Bantams in ‘dreamland’ as Villa come up short

Aston Villa 2 Bradford City 1

Bantams in ‘dreamland’ as Villa come up short

The Bantams took a 3-1 lead into the second leg of their semi-final at Villa Park last night, where Christian Benteke reduced Villa’s deficit in the 24th minute.

Villa were well on top in the first half but James Hanson scored the vital goal on 55 minutes which meant Andreas Weimann’s 89th-minute strike only succeeded in setting up a tense finish.

“Coming here two goals up we had a great chance,” Parkinson said. “In the first half Villa were excellent but in the second I thought we were excellent and deserved it. We felt in the first half we didn’t pass the ball and in the second we got hold of the ball and had a period of possession. We knew Villa are an attacking team that would leave space for us.

“It’s dreamland. We said we had a chance to make history and it’s absolutely tremendous.”

Despite knocking out Wigan, Arsenal and now Villa, Parkinson was cautious when asked about the chances of his side lifting the trophy against Swansea or European champions Chelsea at Wembley.

“I think that’s going a bit far, but to get to Wembley is great for us,” he added.

Goalscoring hero Hanson was understandably jubilant after the victory although he thought Villa would pose a stronger challenge.

“I can’t believe it, it really hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said.

“The lads dug in in the first half and I thought we were going to have our backs to the wall tonight.

“But we were actually pretty comfortable in the second half and we held on well.”

Bradford goalkeeper Matt Duke will realise a “dream” of playing at Wembley. The 35-year-old made several telling saves across both legs of the semi-final to give the Bantams hope and he paid tribute to the side’s effort last night.

“I’m speechless. The lads had a fantastic game tonight and the fans as well, it’ll be a great day at Wembley for them,” he said.

“Everyone had a great game.

“At 3-1 up, if we scored we fancied out chances and we fancied ourselves from set-pieces.

“As a kid playing football, you dream of Wembley and we’re going to do it.

“We’re going to take a League Two club to Wembley, we’re going to take a massive following, it’s going to be an amazing day and I’m looking forward to it.”

Duke was still struggling to comprehend Bradford’s efforts as they became the first club from the lowest tier of English football to reach the League Cup final since Rochdale in 1962.

“I’ve still got to believe it. When we scored we had a chance,” he added.

“You could smell it in the dressing room before, could smell the chance.

“Full credit to the manager, the staff and everybody at the club.

“The fans came out in numbers to support us — it’s fantastic.”

While their was delight for Bradford, there was agony for Villa.

Manager Paul Lambert said: “I’m absolutely gutted. You couldn’t repeat what was said in the dressing room. Everyone was hurt.

“I’m every bit as hurt as the fans are. I know exactly how they feel.’’

ASTON VILLA: Given, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett (Weimann 70), Ireland, Delph, Bannan (Bent 62), N’Zogbia, Benteke, Agbonlahor.

BRADFORD: Duke, Darby, McHugh, McArdle, Good, Hines (Thompson 71), Gary Jones, Doyle, Atkinson, Hanson, Wells (Turgott 87).

Referee: Phil Dowd.

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