Bradford City 2 Aldershot Town 0
The Bantams progressed into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup thanks victory over Aldershot Town to set up another home tie with Chesham United at the next stage. Greg Leigh opened his account for the club with a superbly taken goal to break the deadlock before Tony McMahon effectively sealed the result with a penalty after Luke James was brought down in the area by Omar Beckles.
Aldershot's Richard Brodie had the first chance of the game after controlling Rory McArdle’s weak clearance on the chest but his resulting volley went horribly above the desired target.
The big front-man had another chance to put his side ahead a few minutes later; this time his attempt was on target, a low drive from 18 yards was pushed away by Ben Williams before the City stopper reacted quick enough to keep out Sam Hatton’s follow up.
Although it was Aldershot making some progress in the game during the early exchanges, City’s first real chance saw them go agonisingly close as the woodwork was struck. Mark Marshall, in the starting line-up in place of Kyel Reid, picked up the ball outside the area and drove into area before finding a yard on Cheye Alexander and firing a low shot towards goal that came back off the post. Television replays later showed it was actually a superb save by Phil Smith to keep him at bay.
Smith got himself in a bit of trouble just before the half hour but got away with a rightful booking; the Aldershot stopper came marauding out to try and cut out the danger but Devante Cole got there ahead of him before drawing a foul. Luckily for Smith, he had defenders covering him to make sure the offence was only worthy of a booking and not a red card.
Aldershot had a great chance to open the scoring a couple of minutes later; Charlie Walker clipped a ball into the box and Brodie helped it on into the path of Jim Stevenson who saw a truly struck shot kept out from close range by Ben Williams who would ultimately go on to earn his fifth successive clean sheet.
The Bantams started the second half on the front foot and McMahon had seen a shot from distance go a yard or so wide of the target. Aldershot then had another decent opportunity to open the scoring when Dan Walker crossed the ball into the 18 yard box and his namesake Charlie Walker controlled the ball on the chest before volleying over the bar.
Just after the hour mark, and a couple of minutes after James Hanson had limped off injured to be replaced by Billy Clarke, City took the lead. With James Meredith still away on international duty with Australian, Greg Leigh was in at left back and he took his first goal in Claret & Amber superbly well. The former Manchester City Under 21 defender conjured up an exquisite first touch to knock the ball into the area and past his marker after latching onto Billy Knott’s pass and he chipped past Smith confidently.
Provider almost turned scorer five minutes later; Stephen Darby’s cross to the far past was kept in and cut back by Marshall into the path of Knott who saw a shot from point blank range kept out by Smith despite the 'keeper initially moving in the wrong direction.
City were firmly in control at this stage but the visitors still looked a threat going forward; Rhys Browne came off the bench and looked lively and Darby had to make a vital defensive header to make sure Alexander’s cross wasn’t latched onto, a typical intervention from the Bradford captain.
The Bantams doubled their lead from the spot with around 15 minutes to go from the penalty spot with Tony McMahon dispatching well from 12 yards into the bottom corner. The decision came after Luke James was felled in the area by Omar Beckles after the loanee forward had stolen a yard on The Shots’ defender in the 18 yard box.
City saw the remainder of the game out to complete an effective progression into the second round of the famous old cup competition.