Bradford City 2 v 0 Sunderland (FA Cup 5th Round)
After beating Chelsea in the fourth round there was a sell out crowd at the Coral Windows Stadium for the visit of Premier League Sunderland, as the Bradford supporters looked for another cup shock in the FA Cup fifth round.
The cup shock started as early as the third minute following an excellent free kick from Filipe Morais, the ball fell to Billy Clarke who shot from the left hand side of the area, his effort hit John O’Shea before flying passed Mannone into the net to give City a 1-0 lead.
On seven minutes both sides went temporarily down to ten men as Danny Graham and Rory McArdle clashed heads. Danny Graham went down the tunnel for stitches whilst Rory McArdle is bandaged at the side of the pitch.
Bradford went close to extending their lead on sixteen minutes, when James Meredith’s near post cross was flicked across goal by the head of Jon Stead, narrowly missing a diving Hanson in the six yard box.
On seventeen minutes, Steven Fletcher played in Adam Johnson with a sight of goal deep inside City’s penalty area, but the attacker’s first strike from a tight angle is blocked by a diving Rory McArdle tackle before the ball was gathered by Ben Williams.
A minute later Steven Fletcher should have drawn Sunderland level, when a Sebastian Larsson deflected drive dropped at the feet of Fletcher deep inside the City area. As Fletcher steadied himself to fire past Williams from six yards, Rory McArdle made a superb recover tackle to nip the ball off his toes.
Seb Larsson then went close following an excellent pass from Adam Johnson, but his drive on the half-volley from just outside the box took a slight deflection and went over Ben Williams’ crossbar.
On thirty-nine minutes Ricardo Alvarez plays the ball across the area to van Aanholt, who sees his goal-bound shot take a little deflection on its way through to Ben Williams.
Just before half-time, Adam Johnson takes aim with a free-kick from just outside the box but his direct effort for goal goes over Ben Williams’ crossbar to give City a 1-0 half-time lead.
At the start of the second half Bradford continued to control the game, winning all of the headers and second balls. The first real effort of the half came just before the hour mark when Ben Williams had to make a couple of brave punches to repel a Larsson corner and then a Johnson delivery back into the box.
City then double their lead on sixty-two minutes following a poor attempted clearance by Adam Johnson, who could only find James Hanson on the edge of Sunderland box. Hanson’s header forward towards strike-partner Jon Stead who took a touch before firing in a strike that squirms under the body of Mannone and over the line, to make it 2-0 City.
City then had three efforts at the Sunderland goal in four minutes, the first fell to Billy Knott from just outside the box but the midfielder’s rising drive is straight at Mannone.
The second fell to Jon Stead after James Meredith had once again put pressure on Johnson and Mannone, but the strikers shot on the turn flew over the Sunderland crossbar.
The third effort again fell to Stead following an excellent pass from James Hanson, but the forward’s low angled drive from just outside the box trickled just wide of Mannone’s goal as the keeper dived to his right.
On seventy-five minutes, Rory McArdle had to receive further treatment on his head wound, forcing him off the pitch for a few minutes which left City down to ten men, but Gary Liddle covered at centre-half.
Billy Knott then went close with a direct free-kick from around twenty-five yards, but his effort went just over the Sunderland crossbar.
Conor Wickham had the final effort on goal, but his header went over Ben Williams crossbar without troubling the City goalkeeper, to give Bradford at 2-0 victory and yet another giant killing cup performance.
Speaking after the match manager Phil Parkinson said, “From the very first minute today, we played with great determination, great endeavour and we were the first to every ball, we played with a real ‘underdog’ mentality.
We got off to a great start with the early goal and then proceeded to make it as difficult an afternoon as we could for Sunderland. You have to do that in cup ties, especially when there is such a gulf in class between the two sides.
The second goal gives us that breathing space and we managed to kill off the game really well in the later stages. We’ve had a fantastic record against Premier League clubs and today is another terrific occasion for our fans to enjoy.
The atmosphere around the ground was amazing the boys were really reveling in it. We’d like another home draw the way the atmosphere was today, I’d love the opportunity for the players to sample that again.
It would be great for the people of Bradford as well, any draw at this stage would be a good draw for us but to get a tie at home would mean another great day. We know we are one game away from Wembley now and it is going to take some playing down.
We have a game on Wednesday at Leyton Orient and we know our focus must quickly move towards that. Having said that, this run is great for everyone connected with the football club. We are all enjoying every minute of it.”
Bradford City – Williams, Darby, Meredith, McArdle, Davies, Liddle, Knott, Morais, Clarke, Stead, Hanson (Subs) Urwin, Yeates, MacKenzie, Zoko, Halliday, Routis, Sheehan
Sunderland – Mannone, Jones, Van Aanholt, O’Shea, Brown, Bridcutt, Larsson, Johnson, Alvarez, Fletcher, Graham (Subs) Pantilimon, Wickham, Gomez, Coates, Vergini, Agnew, Honeyman
Goals – (Bradford City) O’Shea (3)og Stead (61)
Attendance – 24,021