TOWN tumbled out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on penalties as Bradford scored another shoot-out success.
HUDDERSFIELD Town tumbled out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on penalties as Bradford City scored another shoot-out success.
That’s four on the spin in this competition for the Bantams, who were victorious over Sheffield Wednesday by the same method in the first round.
Everyone knows penalties can prove both sweet and sour, but what left a slightly bitter taste was that Town created enough chances to have won comfortably inside 90 minutes.
But it needed equalisers by Tommy Miller, ironically from the spot, and skipper Peter Clarke to cancel out an Antony Kay own goal and an Andrew Davies header.
It was a miserable night for Kay, a half-time replacement for injured Liam Cooper, because he was booked for giving away the free-kick which led to his 54th-minute slip-up (he could only head Chris Mitchell’s delivery into his own net), then put his shoot-out spot kick over the bar.
Miller was the other Town player to miss, with Matt Duke saving his well-struck effort having been beaten by the former Sheffield Wednesday man in the 63rd minute after Clarke was fouled by Guy Branston.
Branston’s fellow centre-back Luke Oliver put Bradford back ahead within a minute, heading home from Robbie Threlfall’s corner.
But Clarke came to Town’s rescue in the 71st minute, when he volleyed home after Miller returned a partially cleared corner from busy Danny Ward, the former Bradford junior who drilled in shot after shot, but couldn’t find as way past Duke until the shoot-out.
Lee Novak and Alan Lee were the other home men to count from 12 yards while Mark Stewart, Kyel Reid, Threlfall and Nialle Rodney, with the winning kick, netted for Bradford after Town old boy Michael Flynn had put their first effort over.
Both bosses rung the changes for the first meeting of the West Yorkshire rivals in three years which brought City their first win over Town in six attempts.
There were eight new faces in the home starting side after Saturday’s 4-0 League I win at Brentford, including keeper Nick Colgan, making only his second appearance for the club.
Gary Naysmith returned at right-back, with Liam Cooper, who stood in there at Griffin Park after Calum Woods went off injured, switching to central defence.
Oscar Gobern, Anton Robinson, Ward, Donal McDermott and Novak were the others to come in.
For League II Bradford, seeking only a third win of the season in all competitions, there were six switches.
Clarke began in eventful evening by going into referee Paul Tierney’s notebook just 90 seconds into the game for a late tackle on Ross Hannah.
The ex-Matlock man was still off the pitch receiving treatment when Ward fired in the first of two fierce drives in quick succession, each going narrowly wide.
Hannah, City’s joint-top scorer with four goals, lasted until the eighth minute before hobbling off to be replaced by Rodney.
Town were doing all the attacking early on, and Lee brought a smart save from Duke with a low drive in the 19th minute.
Meanwhile in true derby style, the tackles were flying in thick and fast, and Rodney followed his teammate Liam Moore in being cautioned, when he fouled Gobern two minutes later.
It seemed the Town man had taken a knock, for he came off in the 31st minute, with Miller his replacement.
It had been a quiet start to the game for Colgan, but he had to be smart to save Stewart’s header from Flynn’s cross after 33 minutes.
But it wasn’t long before Town were attacking again, and Duke, City’s close-season capture from Hull, parried a well-struck effort by Novak before Lee and Robinson both had shots blocked after Jack Hunt’s teasing cross stretched the City defence.
Novak’s 39th-minute shot from Lee’s lay-off was too powerful for Duke to hold, but the keeper got a strong connection to punch clear from the resultant corner delivered by Ward.
City’s Stewart made space for himself on the edge of the box in the 43rd minute, but Clarke produced a crucial sliding block, with the ball looping over the bar.
Ward brought another save from Duke, then Novak hooked the ball home from Lee’s nod-on, only to be pulled up for offside.
It had been a first half to hold the attention, but the real action was yet to start.