Bradford triumph to earn Wembley return in play-off final

The Bantams see off Burton Albion despite first-leg defeat to reach their second Wembley final this season

Bradford will return to Wembley later this month after overturning a first-leg deficit to beat Burton in the npower League Two play-off semi-finals.

The Capital One Cup finalists, 3-2 down from Thursday's game at Valley Parade, recorded their first ever win at the Pirelli Stadium courtesy of Nahki Wells' double either side of James Hanson's goal.

Jacques Maghoma levelled up the tie from the penalty spot but Burton could not get themselves back on terms again after Wells had struck his 25th goal of the season - and his fifth against Albion this campaign.

Burton started brightly and Maghoma created an opening for himself after just 24 seconds.

The former Tottenham trainee showed good feet to turn on the edge of the box but his left-foot shot went wide.

Shortly afterwards Alex MacDonald's long throw into the penalty area found Calvin Zola who rolled Andrew Davies and got a shot away, but the two-goal hero from Valley Parade fired into the side-netting.

MacDonald then saw his far-post header from Damien McCrory's left-wing cross blocked just in front of the line by a wall of Bradford defenders.

It was from another Burton attack that the visitors opened the scoring after 27 minutes.

Jon McLaughlin made a routine save from McCrory's free-kick and quickly distributed the ball to James Meredith, who knocked it long.

Albion centre-half Marcus Holness tried to head back to his goalkeeper but did not get enough on it and Wells nipped in to poke past the onrushing Stuart Tomlinson from inside the box.

Wells thought he had won a penalty shortly afterwards when he was flattened by Holness. Referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot but to Burton's relief the offside flag had already been raised and after consulting with his assistant Scott changed his decision.

The opening dozen minutes of the second half saw the tie swing one way and then the next.

Hanson put Bradford ahead on aggregate for the first time after 50 minutes.

Wells' persistence enabled him to poke the ball into the path of Hanson and the big striker drilled a right-foot shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net from 20 yards out.

However, five minutes later the hosts levelled up the tie.

Maghoma turned Garry Thompson out on the left touchline and powered towards the penalty area with the Bantams midfielder in tow.

Thompson made a last-ditch challenge which referee Scott adjudged to be inside the box and Maghoma got up to score from the spot.

But Burton were level for only two minutes.

McLaughlin's long punt forward was headed down by Hanson and Wells spun his marker to flick a left-foot shot past Tomlinson from six yards out.

Immediately at the other end, McLaughlin preserved Bradford's advantage with a save to deny Robbie Weir.

And the Bantams keeper kept his side ahead again nine minutes from time, blocking substitute Billy Kee's point-blank header with his chest.

Hanson could have settled it late on but fired way over the crossbar.

Bradford had to survive some late Burton pressure but they did and they will return to Wembley for the final on May 18 where they will play either Cheltenham or Northampton, who play the second leg of their semi-final this evening.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen