Here we go, the 2012-13 Capital One Cup Final, Bradford vs Swansea. Can Bradford make the dream come true and conquer another Premier League opposition. Or will the favourites Swansea just be too much to handle. Only time will tell!
1 min We’ve started!
1 min Swansea are stroking it around, Bradford sitting off them in their own half and providing as much clutter as possible in their own. Rangel and Dyer work the ball at quite some speed down the right flank, and the latter’s attempted cross is deflected behind for a corner that come to nowt.
4 min Swansea turn the Bradford left flank again, Rangel seeking Michu in the middle – he’d pulled back and off his marker, fnarr, fnarr etcetera – but overhits it by quite some amount, and the crowd chortle into their liquid platinum Bovrils.
6 min Bradford mustered a small possession flurry, but we’re now back to tiki-taka.
7 min Routledge appears to be playing centrally, with Pablo on the left and Dyer on the right. It’s an interested wrinkle, this – three wingers – and surprising that no one’s tried it much before, because it can’t be easy to mark.
10 min Bradford will be happy with how things have begun here. Swansea have managed a couple of crosses, but otherwise Bradford remain unracked, and certainly aren’t frightened.
14 min As Swansea pass the ball to each other, Pablo quickens it up, firing a low, hard ball into Michu who deflects it back to him, but too firmly for him to control. Eventually, the ball finds its way to Rangel on the right, and from maybe 40 yards out, he outswings a looping cross towards the back post, where Davies runs at it and heads wide from fifteen or so yards.
GOAL! BRADFORD 0-1 SWANSEA (Dyer, 16)
Bradford get excited, throwing a few men forward and when they lose it, Swansea break, Wayne ‘the machzor’ Rotledge tearing through centrefield and finding Michu on the left of the area. He fires across the ball and across Duke, a low shot that’s well-directed enough to force a desperate dive, Duke pushing wide, but Dyer is following up and rolls into the empty net, before exposing happiness.
22 min Here’s the thing with Bradford. They’ve responded well to going behind, as they started well – but it’s seems inconceivable that Swansea won’t locate the extra quality here and there to score again. And they nearly do, Rangel scooting down the right and propping up a cross that forces a corner.
25 min Leon Britton accepts possession and pirouettes beautifully in the middle of the pitch to start another attack. He seems a much better player than Joe Allen, except that Brendan knows.
27 min Swansea knock the ball around, backwards and forwards, forwards and backwards. What they’re doing really well, though, in injecting sudden bursts of pace, and it’s that which is troubling Bradford, who are fairly composed otherwise.
31 min Swansea force a corner from the left, aimed at the near post, that’s headed clear by McHugh. The ball drops to Britton, in numinous solitude on the edge of the box, and watching it onto his laces, he hits across a right-footed drive that spins high and wide.
35 min McArdle sells Duke short with a backpass, and he nips out to clunk is clear as Michu closes in. Inspired, Jones then does the same, and the same happens. It’s been a while since Bradford have mustered any kind of threat – Swansea’s hand is on their forehead and their arms are too short to land any shots.
38 min Good curls a ball into Wells, who turns his body and sticks it in front of Ki to accept possession, so Ki lumps into him and sends him spinning to the grass with an instruction to eat mat, earning a booking for his trouble.
GOAL! Bradford City 0-2 Swansea 2 (Michu, 40)
A double-nutmeg special! This is a really scrumptious goal. If it was a cringeworthy extended metaphor, I’d guzzle it whole and ask for seconds. Britton, central and perhaps forty yards from goal, threaded a pass through Jones’ legs from bare distance, finding Michu alone in the box on the left-hand side. Showing unreal composure, he assessed the scene, reclined, and flipped a low, left footed shot with impeccable geometry through a further set of legs – McArdle’s I think – and past Duke into the far corner. He’s a smart man.
45 min There shall be a solitary additional minute.
HALF-TIME: BRADFORD CITY 0-2 SWANSEA CITY.
