10-man United knocked out at Valley Parade...
BRADFORD 2 (Knott 85, Hanson 86), UNITED 1 (Smith 82).
Bradford: Williams, Darby, McArdle, Sheehan, Meredith, Liddle, Knott (Dolan 97), Kennedy, Clarke, Mclean (McBurnie 70), Hanson. Subs. Urwin, Yeates, Shariff, Routis, Morais.
United: Taylor, Wootton, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock, Tonge, Murphy, Bianchi, Norris (Poleon 89), Smith, Sharp. Subs. Silvestri, C Taylor, Cook, Antenucci, Ajose, Benedicic.
Referee: G Scott.
Booked: Murphy, Cooper (United).
Sent off: Murphy (United).
United head coach David Hockaday made five changes from the side beaten 4-1 at Watford as Scott Wootton and Liam Cooper replaced suspended duo Sam Byram and Giuseppe Bellusci in defence, while David Norris started his first game in over a year in place of Rodolph Austin. Elsewhere, Matt Smith returned in attack and Stuart Taylor maintained his League Cup place from the first round win over Accrington Stanley.
Backed by a vociferous away following, United started brightly and had the first glimpses of goal as Smith twice headed wide before Stephen Warnock came inches away from an early opener with a soaring strike.
The hosts did begin to threaten as Billy Clarke’s volley cannoned off Jason Pearce before Stuart Taylor was forced into action to tip Jason Kennedy’s goal-bound cross behind for a corner from underneath his crossbar. Bradford’s best chance then came on 17 minutes as Aaron McLean saw a stooping header bounce wide from former United full-back Alan Sheehan’s free-kick.
Billy Sharp almost wriggled free inside the area before Smith could only find the arms of Ben Williams with his header, but United’s hopes were dealt a major blow on the 29th minute as Luke Murphy, who was carded early on for a challenge on Gary Liddle, received his marching orders after bringing down James Meredith.
With the one-man advantage, the hosts began to grow in confidence without truly testing Taylor as the United defence stood firm to keep out a flurry of crosses into the box. Phil Parkinson's side continued to press and their best chance of the opening half came seconds before the break with Kennedy lashing a volley into the side-netting following James Hanson's flick-on, but the score remained deadlocked at half-time.
Meredith was causing problems down United’s right and he carved an opening for Bradford’s best chance of the game on 51 minutes with a surging run down the touchline. His pin-point cross found Kennedy arriving at the back post, only for the midfielder to divert a scuffed effort wide from inside the area.
Despite their disadvantage in personnel, United remained compact in midfield during the early stages of the second half with Michael Tonge operating in slightly deeper role after the interval.
Taylor was forced into action on 67 minutes, though, with a superb near-post save to deny Clarke after McLean had thread him through on goal. Pearce was then on hand to hack the ball clear off the line before Taylor comfortably clutched onto Billy Knott’s strike following more Bradford pressure.
United were standing firm and their resilience was rewarded with eight minutes remaining on the clock following a swift break. Norris was found out wide on the right and he floated a cross into the area for Smith to send a towering header past Williams and spark pandemonium among the travelling fans.
However, the lead proved to be short-lived as, just three minutes later, Knott drilled an unstoppable 20-yard strike beyond Taylor after a corner was cleared into his path. Bradford then notched a quick-fire second through a Hanson header from Kennedy’s left-wing cross.
Nine minutes of stoppage time was added on as Leeds threw everything forward in pursuit of a last-gasp equaliser. Substitute Dominic Poleon, who replaced Norris for the visitors, immediately caused problems inside the Bradford area but was unable to bring the ball down under the close watch of Williams.
Smith headed a free-kick over the bar with seconds remaining on the clock and it proved to be the final chance for United who were edged out of the Capital One Cup by their West Yorkshire rivals.