The Bantams were dumped out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the first round stage after suffering a comprehensive defeat at the hands of League 2 Hartlepool United.
Already deservedly one goal up at the break following an opener from the impressive Luke James, Hartlepool scored three times in eleven minutes after the restart to put the tie firmly beyond City’s much-changed side.
Jonathan Franks doubled Pools advantage three minutes into the second period before a header from Christian Burgess and a penalty from former Bantam Jack Compton left Phil Parkinson’s men truly stunned.
To complete a thoroughly miserable night for Parkinson’s side – and one City’s troops will surely look to forget as soon as possible – another City old boy, Nialle Rodney, made it five with three minutes of normal time remaining with a well-taken overhead kick.
Sadly for City, the scoreline didn't in any way flatter their League 2 opponents, who before this Tuesday's tie had only scored one goal all season and were yet to pick up a win.
The Bantams probably edged the opening proceedings, with Rory McArdle going close via with a glancing header from a corner, but the contest became a horribly one-sided affair virtually from the moment James nodded his side in the lead midway through the first period.
With City woefully out of sorts for the vast majority of this hugely disappointing tie, Pools, who are managed by former City assistant Colin Cooper, could have netted more than the five they managed to register.
Ricky Ravenhill, who fouled James for Hartlepool's penalty just before the hour mark, was earlier required to kick a effort from Ben Walker off his own goal-line.
Making his competitive City debut after penning a new loan extension this Monday, Connor Ripley also played his part in trying to repel Hartlepool's advances with a couple of impressive saves.
Along with Ripley and Ravenhill, Parkinson brought in Jason Kennedy, Matt Taylor, Raffaele De Vita and Mark Yeates as well to make up part of a 4-3-3 formation used at Victoria Park.
With City clearly nowhere near their best in the first period though, Parkinson switched back to 4-4-2 for the second half.
The change in formation unfortunately didn't bring a change in fortune for Parkinson's beleaguered Bantams, however, as they limped to a shocking defeat in the North East.
FT:Hartlepool United 5 Bradford City 0
90min: There will be three minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
87min: GOAL – Hartlepool United 5 Bradford City 0 – A hard night for City gets even worse when Rodney nets Hartlepool’s fifth in stunning fashion. The former Bantams striker latches onto Franks’ cross into the area and beats Ripley with a well-taken overhead kick.
86min: The ball breaks free into the path of Reid, who fires a low drive for goal from outside the area but it is straight at Flinders.
85min: Rodney gains a yard of space from Doyle before shooting a low drive on the turn from the edge of the area a couple of yards wide.
81min: Flinders has to race outside his own penalty box to beat Reid to a ball forward, preventing the attacker a free run on goal in the process.
78min: A header goalwards by De Vita following Kennedy’s clipped ball into the box is comfortably gathered by Flinders.
76min: SUB – Hartlepool bring on James Poole for Compton.
75min: SUB – The Bantams bring on Kyel Reid for Thompson.
72min: YELLOW CARD – Baldwin is booked for catching Thompson late with a challenge just inside Hartlepool’s half.
68min: SUB – Hartlepool bring on Nialle Rodney and Simon Walton for James and Walker respectively.
62min: Yeates’ free-kick from around 25 yards out is comfortably saved by Flinders at his near post.
61min: YELLOW CARD – Austin is booked for a foul on Connell midway into City’s half over by their right flank.
59min: GOAL – Hartlepool United 4 Bradford City 0 – Pools surely put the tie beyond City now as Compton confidently fires the resulting spot-kick high into the left-hand corner of Ripley’s goal.
58min: PENALTY – Pools have a penalty when Ravenhill is adjudged to have brought down James after the striker had twisted and turned inside the area.
57min: CHANCE - Taylor has to make a vital sliding block to prevent Franks from enjoying a simple close-range tap-in following James’ centre across goal.
56min: GOAL – Hartlepool United 3 Bradford City 0 – Pools grab a third on the night to leave City with a massive mountain to climb in the tie. A delivery by Compton from a wide free-kick is met by Burgess, who powers a header past a helpless Ripley and into the bottom corner.
52min: After being put under pressure himself by a pass from Connell, Doyle drops his own attempted back-pass to Ripley slightly short and the ‘keeper has to slide and kick clear to prevent James from sneaking in.
49min: Thompson’s teasing ball into the box just evades Connell in the middle with the striker looking to pounce inside the six yard box.
