Bradford City 2 Sunderland 0 (Half-time 1-0)
After the euphoria of defeating Premier League title favourites Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the last round of the FA Cup, Bradford City were yet again in giant-killing mode, as they humbled another Premier League side at Valley Parade today. This time it was Sunderland who felt the force of the Yorkshire side's might, as they fell to a 2-0 loss to the Division One promotion hopefuls.
'The Bantams' seem to be enjoying the bright lights of the cup competitions, after reaching the final of the League Cup just two seasons ago, and demonstrated that their humbling of Chelsea was no fluke. Buoyed by their cup success no doubt, the home side welcomed their biggest crowd for over 50 years, as more than 24,000 people witnessed the spectacle. With the Bradford Bulls rugby league side not enjoying such happy times at present, the #Football team are getting more of their share of the limelight in the city.
They were ahead against 'The Black Cats' as early as the 3rd minute, when Irish international John O'Shea scored an own goal. Billy Clarke's shot deflected off O'Shea's right leg and past Vito Mannone in the Sunderland goal.
Jon Stead had been one of the star performers in the previous round and doubled City's advantage just after the hour mark, keeping his amazing record of scoring in each of the five rounds of the Cup so far intact as a consequence. He was assisted by James Hanson, who headed down for Stead to fire home his right-foot shot into the centre of the goal and under Mannone.
The home side continued to seek further goals thereafter, with Sunderland offering little threat in return, as they saw out the game safely.
Gus Poyet's side were just edged out in the possession stakes by the lower division team, with chances evenly shared between the two sides. Crucially, however, Bradford made their opportunities count on the day.
Sunderland fans were clearly not impressed by their team's efforts, as the sound of "you're getting sacked in the morning" was directed at manager Gus Poyet by the final whistle.
Phil Parkinson's side seem to be on something of a roll at the present, having recently beaten fellow promotion challengers MK Dons in the league at home. That victory had moved them into the play-off places temporarily, although subsequent results have edged them back to ninth in the table. The potential downside (if there is indeed one to the elation from a good cup run) could be a potential fixture pile-up between now and the end of the season, although winning their games in hand would push them back up the league again.
As it is, City can now harbour realistic hopes of returning to Wembley, as they require just one more victory to reach the semi-finals and have made it through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 1976. They and their supporters will be crossing their fingers come Monday night for a favourable (preferably at home one feels) draw. Although on this form, they seem to fear no one.