Bradford Collapse in Extra Time as Exeter Put Three Past the Bantams

Bradford conceded three goals and received a red card during extra time after their FA Cup first round replay finished 0-0 after 90 minutes. To add to the Bantams woes, a number of key first team players picked up injuries during the extra time period, with both Levi Sutton and Paudie O’Connor having to be substituted.

In an even first half with few chances, it was Bradford who had the first opportunity on goal. With just five minutes played, Matty Foulds whipped a cross into Exeter’s penalty area. The ball was headed down to Charles Vernam, who managed to strike the ball goalward with his left foot, but his effort flew over the bar.

After this early chance for the Bantams, there wasn’t another goalscoring opportunity until the 41st minute. City won a free kick 30 yards out, which Elliot Watt stepped up to take. Watt strook the ball sweetly, and with Exeter ‘keeper Cameron Dawson scrambling across goal, Watt saw his shot whistle inches past the far post.

Almost immediately after, Exeter created the best opening of the half. Josh Coley played a great cross into Bradford’s penalty area, which found Owura Edwards unmarked at the back post. Edwards headed the ball goalward, but his header was tame, and Richard O’Donnell was able to save comfortably, when he should have been tested more.

Following the half time interval, the game was just as even as in the first half. However, in the 54th minute, Bradford created their best opportunity of the game so far. Charles Vernam played a great through ball to Levi Sutton, who beat Exeter’s off side trap to find himself one-on-one with Dawson. Sutton looked to place the ball through Dawson’s legs, but the Sheffield Wednesday loanee managed to get down well to prevent a goal.

Then, until injury time, both sides cancelled each other out, with neither side being able to create any clear goalscoring opportunities. Although, Bradford created two good chances in the space of the 93rd minute.

First, Lee Angol picked up the ball inside the area, and drove towards goal. Angol fired an effort goalward from a tight angle, which Dawson was able to save, but Exeter failed to clear. Gareth Evans claimed control of the ball on the edge of Exeter’s area and played a pass to Elliot Watt.  Watt struck the ball beautifully, with his effort beating Dawson in Exeter’s goal, but it crashed against the bar and out for a goal kick.

Watt’s effort would have almost certainly won it for the Bantams, but instead, the game went to extra time. Ten minutes into extra time, the home side went ahead. Following a poor free kick from City, Exeter were able to counter, and in a four on one situation, Exeter skipper Matt Jay fired convincingly past Richard O’Donnell.

Soon after, Exeter doubled their lead. Jake Caprice managed to cross the ball in from the right-hand side, which evaded all of the Bradford defenders in the box, and found Nigel Atangana, who scored one of the simplest goals of his career.

Things only got worse for the Bantams, as Lee Angol was sent off for a second bookable offence. During the second half of extra time, it was evident that Exeter had a man extra, with many of the Bradford players struggling with fatigue.

With five minutes left, Exeter killed the game off completely. Matt Jay received the ball inside the area, and despite being pressured by two Bradford defenders, managed to fire the ball off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.

Despite an even contest during the first 90 minutes of the tie, Bradford were comfortably beaten in the end, following a very disappointing display in extra time. There has been much controversy since the game finished however. Exeter City made more substitutions than permitted, and as a result, the tie must be replayed. This decision has angered Bradford CEO, Ryan Sparks, and fans alike, as it feels like it is Bradford being punished more than Exeter. There is no right to an appeal, therefore Bradford will have to make the near 600-mile round trip on November 30th, for the third time this season.

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