48min: GOAL – Hartlepool United 2 Bradford City 0 – The hosts double their lead early into the second period when Franks fires home from the edge of the area. Following a swift break forward, the attacker’s first effort is blocked by new centre half Doyle before his second left-footed drive whistles into the far corner past the despairing dive of Ripley.
HT SUBS – The Bantams bring on Carl McHugh and Alan Connell for Meredith and McArdle respectively before the restart. After starting the game with a 4-3-3 formation, City have reverted back to the more traditional 4-4-2 shape, with Connell joining Thompson in attack and Doyle moving into central defence alongside Taylor.
HT: Hartlepool United 1 Bradford City 0
45min: There will be one minute of time added on at the end of the first half.
43min: Monkhouse tries to catch Ripley by surprise with a snap-shot from around twenty-yards out but his half-volley sails comfortably wide.
40min: CHANCE - Ripley gets a fist onto a looping Monkhouse header from a Compton corner but Walker jabs the ball back towards goal and Ricky Ravenhill is needed to kick clear off his own line.
36min: After picking up the ball in a wide position and getting the better of McArdle, James bursts forward towards City’s area. Upon reaching the edge of the penalty box, James lets rip but his strike is deflected is by the out-stretched leg of Taylor. With Ripley completely wrong-footed by the deflection, the ball thankfully drops past the ‘keeper’s post and out for a corner.
34min: YELLOW CARD – McArdle is booked for blocking off James as Hartlepool look to break forward deep into City territory.
33min: James reaches back to get to an out-swinging cross from Franks but his header for goal lacks the pace to really trouble Ripley.
31min: Compton plays his corner delivery out to the waiting Matty Dolan, who is positioned approximately twenty-yards from goal. Dolan takes aim but his drive for goal is wayward.
29min: CHANCE - A Burgess close-range header from the resulting Hartlepool corner is repelled well by Ripley before City can eventually clear their lines following a brief scramble in their area.
28min: Darby has to put the ball behind for a corner to prevent the lurking Compton from having the opportunity for a simple tap-in after James had led a swift attack before crossing into the area.
27min: Compton’s corner is headed wide at the far post by Brad Walker
26min: CHANCE - Ripley produces a brilliant stop to push a powerful goal-bound header from Andy Monkhouse around the post following Duckworth’s cross into the penalty area.
24min: GOAL – Hartlepool United 1 Bradford City 0 – The hosts take the lead of the tie. Michael Duckworth’s flighted cross into the area is headed back across goal by Jack Compton and James is on hand in the middle to beat Ripley with a header of his own.
23min: Yeates’ low delivery into the box from the following free-kick is flicked goalwards at the near post by Thompson but Flinders is able to repel the effort despite the attentions of the lurking McArdle.
22min: YELLOW CARD – Christian Burgess is booked for bringing down Thompson over on City’s right flank as the attacker looked to break forward swiftly.
20min: CHANCE - Making a run to the near post, McArdle connects with Mark Yeates’ corner delivery first by glancing a free header narrowly past Flinders’ far post.
16min: A long throw-in into the area from Neil Austin sees the ball eventually land at the feet of Luke James on the edge of the six yard box. The young striker looks to turn and get a shot away from close range but his effort is crucially blocked away by the frame of Rory McArdle.
15min: Picking up the ball from Nathan Doyle just outside the area, Jason Kennedy bursts past a couple of Hartlepool players and into the hosts’ box. Kennedy looks to get a shot away but his left-footed low strike is scuffed and trickles harmlessly wide of goal.
11min: Jonathan Franks takes aim from a yard or so outside the area but his fizzing left-footed drive flies wide of Connor Ripley’s goal.
2min: Matt Taylor’s long ball forward eventually falls into the path of Garry Thompson, who sees a looping half-volley from the edge of the area pushed around the post by Scott Flinders.
0min: The Bantams kick off the tie.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED LINE UP
Flinders, Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Franks, Walker, Dolan, Compton, Monkhouse, James
Rafferty, Collins, Walton, Poole, Rodney
Rodney for James (68), Walton for Walker (68), Poole for Compton (76)
Burgess (22), Austin (61), Baldwin (72)
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP
Ripley, Darby, Taylor, McArdle, Meredith, Doyle, Ravenhill, Kennedy, De Vita, Yeates, Thompson
McLaughlin, Reid, McHugh, Connell, Wells
Bradford City changes:
McHugh for Meredith (46), Connell for McArdle (46), Reid for Thompson (75)
Bradford City cautions:
Fourth Official: Ross Joyce
Assistant Referee: Alf Greenwood
Assistant Referee: Paul Curry
Referee: Richard Clark