On a day that will be remembered by many at Bradford (Park Avenue), the Blue Square Bet North side were knocked out by Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup with Budweiser at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The Avenue have reached the First Round in successive seasons, and were unbeaten in their previous five league games. For the game against the League One side, John Deacey decided to start with Matty James as a lone striker, and Jordan Deacey was recalled to the starting line up, meaning Danny Holland dropped to the bench.
Within the first five minutes, the home side had the first opportunity. A poor first touch from Rob O’Brien allowed Iain Hume to gain possession, but, the striker was fouled by James Knowles. However, the resulting free kick was struck over the bar from Paul Keegan from 25 yards.
Nonetheless, the visitors produced an attack of their own. After good work from Martin Drury and Paul Walker, the left winger swung a teasing cross into the box, but, Richard Marshall was unable to connect with his head from eight yards.
Once again, the Avenue looked dangerous on the left wing. Bradford’s midfielder Richard Marshall escaped the attention of Sammy Clingan, and fed Paul Walker, only for his low cross to be cleared by the Rovers defence.
The Blue Square Bet North outfit continued to cause the opposition defence problems. The Avenue striker Matty James dispossessed Tommy Spurr on the edge of the penalty area, and his back heel found Alex Davidson, who spotted Paul Walker. However, the winger struck a low effort from 16 yards which deflected wide of the post.
However, the home side came close to taking the lead, midway through the first half. The Rovers’ midfielder Martin Woods flicked the ball into the path of Billy Paynter, but, the striker’s shot was deflected wide from 20 yards.
A minute later, the Avenue replied with a chance of their own. Again, the ball drifted to the left wing, and Paul Walker turned inside Doncaster’s right back Andy Griffin, and fired a powerful effort from the edge of the box into the hands of Gary Woods.
But, it was the League One side who took the lead after 27 minutes. A break from Paul Keegan allowed his side to push forward, and Keegan found Iain Hume, who delivered an angled ball to Martin Woods, and the left winger found the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Shortly after, Dean Saunders’ men nearly doubled their advantage. Doncaster’s goalscorer Martin Woods tackled Paul Walker, and struck a low left footed shot from 20 yards, only for the ball to skim wide of Tim Deasy’s far post.
After 35 minutes, the home side scored their second goal. The Rovers’ striker Billy Paynter dribbled the ball past Nathan Hotte, with the number eight picking out Iain Hume in the penalty area, and the Canadian directed a fine side-footed shot into the bottom corner.
HALF TIME: DONCASTER ROVERS 2-0 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
After the break, the Avenue got a shot on target. Bradford’s Paul Walker spotted the unmarked Richard Marshall in the centre of the pitch, and the midfielder struck a powerful effort from 25 yards, which was pushed away by Gary Woods.
However, the home side were denied their third goal of the afternoon by Bradford goalkeeper Tim Deasy. A free kick was flicked into the feet of Martin Woods, and his left footed strike stung the palms of the Avenue stopper.
The moment the travelling fans were waiting for happened after 55 minutes, as the Avenue scored. A long diagonal ball from Michael Duckworth found Paul Walker, who tapped the ball to substitute Danny Holland. Bradford’s number 14 flicked the ball to Richard Marshall, who struck a wonderful left footed effort from 20 yards into the top corner.
With the Avenue supporters in full voice, Doncaster Rovers were unfortunate not to score from a set piece. A fine delivery bounced inside the area, and both, Chris Brown and Rob Jones failed to get their head on the ball.
The home side continued to threaten the Avenue goal. Despite the desperate effort of James Knowles, Iain Hume controlled the ball, but, blasted a right footed shot over the bar from 25 yards.
On the other hand, the non league side were looking to grab an equaliser. The Avenue’s Alex Davidson played a through ball to substitute Tom Greaves, only for the striker to fire a shot wide of the post from 20 yards.
A minute later, Bradford’s defender James Knowles came to the rescue for his side. The Rovers’ substitute Robbie Blake dribbled the ball around Michael Duckworth, but, with Chris Brown about to head the ball, Knowles cleared off the line.
From the resulting corner, the home side scored the crucial third goal. A floated delivery by Paul Keegan was met by Chris Brown, and despite a fingertip from Tim Deasy, the ball found the top corner.
John Deacey was dealt a blow, as Tim Deasy limped off, to be replaced by Ben Higginson. The Avenue’s second choice goalkeeper was called into action, as he dived low to push James Husband’s low drive wide of the post.
With seconds remaining, the Avenue were looking to get on the scoresheet again. Bradford’s right winger Alex Davidson sprinted with the ball, and unleashed a right footed effort which found the empty stand behind the goal from 25 yards.
FULL TIME: DONCASTER ROVERS 3-1 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
Doncaster Rovers: Woods, Griffin, Husband, Jones (c), Spurr, Syers (Blake 42), Keegan, Ma.Woods, Clingan, Hume (Mi.Woods 88), Paynter (Brown 56).
Subs not used: Harper, Quinn, Sullivan
Scorers: Woods (27), Hume (36), Brown (75)
Bradford (Park Avenue): Deasy (Higginson 82), Duckworth, Drury, Marshall, Knowles (c), Hotte, Davidson, O’Brien (Holland 54), James (Greaves 70), Deacey, Walker.
Subs not used: Jackson, Radcliffe, Daly, Hume.
Scorers: Marshall (55)
Booking: Drury, Hotte