Bradford City 4 Dartford 1
The Bantams confirmed their place in the third round of the FA Cup with a comfortable victory over Vanarama Conference side Dartford.
Billy Clarke got City on their way after 10 minutes and Jon Stead added a second just after the half hour mark and two goals in the space of a minute, scored by Filipe Morais and Mark Yeates opened up a four-goal lead. Dartford’s Lee Noble pulled a goal back but that was all on the goal scoring front for the afternoon.
Phil Parkinson made two changes to the side that defeated Leyton Orient last weekend; Ben Williams came in to start in goal for the ineligible Jordan Pickford and Morais returned from a recent injury to start ahead of Andy Halliday who dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
Dartford had the first chance of the game through Danny Harris; after latching onto Tom Bradbrook’s flick on he made a weak connection with a shot that went narrowly wide from close range, he should well have done better with his chance.
Clarke went close up the other end seconds later but after controlling James Meredith’s low cross, his subsequent shot, which looked to be heading towards goal, was blocked well by former Crewe Alexandra and AFC Wimbledon centre half Mat Mitchel-King.
The Irishman did get his goal though, minutes later; Stead did all the groundwork to get into the area and his low centre was bobbled in off the post by Clarke.
Clarke was brimming with confidence and was well and truly on the hunt for more goals and he went close a few times in quick succession. He saw a fierce volley go wide after Mitchel-King had inadvertently headed into his path, he saw another effort go wide of the mark before scooping the ball over the bar from close range after he’d connected, perhaps too well, with Morais’ cross.
Stephen Darby had a rare attempt on goal shortly after; Meredith’s cross was headed half clear by Nathan Collier and Darby ran onto the loose ball before hitting a rising shot narrowly over the bar from 20 yards out.
Goal number two came through Stead. Yeates was causing the visitors all sorts of problems and he foxed his way into the area before cutting the ball back for Stead to nestle a well-placed shot into the far corner leaving Brown well beaten.
Clarke had another effort on goal; Darby overlapped Morais effectively and delivered a cross into the area which was headed towards goal by Clarke, however, Brown held comfortably when all said and done.
Andrew Davies had Brown beaten though on the stroke of half time but after seeing a header fly past the former Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, he was denied a goal by a goal line clearance from Peter Sweeney – a player who himself has played in an FA Cup final back in 2004 for Millwall against Manchester United.
City started the second half on the front foot and after Billy Knott had robbed Sweeney of possession, he delivered a low centre which was eventually turned wide by Clarke, from merely a few yards out.
The third goal came as City began to look more and more dominant and assertive as the game grew older; Yeates corner was headed half clear by Dartford captain Elliott Bradbrook and Morais fired a volley from 20 yards towards goal, which took a deflection before heading past Brown and into the top corner.
City got a fourth almost straight from the restart; and it was Yeates scoring one similar to his goal against Preston last month. Receiving the ball early on from Clarke, he teased the full back Rory McAuley before cutting inside onto his favoured right foot and curling a shot into the far corner.
From the restart after Morais' third for City, Parkinson's men took a mere 21 seconds to net again through Yeates.
Harris went close for the visitors at the other end minutes later; leading a break away on his own, his eventual incoming shot from the edge of the area was parried away by Willliams; Dartford’s first chance of the half.
Dartford got their goal a couple of minutes later; City failed to clear their lines and Noble produced a crafty back heel that just about crept over the line and into the back of the net to spark celebration in the away end.
Stead attempted an audacious first time volley from outside the area which went inches wide of the target after he’d connected with Clarke’s lay off and down the other end Williams made a fantastic fingertip save to prevent Noble’s vicious 20 yard strike from finding the top corner.
The pace of the game really slowed down after this, Dartford looked to have ran out of steam and City had too as they allowed the game to come to a close at the score of 4-1, seeing them, as expected, comfortably through into the third round of the cup.