Bradford City 2 v 3 Burton Albion (NPower League 2 Play-Off 1st Leg)
Bradford City supporters answered the war cry of manager Phil Parkinson, when a record league two play-off semi final attendance of 14,657 arrived at Valley Parade to cheer on the Bantams.
Gary Thompson went close on six minutes, when he cut inside from a wide position after beating Damien McCrory, but his rising angled drive from inside the area was headed up and out for a corner by Burton defender Ian Sharps.
In the twenty second minute City were stunned as Burton took the lead. Jacques Maghoma sent over a cross from the Burton left flank and Calvin Zola was on hand to head home from five yards.
It took Burton just six minutes to extend their lead, when Calvin Zola turned away from Rory McArdle in the Bradford penalty area, before curling a delightful effort into the far corner of McLaughlin’s net.
Bradford started to come to life just after the half hour mark, when on 31 minutes Rory McArdle headed just wide following a Gary Jones free kick. Two minutes later a sliced clearance by John McGrath, fell to Nahki Wells who stretched to reach the ball, but his flicked effort for goal went wide.
The Bantams reduced the lead on 36 minutes, when Nahki Wells scored from the penalty spot following a hand ball by Burton’s Damien McCrory who was lucky not to see a red card.
Gary Jones then went close on 40 minutes with a 20 yard shot that went just wide following a James Hanson headed flick on. However on the stroke of half time Burton extended their lead again, when Alex MacDonald raced clear before crossing low for Robbie Weir to score from ten yards.
Bradford City started the second half much the stronger and on sixty-three minutes Nahki Wells latched onto a poor header back to Tomlinson from Zander Diamond. The Bermudian beat the goalkeeper to the loose ball and tried to knock the ball between Tomlinson’s legs, but the keeper made a vital block.
On 74 minutes, Gary Thompson let rip with a stunning strike from 20 yards which whistled past Tomlinson in the Burton goal before crashing into the roof of the net. Bradford will now travel to Burton Albion on Sunday one goal down with a place at Wembley at stake.
Bradford City – McLaughlin, Darby, Meredith, Nelson, McArdle, Thompson, Jones, Ravenhill, Atkinson, Hanson, Wells (Subs) Duke, Reid, McHugh, Connell, Gray, Hines, Doyle
Burton Albion – Tomlinson, Diamond, McGrath, Weir, Zola, McCrory, Maghoma, O’Connor, Holness, Sharps, MacDonald (Subs) Lyness, Webster, Phillips, Paterson, Drury, Kee, Symes
Goal – (Bradford City) Wells (38p), Thompson (74) (Burton) Zola (22,28), Weir (44)
Attendance – 14,657