Derek Adams’s side missed a number of opportunities to secure their place in the second round of the FA Cup, before Sam Nombe’s late equaliser set up a replay on November 16th. The Bantams could probably do without the extra game, as they are already suffering from injuries to key first team players, but they will be happy to still be in the hat for the next round nonetheless.
Despite Bradford having the better chances across the 90 minutes, it was Exeter who almost took the lead 15 minutes into the game. After beating Matty Foulds, Exeter’s Jake Caprice played a cross-shot into the area, which almost caught out Richard O’Donnell at his far post, who needed a second attempt to claim control of the ball.
Just minutes later, the Bantams missed their first big opportunity of the afternoon. After keeping the ball alive well, a good headed pass by Matty Foulds found Theo Robinson in the Exeter penalty area. Robinson attempted a half volley which rattled against the cross bar and went out for a goal-kick.
However, seven minutes after hitting the cross bar, Robinson made no mistake and put the home side ahead. Charles Vernam played a magnificent ball from inside his own half, which split through the Exeter defence, which found Robinson one-on-one with Cameron Dawson. Robinson kept his cool, and slotted the ball under Dawson to give his side the lead.
Bradford remained on the front foot for the rest of the first half, but were unable to double their lead before half time.
At the beginning of the second half, City kept up the pressure, and it took less than ten minutes to carve out their first big opportunity of the half. After a quick free kick, Theo Robinson fizzed the ball across the face of goal, but Alex Gilliead was unable to get onto the end of the cross, which would have certainly led to a second for the home side.
Soon after, Levi Sutton almost scored a goal of the season contender. After Elliot Watt’s corner was headed clear, the ball fell to Sutton, who strook the ball on the volley. The ball went through all of the players in the box, and hit the post, with Exeter ‘keeper Dawson rooted to the spot.
In their next attack, Bradford thought they had doubled their lead. After some brilliant footwork, Charles Vernam cut inside and strook a sweet shot goalward which rippled the side netting, but the City fans were already cheering, thinking that the ball had hit the back of the net.
With little over ten minutes remaining, Bradford missed a guilt-edge opportunity to put the tie to bed. The returning Lee Angol sent a great cross to the back post which found Oscar Threlkeld, whose effort was somehow kept out by Cameron Dawson, despite only being two yards out.
Bradford kept on pushing for a second, and with five minutes left missed an even bigger chance. Elliot Watt was denied superbly by Dawson, and the ball fell to Threlkeld again, who this time put the ball wide of the target from almost the same spot as his first chance.
This time, City were made to pay for these missed chances. From the resulting goal kick, the ball found Josh Key who managed to beat two Bradford defenders, before playing a low cross into the area. The cross found Sam Nombe, who slotted home easily to draw the visitor’s level.
With very little time to respond, City were unable to create any more goalscoring opportunities, and the game finished level. The draw means Bradford have to make the long trip to the south-west for a replay on November 16th, but both sides remain in the hat for the second round draw, which takes place tomorrow evening.