Chelsea vs Bradford City – From the Archives


Undoubtedly one of the biggest shocks in the FA Cup’s recent history and one of Jose Mourinho’s most embarrassing days as a manager.

On this edition of From the Archives, we look back at one the greatest games, ever seen in the 4th round of the FA Cup. On this day exactly five years ago, Bradford City produced a masterclass of a performance at Stamford Bridge.

So a bit of background information to this one. Bradford under their manager Phil Parkinson was in League one and was pushing for a place in the play-offs. Just two years beforehand they had reached the final of the League Cup. The Bantams had to overcome Millwall 4-0 in a 3rd round replay.

Chelsea, on the other hand, were managed by a Jose Mourinho, who was at the peak of his powers. Coaching a side which graced the likes of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Diego Costa and club legends, John Terry, Petr Cech and Didier Drogba. They were top of the Premier League with many whispering the possibility of a quadruple.

Of course, the majority of people would have expected Chelsea to turnover the West Yorkshire side when this tie was drawn.

So onto the match itself, and the Blues went for a side which included veterans, Cech and Drogba, Gary Cahill and even Mo Salah. While the Bantams included ex Blackburn and Sunderland forward Jon Stead, former Liverpool full-back Stephen Darby, and Chelsea youngster Felipe Morais.

Regardless of Bradford’s experienced heads, they struggled to compete with the qualities that their opponents possessed. And just after 21 minutes, they were behind. A corner from the Brazillian, Oscar, resulted in the ball being flicked past the near post by Gary Cahill.

Drogba was a great servant to Chelsea football and is most likely to be remembered for his winning spot-kick in the 2012 European Cup Final. Although approaching 37, still showed in he had great technique. The Ivorian turned away from two of Bradford’s and took a shot from the edge of the area, but his curling effort was saved by Bantams’ Keeper Ben Williams.

Jon Stead scored to give Bradford City hope – Credit – The FA

With seven minutes before the break, Ramires dispossessed a Bradford man and drove the ball forward. He played a one-two with Salah and calmly placed it in the bottom right corner of Williams’ net.

2-0 Chelsea and it looked like they were heading for Round five. But what happened next was truly remarkable.

Just three minutes after Chelsea’s second, Bradford won a free-kick in a dangerous area. Morais played in and eventually made its way to Jon Stead who rifled it past Petr Cech, making it 2-1. Bradford was back in the game.

With 15 minutes to go, Bradford had a throw-in. James Meredith long throw was flicked on by target man James Hanson and reached midfielder Billy Knott, but was denied by Cech. But it reached Morias who slotted it into an empty net. The former Chelsea youngster had put his current side back on level terms.

Then with eight minutes left, the League One side went in front. Morais cross fell to Jon Stead, who teed up Andy Halliday who curled it into the top corner.

Chelsea had two great chances to equalise but Drogba and Zouma were unable to convert their chances.

But four minutes into stoppage time the comeback was complete. Mark Yeates played the ball to Stead who returned the ball to Yeates. He put his chance away to make it 4-2 Bradford. Securing a place in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup and ultimately secured one of the biggest cup upsets of the 21st Century.

The Bantams would go on to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals where they were beaten by Reading in a replay.

Chelsea however would go on to win the League Cup and became Premier League Champions that May.  Mourinho was sacked as Chelsea Manager in the following December, after a poor start to the 2015/16 campaign,


About Author

Comments are closed.