Bradford have actually made a decent fist of this – Swansea haven’t peppered their goal, or even made that many chances. The problem is that every now and again, they’ve not shown the resources to cope with the additional class. Britton is pretty much deciding what happens in midfield, and the pace and movement of the three wingers is pulling defenders hither and thither, opening up the space in which Michu operates – and it’s Michu who’s been the principal difference between the teams. His dextrous snap-shot created the first goal and the one he scored himself was the work of a real striking intellectual.
46 min Football is taking place once more. Bradford have brought Davies on for Good.
GOAL! Bradford City 0-3 Swansea City 3 (Dyer, 47)
Another splendid goal.
This is an absolutely hunksome, winsome piece of goal. Dyer, picking up possession wide on the right and not that far off halfway, dashed forward and raced a low ball into Michu, who pulled away and over it at the last second – nutmegging himself – and letting it run to Routledge. Now slightly left-of-centre, he drilled a pass back right, right at Dyer, as Michu took evasive action and Dyer stepped inside before roasting a curler high into the far corner.
54 min Irrelevant Rory McArdle trivia: the McNulty character in The Wire was originally called McArdle.
55 min Here’s a moral dilemma: given that the game’s won and there’s not even a goal difference issue, would the noble thing be for Swansea declare, or to carry on going?
PENALTY AND A RED CARD! DUKE IS OFF!
Oh dear. Another speeding, swooping Swansea move, with Michu sliding a ball through to Routledge, who rounds Duke, sending him the wrong way. For reasons unlikely known even to himself – other than for fun – Duke tripped him with his legs, and was dismissed. Meanwhile, Dyer and De Guzman are argueing over who gets to take the penalty. De Guzman wins.
GOAL! Bradford City 0-4 Swansea City (De Guzman, 59)
De Guzman approaches the ball slowly and curls one into the net, dashing off blowing kisses to the crowd at the extent of this incredible show of epochal magnificence. He and poor, bedressed, hat-trickless Dyer share a hug and a kiss. Moving stuff.
61 min Swansea are all over this, subliming straight back into the Bradford area, left side, where a ball fired to Dyer at a tricky height is touched off to Michu with a heel, like it’s nothing, and he convulses into another clever effort, shooting immediately, and watching as is zips only just wide.
63 min Club captain Monk replaces Ki, and prior to the penalty, McLoughlin, the sub keeper, came on for Wells.
65 min Swansea are not slowing down, determined to collect as many humiliating goals as possible.
69 min Thirty seconds of Pablo Hernandez: first sending Darby left and right with wriggling hips, then seconds later diddling McHugh on the byline with further sidewinding activity, before running into trouble.
72 min Dyer, desperate for a hat-trick, lashes a hopeful shot over the bar as Hines replaces one of his team-mates. A desk of football writers is unable to know which.
74 min The patronising platitudes are in full spew. Football is the winner and in perspective, which is what it would’ve wanted.
77 min Nathan Dyer goes off to deposit francium in Jonathan de Guzman’s shoes.
80 min Lesson to be learned: middling Premier League managers who don’t play their first XI in cup competitions would benefit from the gift of a good hiding.
82 min Swansea are doing more of that passing – they might just have retired now.
83 min The passing takes them into the box, Hernandez, Michu and Routledge combining. But they lost the thread and tempo, forced to go backwards.
84 min Tiendali replaces Davies. Bradford are a little haggard and sorrowful now; the squirrel’s granary is full, and the harvest’s done.
86 min Bradford win a corner, their first of the game. Prior to it, Phil Parkinson was bullish about the threat his team posed from them – but in the event, it’s been irrelevant. The ball is hit hard to the penalty spot area, and Ashley Williams gets his car-boot head to it first, glancing it away.
89 min Time is elapsing.
90 min Matt Duke is back on the bench, in his suit and with wet hair, looking pensive. But in retrospect, though, why not? There’s little finer than a good trip, well-executed.
GOAL! Bradford City 0-5 Swansea City (De Guzman, 90+1)
Just when Bradford thought they’d been spared, Swansea increase the pace. Michu thunders a shot that’s beaten away, then Routledge unfurls a curler from the left side of the box that raps the bar, and then De Guzman slides in Rangel’s cross.
FULL-TIME: BRADFORD CITY 0-5 SWANSEA CITY
SWANSEA CITY WIN THE CAPITAL ONE CUP!