Bradford failed to take advantage of being at home in this FA Cup quarter final tie as Reading left Valley Parade still with in a shout of an FA Cup semi final as this one ended all square at 0-0, which means this match will have to be replayed on Monday 16th March.
The hosts just like in the other FA Cup ties, had to call on former Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Williams as Sunderland loanee Jordan Pickford hasn’t been given the approval to play by parent club Sunderland. Gary Liddle also returns for the home side after serving a ban.
As for the visitors Reading, they were pretty much as full strength as strikers Hal Robson Kanu and Pavel Probgrebnyak both started for the Royals.
With the incentive of a Wembley day out at stake, both sides were rather tentative as both sides resorted to long balls on a very difficult pitch, the playing surface was something which Sunderland manager Gus Poyet also publicly pointed in the build to their match against Bradford.
Although they are a side who are strong and physical, Bradford aren’t afraid to ‘put the ball down and play’. This game however the Bantams faced a different challenge, as the pitch was difficult to play and also home side were seen by some as the favourites for the tie despite being a league below Reading.
Wins against Chelsea and then Sunderland was only going to increase expectation on Bradford and they nearly fell behind in the first half. Russian striker Probgrebnyak latched on to a Jamie Mackie cross – but could only hit the post with a right footed shot.
Rattled by that, Bradford looked to take advantage of their reprieve and hit the woodwork themselves. The returning Gary Liddle who has had to sit out the last few games due to suspension, saw his speculative cross creep past Royal’s keeper Adam Federici – but thankfully for the away side Liddle’s effort hit the post.
Buoyed by hitting the post, Bradford came out the stronger in what turned out to be an overall tight affair. The home side will be slightly disappointed of not taking advantage of some good situations.
Andrew Davies saw his headed effort go over the bar and Scott Hanson’s side footed effort flashed agonisingly wide. Those missed chances nearly proved costly as an Oliver Norwood free kick was floated into the box – but a combination of the woodwork and some last ditch defending kept Bradford’s clean sheet intact.
This one finished all square. Reading will be the happier of the two sides as they have the advantage of playing at home next – but Bradford you feel won’t be phased by that. The West Yorkshire side have played with out fear and this what makes this cup tie so finally balanced.