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Pleased with the response

10 October 2012

City boss Phil Parkinson was pleased with his side's performance as well as their progression into the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area Quarter-Finals after the Bantams defeated League 1 Hartlepool United 3-2 on penalties in their second round encounter this Tuesday.

After a competitive yet goalless ninety minutes at Victoria Park, Jon McLaughlin proved to be the Bantams' match-winner, crucially tipping Evan Horwood's penalty onto the bar to seal City's shoot-out win.

The victory means Parkinson's men have now won all four of their cup ties so far this season following their three victories in the Capital One Cup earlier this campaign.

Parkinson, who made as many as five changes for the tie against Pools following the defeat at Dagenham on Saturday, admits he was boosted to see City bounce back in the right manner after their weekend loss.

The Bantams boss said: "I was really pleased (with the performance) because I felt it was important that we had a response from our defeat on Saturday."

"A lot of players who played tonight (at Hartlepool) and played on Saturday have been in good form before Dagenham, so it was important that they got back to that same sort of form they were showing before Dagenham.

"I thought Andrew Davies and Jon McLaughlin in particular were terrific.

"We also had some players out there that came in tonight looking to perform and keep their place in the side for the weekend.

"There seemed to be a good shape and look to the team tonight. We had some good chances in the game, especially in the second half, and we probably should have done better with those.

"It is important that if you don't score, however, that you are resilient at the back. We did that - I thought we were tremendous defensively."

Incredibly, City's victory from the spot this Tuesday was their SIXTH penalty shoot-out victory on the trot. 

The shoot-out didn't entirely going to plan though, with Garry Thompson missing the opening penalty and Andrew Davies squandering the chance to win it for City with his own spot-kick, but Parkinson revealed he always fancied his side's chances when the tie went to penalties.

Parkinson said: "I can't lie, I did feel confident when it went to penalties."

"Jon (McLaughlin) is a very agile 'keeper and we had a lot of strikers on the pitch come the end of the match. With the likes of Alan Connell, Nahki Wells and Nathan Doyle out there, I knew we had some good penalty takers.

"You know in these shoot-outs that there will be twists and turns. Even if you miss a couple of pens, you've still got a chance. 

"You just have to make sure that you stick in there, keep your head and keep your cool."

McLaughlin's decisive stop from Horwood came after Davies had seen his own potentially match-winning effort repelled by Hartlepool 'keeper Scott Flinders moments earlier. 

The celebrations didn't begin immediately following McLaughlin's save, however, with City seemingly unsure of progression at first.

McLaughlin's tip onto the bar from Horwood's spot-kick saw the ball bounce off the woodwork before dropping down on the goal-line. The City shot-stopper wasn't clear whether the ball had crossed the line or not, leading to a few seconds of confusion before the officials eventually confirmed to the Bantams camp that the tie was over.

Parkinson added: "We were waiting for the linesman to indicate that it hadn't cross the line or to at least make some signal. He didn't though, so everyone was waiting."

"It was a terrific save though, and we didn't have too long to wait for the officials to confirm everything."

One of the handful of alterations made by Parkinson saw Ritchie Jones given his first outing of the season following the midfielder's injuries problems during the summer and early part of the season.

Jones managed to get 69 minutes under his belt before being replaced by Doyle.

Parkinson said: "It's been a long wait for Ritchie so I am pleased for him to get out there.

"He's been fit and training well for a bit now but we haven't been able to arrange a reserve game for him to play in because of our recent run of midweek games.

"Given that it was his first run-out with the first team this season, it was a credit to his fitness and his professionalism that he was able to hold his own tonight."

Bantams Player subscribers can now watch the FULL post-match interview with Phil Parkinson by clicking HERE.

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