Jake Verity looks at Bradford City’s greatest day as they overturned a defeat into a spectacular 4-2 win against Chelsea. All photography courtesy of Thomas Gadd Photography.
BRADFORD CITY IN BIGGEST FA CUP SHOCK OF ALL TIME!
Mass Euphoria. That’s a simple term to define the Shed End when Jon Stead found the top corner.
Utter bliss. Morais hammers it home to equalise, the game is 2-2 and the fans are rapturous.
Disbelief. Andy Halliday curls a delicate right footed shot towards the top corner. 3-2 against the best team in England.
Empty stadium. Well, aside from the 6,000 Bradford fans in complete jubilation as Mark Yeates and Jon Stead combine to create a goal worthy of a Champions League victory, let alone the 4th round of the FA Cup.
It all began with a mass exodus of Bradfordians ready to make the trip to the delightfully upmarket area of Fulham known as Chelsea. With Stamford Bridge in sight, you could hardly forgive a fan’s optimism but this was not the first evidence of the belief behind our players. Service stations along the motorway were conquered by a whirlwind of Claret and Amber. Scarf sellers lined outside the services, coaches pulling up by the dozen, the FA Cup fourth round was really a reality and at this point it began to dawn that we had made it this far.
Arriving in Chelsea showed just how far we have come, from 6 years ago a 3-3 draw against Luton Town and mid table mediocrity in League 2, to beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, it simply just hadn’t sunk in for most.
The occasion was evidently fantastic, every street corner turned a Bantam awaited. Every step into the ground you took, a phone out taking photos of what was going to be a special day.
The fans? How can we even explain ourselves, our passion and pride for our beloved who we have seen drop through all four divisions, administration, managerial merry-go-rounds, players have come in and players have left, we almost dropped out of the football league and now, in these times of nothing but joy, we deserve this.
Phil Parkinson is the special one. Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Wigan, Leeds. All conquered. There is no man who could of transformed us like himself, on an incredibly low budget with limited resources, he galvanised an average squad in 2012 and turned them into a brilliant side. With a league cup final came promotion. This year, he took a good side to Stamford Bridge and provided the entire country with the biggest football surprise of all time. In modern football this is unheard of, but we are experiencing it.
So, the game?
Chelsea were clearly a class above at the start and it took some getting used to from our defence. The sheer pace of Salah and Remy was tough to deal with whilst Drogba’s power alongside Oscar’s panache made for a deadly duo.
The travelling away contingent thought we had taken the lead but for a marvellous piece of goalkeeping from Petr Cech. Davies’ header from Morais’ corner rocketed towards the top corner but the experienced goalkeeper was equal to it with a marvellous acrobat save to palm the ball away.
When Chelsea came forward with more and more intent, the questions were constantly being asked of our back four who showed nothing but resilience in the second half.
After Darby cleared his lines after Azpilicueta attacked, Oscar’s delivery from the resulting corner lead to a second attempt but make no mistake, Chelsea capitalised on their second corner in a row and it was meant by an incredibly skilful volley from defender Gary Cahill. Ben Williams was helpless as the ball flew into the top corner and set the Blues up for a 1-0 lead. It was to be expected given the circumstances but yet the team who were sixth in League One were clearly not happy.
Drogba continued to make a nuisance of himself, forcing a wonderful save from Ben Williams to deny him on the turn. The pantomime villain for the away fans as his consistent performances diving were not to earn himself plaudits.
Filipe Morais’ attempts to launch an attack saw him dispossessed by Ramires and the Brazilian was to clinically convert his neat one-two pass with Salah to slot a left footed effort into the bottom corner.
At this point you would have been forgiven for expected a demolition from the Blues but as Morais swung in a cross, it worked its way towards Billy Knott who cut it back to Jon Stead. Stead unleashed a thunderbolt to the top corner which Cech was helpless to preventing the goal. The belief was back in the Bradfordians who went into half time with only a one-goal deficit.
Bradford were constantly asking questions promoting the introduction of Willian and Fabregas to the pitch despite Chelsea having a slender advantage. A throw from Meredith saw a flick on from Hanson land at Knott’s feet, who was to be denied by a great reaction save from Cech, yet Morais slotted into the empty goal with no trouble. 2-2 and the game was back on.
Eden Hazard was the next to arrive and he was trying to use his international experience to effect which provided no goal for the Belgian. Drogba’s effort was saved by Williams and Hazard’s whipped cross met no target.
Goalscorer Stead turned provider and Morais found him in the box and his fantastic hold up play saw him bring new permanent signing Andy Halliday into play from the edge of the box who curled a sumptuous effort into the top corner on his weak right foot. Unbelievable scenes were unfolding and records were being broken.
Late on before the hellish 7 minutes of injury time, Ramires picked out Zouma who thrashed a shot wildly over the bar.
To sum up, chairman Mark Lawn quoted “The fourth goal, wait until you see the fourth goal. You would have thought we were Chelsea”.
Irishman Mark Yeates the late substitute was then to compile Mourinho’s misery with arguably the goal of the round. His delicate flick to the feet of Stead saw the on-loan striker calmly play Yeates through, who finessed a shot into the far right corner past Cech with real panache to finish off one of the most sensational wins of the FA Cup in history.
It was full time and Chelsea 2-4 Bradford City.
• Bradford are the first team to score four goals past a Mourinho side at home.
• Bradford last beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 1912.
• Bradford were 49 league places below Chelsea.
• Chelsea have now failed to get to the fifth round of the Cup for only the second time in 17 years.
• Chelsea’s side was assembled for £200m, Bradford’s side was assembled for £7,500.
• Chelsea last conceded four goals to a third- tier team in January 1958.
• First Chelsea home defeat of the season.
Chelsea 59%, Bradford 41%
Chelsea 15 (6 on target), Bradford 8 (6 o/t)
Chelsea 9, Bradford 8
Chelsea 15, Bradford 10
Cech 2, Williams 4
Referee: Andre Marriner
BRADFORD PLAYER RATINGS
CHELSEA PLAYER RATINGS
Report by Jake Verity
Photography by Thomas Gadd