Bradford City 3 - 1 Aston Villa

Match info: League Cup - Semi at Coral Windows Stadium

Date: 08/01/2013 KO: 19:45 Ref: H Webb Att: 22,245

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Bradford

Nahki Wells 19
Rory McArdle 77
Carl McHugh 88

3
vs
1

A Villa

Andreas Weimann 82

FT (ht: 1-0)

  • Last Updated: January 9 2013, 11:35 GMT

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson did his best to put a lid on expectation but claimed his side's 3-1 Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg win over Aston Villa at Valley Parade topped their triumph over Arsenal in the previous round.

Parkinson: Win was best yet

Parkinson's npower League Two side performed more cup heroics in front of another full house to claim a third win against Barclays Premier League opposition in the competition and give themselves a real chance of fulfilling a sensational Wembley dream.

Leading scorer Nahki Wells seized on a rebound to dispatch his 16th goal of the season in the 19th minute and, after a string of missed Villa chances and excellent saves from Bradford keeper Matt Duke, defender Rory McArdle punished Villa with a thumping 77th-minute header.

Bradford almost put the tie to bed moments later when striker James Hanson's header hit the crossbar.

Villa looked to have thrown themselves a lifeline when striker Andreas Weimann bravely turned home Christian Benteke's flick-on in the 82nd minute, but Carl McHugh sent Bradford fans into dreamland two minutes from time when heading a third goal for Parkinson's side from another pinpoint cross from skipper Gary Jones.

But Parkinson refused to be swept away by the occasion, saying: "It was important we got the message across to the lads at the end of the game and equally be respectful to Villa because in two weeks' time we've got to go down to Villa Park and do it all again.

"We're absolutely delighted with the way we played, obviously, because from the first minute to the last the lads were tremendous tonight. But equally we know we're only halfway there, we've got a very difficult job in a fortnight's time."

Bradford sent Wigan packing in the fourth round and claimed a famous penalty shootout win over Arsenal in front of a sold-out Valley Parade the quarter-finals, but this was their best yet according to their manager.

Parkinson added: "Against Arsenal it was a great night for us but I think the all-round performance tonight (was better), because Villa played a very attacking team and we had to defend well and equally they left a lot of space on the pitch for us to play.

"Our quality players had to stay composed on the ball and they certainly did that."

Parkinson, whose contract expires at the end of the season, will head for talks over a new deal with joint chairmen Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn later this week.

"Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later, not just for myself but my staff as well," said Parkinson.

"We want to tie up our good players on long-term deals and add to what we've already got and the sooner my future and the rest of the staff is sorted out we'll be able to do that.

"But that's not the talking point tonight. That's about how well the lads have done."

Wells conceded his side are now favourites to reach the final, but would prefer it if they remained as the underdogs.

"We may well be the favourites now, but we want to be the underdogs," he told Sky Sports 1.

"To get this far is great but we now want to make sure we get through.

"We showed our quality and that we can compete with Premier League teams. We were resilient, it was a tough match and we showed what we are capable of. To have a two-goal cushion is great.

"We would have taken a draw but 2-1, 3-1 is amazing. It's a good deficit to take with us to the away tie."

Goalkeeper Duke said: "It shows the team spirit we have.

"We've all put a shift in, credit to the boys in front of me, we caused them problems, scored three goals and we can go to Villa Park with a lead.

"We are playing a class team and we need to be on our game.

"It's a cliche but it's half a job and we have a bigger task ahead."

Nineteen-year-old defender McHugh was facing his footballing idol, Villa keeper Shay Given, and was delighted to have scored past him.

Like Given, McHugh hails from the Republic of Ireland and he said: "It's all a bit of a blur. It's unbelievable to score against him, with us coming from the same part of Ireland.

"I have watched him play in World Cups for Ireland and it's a dream come true.

"I was determined to make sure we got the two-goal lead. I didn't care how I got my head on it."

McArdle admitted to being in a state of shock at what had happened.

"It's not quite sunk in, it's similar to the Arsenal game, emotions are here, there and everywhere," he said.

"It's going to be a tough test ahead but we've more than done well enough to build a platform and if we can do that in the second leg, we won't be far away."

Villa manager Paul Lambert, whose side have won only one of their last seven league matches, was disappointed with his young players' defending but insisted the tie was far from over.

"At any level of football, you can't defend set-plays like that and expect to win games of football," Lambert said.

"But we're still in the tie, absolutely. It will be a different game at Villa Park. We had lots of chances to score and we never took them, but it's only half-time.

"It will be a totally different game at Villa Park, but when chances come our way we have to take them.

"But you've got to give Bradford credit, they defended resolutely and their goalkeeper made some good saves."


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