Filipe Morais

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.

Chelsea Vs Bradford City Fourth Round FA Cup Match Report

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson masterminded yet another Premier League scalp, this time it was Premier League leaders Chelsea in one of the greatest shocks of FA Cup history.

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson masterminded yet another Premier League scalp, this time it was Premier League leaders Chelsea who lost 4-2 to at Stamford Bridge in one of the greatest shocks of FA Cup history.

Bradford City produced one of the all time shocks of the FA Cup as they dumped out Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after being 2-0 down.

Chelsea who were looking for glory domestically and in Europe, rested several of their normal first team squad- but on paper you still would have backed the Blues to win this one.

The West Londoners had Petr Cech in goal and also gave only a second start Andreas Christensson who was playing at right back, Diego Costa who I talked up before the game, was left out all together. Chelsea did though however have Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard on the bench, maybe the Blues had one eye on this weeks second leg semi final against Liverpool.

As for the visitors Bradford they were at full strength, well they fielded the best team they had available. Billy Clarke who has been a key player for The Bantams this year, returned to the squad after a six game lay off- but the 27 year old started on the bench for this one.

At the start of this game there was 49 places separating the two sides – but it was Bradford who arguably had the better of the opening exchanges against their Premier League counterparts. Bradford centre back Andrew Davies forced Chelsea keeper Petr Cech into a fine save.

Bradford who many were expecting to offer their main threat from set pieces, conceded from a set piece themselves. Chelsea midfielder Oscar delivered the corner which centre back Gary Cahill converted to give the Premier League side the lead.

The League One side at this point might have been fearing the worst against their Premier League hosts. It deed indeed get worse for Bradford, Mohammed Salah, a player who benefited from Jose Mouriniho’s decision to rotate his squad. The former Basel player who is expected to leave Chelsea, provided the ball for Ramires to convert to make the score 2-0 and put the game out of Bradford’s reach – or so we thought.

Bantams striker John Stead scored a couple minutes after Chelsea’s second goal with a powerful strike from the edge of the box which left Chelsea keeper Petr Cech with no chance. A great time for Bradford to score, the League One visitors were only one goal behind at the break.

Buoyed by grabbing a late first half goal, it was Bradford who started the second half the better. The visitors despite being two leagues lower than their hosts, were not overawed – and were asking questions of the league leaders.

Sensing that the League One side were getting more confident, Blues boss Mourinho looked to some of his big guns in an attempt to regain control of the match. Mohammed Salah was replaced by Brazilian Willian as Jose Mourinho was looking to kill this game off as a contest.

An injury to Jon Obi Mikel forced the Chelsea boss to bring on Cesc Fabregas as well. With the introduction of the former Barcelona midfielder, many would have seen such a substitution as a plus, due to Fabregas’ brilliant passing ability and calming influence – which was definitely needed.

Ironically Bradford grabbed an equaliser, and were daring to dream of an FA Cup replay. Former Chelsea player Filipe Morais who left Chelsea as a teenager, grabbed the equaliser with a right footed shot in to to the bottom right hand corner.

The former Porto manager Mourinho probably couldn’t believe what was unfolding out on the pitch in front of him. Bradford were starting to defend deeper were ushered forward by their manager Phil Parkinson. Eden Hazard came on for The Blues as they tried to avoid an FA Cup replay, which is the last thing you want to see as Bradford player. With pace to burn and with plenty of ‘trickery’ Chelsea were hoping Hazard could be the man to save them from FA Cup embarrassment.

Bradford who hadn’t made any substitutions, at this point would have been understandably tired. The West Yorkshire side battled hard and were well worthy of the replay for their sheer endeavour alone. The Bantams made their first substitution 10 minutes from the end, the change inadvertently paid dividends as Bradford went in front!

Jon Stead who scored the first goal, this time turned provider for Andy Halliday who smashed an unstoppable effort into to the top right corner to send the 6,000 Bradford fans behind Petr Cech’s goal into raptures!

The League One side, who would have been content with an FA Cup replay before the start of the game, were on the brink of a famous FA Cup – and another ‘giant killing’ . Chelsea from not wanting a replay, were now desperately searching for the equaliser which would have saw this game go to a replay at Valley Parade.

As Chelsea were pushing forward, they left themselves open to the counter attack – and that’s what duly happened. Mark Yeates who came on as a sub, placed his effort into the bottom right corner to kill of this FA Cup tie once and for all with a fourth.

This defeat was only the second at home for Jose Mourinho, an impressive feat for Bradford City. It’s onwards and upwards from here on in for the mighty Bantams! Who will no doubt fear no one in the fifth round of the FA Cup.