Bradford City 4 v 1 Dartford (FA Cup 2nd Round)
Bradford City welcomed non-league Dartford Football Club of the Vanarama Conference to the Coral Windows Stadium for the FA Cup second round match.
The part timers made a fantastic gesture by presenting the Bantams with a Dartford shirt made of flowers and a club scarf as a mark of respect to the fifty-six people who lost their lives at Valley Parade thirty years ago.
Phil Parkinson made two changes to the side that beat Leyton Orient in Sky Bet League One the previous week with Ben Williams and Filipe Morais coming in for Jordan Pickford and Andrew Halliday.
Dartford had the first shot of the afternoon after just four minutes following a free-kick from their own half that was flicked on by Tom Bradbrook. Danny Harris collected the ball but his toe-poke effort from just inside the area went narrowly wide of Ben Williams near post.
On ten minutes, City take the lead when Jon Stead sends a low ball across the six yard box to Billy Clarke, his first effort struck the left-hand post before rolling across the goal for Clarke to tap the ball in to the net next to the right-hand post.
Two minutes later, Jon Stead then flicked the ball forward into the path of Billy Clarke, who side-stepped Mitchel-King before dragging a low drive from just outside the area wide of Brown’s goal.
On eighteen minutes, Filipe Morais teasing cross into the middle of the area is met by Billy Clarke, but the striker’s first time volley from six yard whistled narrowly over Brown’s bar.
Billy Knott’s floated cross towards the far post is headed back by Billy Clarke into the path of Jon Stead, but the striker’s goal-bound effort from the edge of the box is kicked off the line by a well-placed Elliot Bradbrook.
On twenty-four minutes, a quick one-two between Jon Stead and Filipe Morais allows Stead to get a shot in on goal but his angled effort from close range is blocked by his near post by Elliot Bradbrook.
City extended their lead on thirty-one minutes following an excellent low cut back cross from Mark Yeates, the ball made it’s way to Jon Stead who stretched out a leg and placed the ball into the corner of Brown’s goal to make it 2-0.
Five minutes before half-time, Billy Clarke sends a cross into the middle which finds Filipe Morais, who himself lays the ball off to Billy Knott on the edge of the box, but his shot at goal, not for the first time is well blocked by Elliot Bradbrook.
On the stroke of half-time Andrew Davies should have extended City’s lead further following a Mark Yeates corner, but Davies header was cleared off the line by Sweeney to give City a 2-0 half-time lead.
In the opening minute of the second half, Billy Knott robbed Sweeney of the ball just wide of the Dartford penalty area, before feeding Clarke just outside the six yard box. Clarke then fired a shot at goal with his favoured left foot, but his effort flashed wide of Brown’s near post.
Filipe Morais increased Bradford’s lead on fifty-eight minutes when he picked up a loose ball just outside the area, before firing in a fierce drive which took a slight deflection off Collier on its way through into the back of Jason Brown’s net.
A minute later Mark Yeates added City’s fourth goal when he cut inside from a wide position on the left wing before curling a right-footed effort into the far corner past a helpless Brown from just inside the area.
On sixty-four minutes, Dartford pulled a goal back when McAuley sent a low ball into the City area that just evaded Rory McArdle before finding Lee Noble, who flicked the ball past Ben Williams with a back-heel that went in off the far post.
Jon Stead then went close following a flicked pass from Billy Clarke, Steads volley went narrowly wide of Jason Brown’s far corner with an effort from just inside the area.
On seventy-three minutes as City struggle to clear a free-kick delivered from deep, Noble latches onto a loose ball just outside the area, before firing a rising drive that Williams had to turn around the post with a smart reflex save.
City’s final effort of the game came on seventy-eight minutes when Jon Stead’s cut-back from the byline finds the run of Gary Liddle in the middle, but the midfielder’s powerful strike for goal from around twelve yards was blocked by the diving frame of Mitchel-King.
Speaking after the match manager Phil Parkinson said, “We approached the game in the right manner, if you look around the country today some of the non-league teams have done well and the games have been tight.
No disrespect to Dartford, but we knew we had better players in our side and we knew that if we played properly and moved the ball well, we’d create chances, and that’s what we did.
It is good to be in the hat, it really is, this is only the second time in eleven years that we’ve been in the third round draw and a club like Bradford City needs to be in this draw really.
A lot of the talk before this game was about how big this match was for Dartford but it was an important game for us as well. It is great for us to be in the draw now and the lads are delighted to be in hat.
Bradford City – Williams, Darby, Meredith, McArdle, Davies, Liddle, Knott, Morais, Yeates, Stead, Clarke (Subs) Urwin, Sheehan, Kennedy, Hanson, Halliday, Zoko, Routis
Dartford – Brown, E.Bradbrook, McAuley, Mitchell-King, Hayes, Cornhill, Sweeney, Collier, Noble, Harris, T.Bradbrook (Subs) Bender, Daley, Tarbuck, Ibrahim, Dembele, Vint
Goals – (Bradford) Clarke (10), Stead (31), Morais (58), Yeates (59) (Dartford) Noble (64)
Attendance – 5,373