Aston Villa

Aston Villa's Loss to Bradford Is the Latest Act of Torture to Their Fans

BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08:  Carl McHugh of Bradford City (grounded) celebrates with team mates after scoring their third goal during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJanuary 8, 2013

Bradford City's Capital One Cup dream continued on Tuesday night with a fairy tale win over English Premier League side Aston Villa.

Nahki Wells, Roy McArdle and Carl McHugh did the damage for the Bantams, while Andi Weimann was able to pull one back for the visitors to give them some form of comfort heading into the second leg of the semifinal.

So what does yet another adverse result mean for Paul Lambert's side, and how do the fans feel after a particularly deflating evening in Yorkshire?

In truth, this game could be taken, bottled and displayed as a microcosm of the unfortunate season Villa have endured.

While Bradford deserve great credit for digging in and putting their chances away, a little less profligacy from Christian Benteke, Charles N'Zogbia and Gabby Agbonlahor could have seen the away side two or three goals up inside the first 15 minutes.


But Wells' fluke effort in the 19th minute, which nestled into the bottom-left corner of Shay Given's net to give Phil Parkinson's side the lead, brought up a whole host of feelings Villa fans were hoping to avoid in 2013.

For a good 10 minutes, Villa looked simply shell-shocked. Then, when coming out of their reduced state, continued to be thwarted by Matt Duke—who had a career-game—in the Bradford goal.

It was the story of frustration that's haunted the claret and blue side all season: good build-up play, positive in parts, but unable to find the killer instinct when it really, really matters.

It also marked another game where the 11 players of Aston Villa failed to have a good game collectively, as yet again one or two individuals struggled and brought down the side.

You're looking at players that were performing very well toward the start of the season, and in patches under Alex McLeish, but consecutive lashings have left the group utterly devoid of confidence, meaning the heads go down quicker than a parched camel in the desert.

Fabian Delph was an all-action presence in central midfield, but Darren Bent and Benteke were unable to take advantage. Matt Lowton had another stellar game at right-back, but Joe Bennett was particularly suspect on the opposite flank.

At some point you have to ask the question—when will they start reading from the same page?

It doesn't matter that Bradford were up for it, that Valley Parade was rocking or that Arsenal suffered a similar fate on that very turf.

It doesn't even matter that Villa played extremely well for 70 minutes and deserved to score more than one solitary goal.

Another abject performance has left even the biggest believers frightened, but there is a silver lining; It's halftime in this tie, and Villa Park is one of the widest pitches in the country.

Can Bradford do the unthinkable twice?

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