That’s all can be said about Bradford City since our last blog, when we talked about the potential FA Cup ‘banana skin’ against Halifax. And it’s all about one game, the result of which any football fan could only have missed if they had been hiking in outer-Mongolia!
The Magic Of The FA Cup
Let’s put the League One campaign to one side for a moment and concentrate on the Bantams hitting the headlines again with more giant killing heroics.
Since their momentous route to the Capital One Cup Final in 2013, the only highlight in 12 months of knockout football was a fantastic derby day victory against Leeds in the same competition, which we talked about last time round.
They rediscovered their Cup pedigree in sensational style, though, topping the victories against the Premier League’s Arsenal and Aston Villa over 12 months ago.
After the Halifax ‘banana skin’ was stepped over, the next two rounds of the FA Cup brought a comfortable 4-1 victory against non-league Dartford and a great 4-0 win against Championship Millwall at Valley Parade after a 3-3 goal-fest at the New Den, Billy Knott grabbing three goals across both games against the Lions.
Then the fourth round draw threw up possibly the best tie City fans could have hoped for – away to Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leading Chelsea!
A great day out in the capital. A first visit to Stamford Bridge for many.
Maybe even keep it close and get a draw to take it back to Valley Parade? Not a chance.
4-2. Yes, 4-2……to Bradford. Away to Chelsea. Jeff Stelling’s reaction on Sky’s Soccer Saturday said it all.
Chelsea were 2-0 up after 38 minutes and appeared to be cruising but a great John Stead strike late in the first half gave City a glimmer of hope.
Then the supposed ‘impossible’ happened and Mourinho’s pre-match comment that it ‘would be a disgrace’ to lose to the team 49 places below them in the League came back to haunt him.
One time Chelsea squad player, Filipe Morais, netted the equaliser in the 75th minute and even the arrival of Spanish international Cesc Fabregas and Belgian sensation Eden Hazard into the game in quick succession either side of this couldn’t kill the Bantam’s momentum. Halliday got their third in the 82nd minute and Mark Yeates confirmed the shock result with a close range strike from Stead’s back-heeled pass in the 90thsending the 6,000 City fans behind that goal into delirium!
City’s reward is a fifth round tie at home to Sunderland on Sunday 15th February. Can they upset yet another Premier League team??!
Meanwhile, the bread and butter of the League wasn’t going too badly before the cup run.
A six game unbeaten run (two draw and four victories) saw the Valley Parade men climb eight places to fifth in the League One table by the end of the festive period.
Some, however, might blame a cup hangover for their winless league form since, with two draws and two defeats meaning they now sit in ninth place as I write this with a tough February ahead, including that Sunderland game. Let’s hope they can maintain their focus on a potential play-off spot.
Why Do We Write About Bradford City?
Provident is a Bradford based company with its roots in the City since 1880 and is one of the biggest employers in the district.
We sponsor Bradford City’s Community Enclosure and our Good Neighbour programme helps to fund a discounted tickets to schools scheme through the Bradford City Community Foundation, enabling kids who wouldn’t normally be able to afford to go to a football match to watch the Bantams.