. Bradford’s defence were playing a high line and were brutally exposed by a through ball which prompted visiting keeper Pickford to bring down Vale’s Greg Luer in the penalty area.

The referee was left with no other option – but to send off the Bradford keeper and reward Port Vale a last minute spot kick . The Bantams needing a keeper to face that spot kick were forced to bring on Ben Williams at the expense of Mark Yeates, sadly though one of Williams’ first touches was to pick the ball out of his net. The former Manchester United keeper was unable to save Michael O’Connor’s effort.

That penalty was to be the last action of a truly entertaining game – but for Bradford they will be no doubt thinking what could have been.

A draw does neither side many favours. Port Vale are 14th in the table and four points off the play positions – but the Valliants have played at least two games more than the sides above them. As for Bradford this draw sees them in ninth place. This result although it wasn’t a defeat isn’t ideal especially with extremely difficult games against Swindon and Mk Dons to come.