The magic of the FA Cup was truly alive as Evo-Stik League (Northern Premier League) Premier Division side Bradford Park Avenue upset the odds to dump high flying Blue Square Bet North (Conference North) side Hyde FC out of the competition at Ewen Fields. With just seconds to go it was substitute Tom Greaves who pounced to send his side through to the 2011-12 English FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying.
From the off it was Bradford who showed they were really up for the tie with their great determination and solid passing game as they drove forward with several attacks. With midfield dictating much of the play early on it wasn’t until the 21st minute that the first real opportunity of the match arrived through Bradford’s Rob O’Brien. The midfielder who was playing in an unfamiliar role on the right hand side ran in at goal to connect with Richard Marshall’s pass and struck a firm attempt but keeper David Carnell was well placed to make an easy save. Hyde did have their chances although with Pakistan international Amjad Iqbal back in the team alongside James Riley they marshaled the defence well to keep them at bay. Their best chances were a Scott Spencer free kick which was charged down by the Bradford defence and a dangerous ball in the box that James Riley headed clear.
When Martin Drury went down in heap following a heavy challenge he had everyone fearing the worst but the Bradford physio worked her magic and he was soon up and running again. As half time approached Marshall bared down on goal after beating right back Joel Richardson but his low strike failed to cause the keeper any problems.
After the break the home side endured a spell of pressure but were undone when substitute Chris Worsley mas dismissed following his second booking only fifteen minutes into the half. Forwards Matthew Berkerley and Scott Spencer were both wasteful for Hyde when they spurned good opportunities to open the scoring inside the first ten minutes. Berkerley miscued his effort and the ball sailed over the cross bar and Spencer shot straight at John Lamb. Left back Griffin did try his luck from distance but Lamb was equal to the attempt. It was after this that Worsley received his marching orders when the referee gave him a second yellow after a foul on Iqbal. This spurred Bradford on as they started to take control of the game. With Nicky Boshell coming on for new signing Jimmy Beadle it was the wing man who almost created the goal. His deep cross from the right found Marshall lurking at the far post but somehow he failed to find the target and headed the ball wide of the post.
As the game began to look like it was going to a replay the Bradford boss introduced Billy Law into the game and the young forward nearly bagged the winner. He rounded the Hyde keeper and looked odds on to score however his shot lacked power and Adam Griffin was on the line to clear the ball to safety. The last throw of the dice was made in the 87th minute which saw Tom Greaves on for Marshall and the current supporters player of the year collected the rebound after Law had shot at Carnell and smashed the ball into the empty net to put his side through and send the visiting crowd into scenes of jubilation.
With the draw for the fourth qualifying round taking place on Monday, Bradford fans will be eagerly awaiting a possible plum tie against a Conference side.
David Carnell, Joel Richardson (Mike Aspin 76), Adam Griffin, Gianluca Harvern, Danny Hall, Dave Birch, Adam Birchall (Chris Worsley 46), Callum Byrne, Matthew Berkerley, Scot Spencer (Danny Broadbent 69), Ryan Crowther
Subs Not Used: Tunji Moses, Nathan Martin, Will Jones
Bradford Park Avenue:
John Lamb, Adam Clayton, Martin Drury, Rob O’Brien (Billy Law 82), Amjad Iqbal, James Riley, Ross Daly, Nathan Hotte, Richard Marshall (Tom Greaves 87), Jimmy Beadle (Nicky Boshell 69), Aiden Savory
Subs Not Used: Jordan Deacey, Matty Plummer, Michael Duckworth, Alex Noteman
Goalscorer: Tom Greaves 90