WATFORD OVERCAME a plucky Bradford City side to progress to the F.A Cup 4th round thanks to a Craig Forsyth brace.
The Scottish winger bagged two on his first-team return after Troy Deeney had opened the scoring early on. James Hanson leveled before Marvin Sordell sent the ‘Orns into half-time ahead. Nahki Wells got a late consolation for the Bantams to reduce the deficit.
Sean Dyche was without Michael Kightly who returned to Wolves following the end of his loan spell whilst Scott Loach was suspended. In came Jonathan Bond for his professional debut, whilst Forsyth returned in Kightly’s place. Lloyd Doyley made his 350th Hornet’s appearance in place of Lee Hodson. Prince Buaben was rested with John Eustace coming into midfield and Nyron Nosworthy made the final appearance of his loan spell.
Watford started quickly with Deeney nodding home Marvin Sordell’s inch-perfect left-footed cross after just three minutes.
Phil Parkinson’s Bantams were not going to roll over and die though, and that was made clear just five minutes later.
Following an almight goal-mouth scramble, Hanson slide in at the first post to divert the ball behind the stranded Bond and level for the League Two outfit.
With the visitor’s tails up, the ‘Orns failed to stamp their superiority on the game which quickly descended into a scrappy midfield battle.
Deeney saw another good headed opportunity prevented when he flicked on a cross only for Jon McLaughlin to claim. John Eustace also went close when he thumped a left-footed volley toward the near-post but the skipper was ruled offside.
Dyche’s side eventually re-took the lead five minutes before half-time when Sordell went on a mazy run inside the Bantams penalty area before slotting past McLaughlin from an acute angle.
Forsyth was unlucky not to open his account for the afternoon immediately after the break, flashing a header wide from Mark Yeates’ right-wing centre.
Eleven minutes into the second period Forsyth did give the Hornets a two-goal cushion from close-range. Following a right-wing cross, Yeates pulled the ball back into the six-yard boss where Forsyth side-footed home.
Just three minutes after snatching his first, the Scot had his second of the afternoon with a spectacular effort.
As Watford broke through Eustace, the winger scampered forward, latching onto a delicious through-ball before drilling a low half-volley under McLaughlin from outside the area.
Comfortably ahead Watford looked to have added a fifth when Yeates hooked a left-footed beauty into the top-corner from distance. The winger was ruled offside after substitute Chris Iwelumo fluffed his volley.
A minute from time, City got one back when Wells was somehow left unmarked to nudge past Bond from close-range. The Welsh stopper got a hand to the forward’s effort which looked suspiciously offside.
In the end Watford squeaked through with Bradford seeing another effort ruled out for offside at the death.
A good result and a reasonable performance to match. A good exercise for a number of players who had been out the first-team picture of late – Eustace, Doyley & Forsyth mainly.
Also good to see young Bond and Tom James make their professional debuts for the club.
Bradford City: McLaughlin; Davies, Seip, Oliver, Threlfall; Jones (Bullock), Taylor, Ravenhill (Dean), Fagan (c); Wells & Hanson (Hannah).
Jonathan Bond – 6
Came for a couple of balls he was never going to reach and fluffed one kick. Other than that, perfectly solid and never tested between the goals which he could do nothing about.
Lloyd Doyley – 6
Looked comfortable on his return bar one traditional mis-cued slice into the Lower Rous.
Aidy Mariappa – 6
Untested and unflustered.
Nyron Nosworthy – 6
Carl Dickinson – 6
Mark Yeates – 7
Looked dangerous and scored a peach which he was unlucky to see ruled out.
John Eustace (c) – 7
Good assist and controlled the midfield. Set for a re-call against Reading?
Jonathan Hogg – 6
Not as imperious as recent weeks but solid nonetheless.
Craig Forsyth – 7
Two well taken goals and looked dangerous. Surely in line to return against the Royals?
Marvin Sordell – 7
Marv-elous run for his goal & and assist for Deeney’s.
Troy Deeney – 7
As hard working as ever – a goal thoroughly deserved.
Chris Iwelumo (for Sordell) – 5
Joe Garner (for Deeney) – 6
One run and shot. Desperately needs some regular game time.
Took a while to get his first touch but neat and tidy from there on in.
Sean Dyche – Respected the integrity of the competition by naming a strong team but shuffled his pack where required. His side didn’t look as fluent as recent weeks but Bradford made it hard at times.
Phil Parkinson – His side looked to hit James Hanson frequently and rarely got the ball down. However they did not lack fight and frustrated the ‘Orns at times.