The Bantams lost out in the first round of the EFL Cup following a marathon penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of League Two outfit Accrington Stanley. City dominated proceeding for large periods as they did during the weekend’s draw against Port Vale but were left rueing missed opportunities once again. Stuart McCall's men created a number of chances throughout the tie but Accrington, who missed a penalty early in extra time and saw goalkeeper Elliot Parish sent off in the latter stages of second period, eventually sealed victory by coming out on top in a penalty shoot-out.
Some sharp play early in the game between Jordy Hiwula and Paul Anderson allowed Nicky Law a shooting opportunity, his attempt from 20 yards was dealt with quite comfortably by Parish. Former Manchester United midfielder Chris Eagles looked sharp for the home side and his first effort on goal came from distance and it stung the palms of Colin Doyle.
Hiwula was making his first start of the season for City and he was one of the stand-out performers for McCall’s side; he received the ball off Anderson after a neat dummy by Hanson and he went through on goal before being denied by a superb fingertip save by Parish.
Shortly afterwards, Billy Clarke then saw an effort in a promising position turned behind for a corner kick. From the following set-piece, Nathaniel Knight-Percival blazed over the bar from only a few yards out when the ball dropped invitingly into his path deep inside the box.
Law missed from a similar position just minutes later when he fired over the bar from a few yards out after Hiwula’s cross had made its way into his path. Before the half was out, the impressive Hiwula engineered a chance for himself, going on a lung-busting counter attacking run before running through and seeing his shot saved brilliant by Parish; Stanley’s best player in the first half by some distance.
Hiwula was unlucky early in the second half when he turned the ball wide at the near post after connecting with McMahon’s cross before Eagles repeatedly tried his luck from distance, and not quite doing enough to get the better of Doyle.
Just after the hour mark, Jordan Clark saw a bit of brilliance come inches away from opening the scoring; James Hanson could only head Eagles’ free kick into the box half clear and Clarke controlled superbly before seeing a volley from 20 yards out clip the top of the bar with Doyle at full stretch.
Hiwula was at the heart of things once again and he ran directly at the Accrington back line before creating a shooting opportunity for substitute Filipe Morais on the overlap but he saw a shot saved saved by Parish.
Parish denied fellow City substitute Mark Marshall shortly afterwards with another good stop but the goalkeeper was given his marching later in the half to ruin a promising evening for the shot-stopper.
Accrington were recuced down to ten men with just over fifteen minutes of normal time remaining when Parish brought down McMahon just outside the box as the defender burst through on goal.
With six minutes of the ninety remaining, the imposing stopper was called into action when he tipped Marshall’s shot onto the post after Omar Beckles could only head McMahon’s testing cross into the path of the winger, who came on to produce another lively display.
Marshall was certainly in the thick of the action following his introduction from the substitutes' bench late on, and he could have netted late on in normal time. The winger volleyed over the bar from close range after latching onto Morais’ testing cross.
Accrington had the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot early on in extra time when Romain Vincelot was penalised for pulling Mark Hughes to ground as he looked to attack a corner into the box. John O’Sullivan stepped up to take the spot kick but Doyle guessed the right way and held onto the tamely struck effort.
In the second half of extra time, Vincelot smashed a shot against the outside of the post after Daniel Devine’s effort was scrambled clear in the goalmouth.
To penalties it went, and the spot kicks in the main were impeccable. Law spurned a chance to win the shoot-out when he fired over the bar and it allowed Stanley back into the shoot-out. The two sides went toe to toe before Reece Webb-Foster saw his second attempt in the shoot-out go over the bar; Clark then stepped up to send the home side into the next round of the EFL Cup.