Parkinson's game plan is wrecked by Michu and Hernandez

 

Wembley Stadium

Bradford City did not try to make Swansea City look good. They came to compete rather than entertain, to stay in the Capital One Cup final for as long as they could given the obvious gulf in class between the two teams. The 5-0 score does justice to that margin but no one could accuse Bradford of being casual, open or over-awed. They dug in for as long as they could, before they were over-run.

To accuse Bradford of lacking in ambition is to rather miss the point. Of course, Phil Parkinson, their manager, was desperate to win and that meant, for as much of the game as possible, to minimise the Bantams' chances of losing.

If Bradford could just have kept this game at 0-0 or even 1-0 to Swansea for longer, there was always a chance. If Swansea made an error as Arsenal did in the quarter-final or, if they could succeed with set-pieces as they did against Aston Villa, then they could well have done something special.

So Parkinson tried as hard as he could to make his Bradford difficult to beat. They were arranged in a deep, tight, compact 4-4-2, trying to allow Swansea as little space to break into as possible. The players went about their tasks as well as they could.

Gary Jones, a player of impressive tactical nous and patience, tried to cut off Swansea's intricate midfield trigonometry alongside the hard-working Nathan Doyle.

Bradford's back four tried to stay as close together as possible, knowing that Michu's movement could exploit the smallest of gaps. This worked fairly well at the start, although the left-back Curtis Good was isolated at times when Wayne Routledge moved out to join Nathan Dyer on the right-hand side.

To the surprise of no one, Swansea dominated possession but Bradford were happy enough to sit back and restrict their scoring opportunities.

The hope was that Nakhi Wells and James Hanson would cause problems up front and some of the long balls thrown up towards them might, with some more luck, have troubled Swansea's back four.

Wells did, at least, take up some promising positions in Swansea's half, darting and scurrying in the hope that something would break his way. It did not, and it was after the first moment that some of Wells' Bradford team-mates tried to help him, after a promising Garry Thompson cross, that Swansea opened the scoring.

It only took a few Bradford players to follow Wells up field, a rare excursion on the vast Wembley turf, for Swansea to pounce.

With more space to run into than he had before, Routledge burst through the middle and found Michu, whose shot was saved by Matt Duke but straight into the path of Dyer, who finished at the far post.

But 1-0 is a salvageable situation – one stolen goal and they could still have made extra-time, theoretically – and so Bradford did not change their approach. If anything Swansea's first taught that Bradford should not be too open, as their first attack brought their opponents' first goal.

The players continued to hold their positions, to stick close together, to hold their space and to try to keep it at 1-0.

It did not make for thrilling football, although Bradford were not obliged to provide anything for our entertainment other than their best efforts.

The fans did not have many specific thrills to cheer, judging by the noise when Ki Sung-Yeung was booked for fouling Wells, gifting Bradford a rare free-kick in Swansea's half. Had Bradford got to half-time it might have been different, but Swansea's quality was just far too much for them.

Bradford's last game was a 2-1 defeat by AFC Wimbledon, then the bottom side in the Football League and they are not too used to facing players like Pablo Hernandez or Michu. They had no answer in the first half's dying minutes when Hernandez slipped a perfect pass through Jones' legs to Michu, who stabbed an instant shot through Carl McHugh's legs and into the bottom corner.

With a 2-0 deficit the second half was a rather different place. Swansea, playing with a quality and fluency only bettered by a few sides in the country, were just too good for Bradford. They started to find spaces and angles they previously could not and Bradford's willing players did not have the capacity to stop them.

The third, fourth and fifth goals came from brisk and precise football and, when Bradford were down to 10 men after Duke's dismissal, there was even less they could do to stop it.

It was not, in truth, an even contest and when Jones had Bradford's first shot on target – a final-minute slow roller straight to Gerhard Tremmel – their fans celebrated with genuine pride. There were other reasons for them to enjoy the afternoon beyond the football itself.

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits