Stanley may have registered one of the shock results in the first round of the FA Cup –but boss John Coleman was not surprised by their win at Bradford City.
The Bantams are flying high in third place in League One but succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against Coleman’s men at Valley Parade in the first round of the competition.
And while the Reds started the tie as firm underdogs, Coleman felt the right team won.
“The result didn’t surprise me, we know we let ourselves down last week (in the home loss against Newport) and we know we play better against the better teams and I’d be very surprised if Bradford aren’t a Championship team next year,” he said.
“So to come here and win, I’ve got to praise my players, but I’ve also got to remind them what they are capable of doing.
“We’ve got to win the bread and butter games and we’ve got to find a way to do this to teams that don’t give us the respect that Bradford did.
“Bradford play a style of football that suits us, we can’t expect every League Two team to play the way that we want to play, so we’ve got to find a way to beat the teams that aren’t as good as Bradford.”
Following the disappointing defeat to bottom side Newport, Coleman wanted to see a response from his players and he feels that they did that.
“We passed it better. You can never fault the work-rates or the efforts from the players, but you can sometimes question the wisdom in games and the management of games, and I thought we saw it out quite well,” he said.
“We didn’t panic when we went 1-1 and I think we deserved to take the lead.
“We controlled the play, we passed it well and we showed a great deal of pride in our performance. We worked ever so hard for each other.
“The lads have had a hard week, they’ve had double sessions a couple of days this and we’ve put them through their paces, and that’s not a punishment that’s just a reminder that if we can get results from hard work then that’s all the more pleasing.”
The manager was also impressed with his side’s character and determination to see the game out.
“We expected a bombardment and we got it but the lads stood firm. We lost four players in the week through injury,” he said,
“The lads who have come in have been outstanding so I can’t fault anybody, I thought everybody played their part.”
Emirates FA Cup First Round
Bradford 1-2 Accrington
Yorkshire-born Jordan Clark scored the winning goal with ten minutes to play to send Stanley through to the second round of the Emirates FA Cup against League One promotion hopefuls Bradford City.
Romauld Boco struck first after 30 minutes, but Stanley were then pegged back by Matthew Kilgallon’s close-range header which set up a tense finish.
Clark, from Barnsley, finished off a pacey counter attack as he drilled home the winner, dumping out the West Yorkshire side who were strong favourites to progress.
John Coleman, who was once linked with the managerial hot-seat at Bradford following Peter Taylor’s departure,
revealed he had never lost at Bradford – and mercifully this trend didn’t change on Saturday.
It was a lively opening, and Stanley defender Mark Hughes did well to cut off a driving run by Haris Vuckic.
Bradford were on the attack again with just four minutes gone, this time through pacey winger Mark Marshall, whose cross found the head of lofty target man James Hanson, but once again Hughes was alert to the danger, clearing the effort off the line.
At the other end Stanley tested Bradford’s defence through Sean McConville, who found Terry Gornell inside the box but the striker couldn’t get a clean shot away.
Bradford almost made the breakthrough with Filipe Morais’ free kick following a handball by Omar Beckles.
The former Chelsea academy player saw his effort on goal go narrowly wide of the post from 20 yards out.
Romauld Boco then tested Bradford keeper Colin Doyle, but the shot was saved with relative ease.
The Bantams continued to push for an opener as Morais sent a free header off target and Marshall fired wide from the edge of area.
In spite of the pressure from the hosts, it was Stanley who almost broke the deadlock on 16 minutes as Boco rattled the crossbar with a fierce shot from 25 yards.
Boco was rewarded for his efforts 13 minutes later though.
After some good build up play from Stanley, Sean McConville’s cross was deftly headed in at the far post by the former Benin international – his sixth goal in all competitions this season.
The Bantams almost responded in the 36th minute through Haris Vuckic, but the Newcastle loanee took too much time on the edge of the box before seeing his shot saved superbly by the legs of Stanley shot-stopper Elliot Parish.
The hosts had a final chance seven minutes before the break but Hanson could only head wide of the target.
Bradford boss Stuart McCall made three substitutions early in the second half and all had an impact on the game.
Jordy Hiwula couldn’t put away a through ball from fellow substitute Nicky Law, but the hosts drew level on 72 minutes when another substitute, Billy Clarke, delivered a corner which defender Matthew Kilgallon headed home from the centre of the box.
The equaliser set up a tense final 20 minutes. Both sides were attacking and pushing for a winner and it came to the Reds in the 80th minute.
Stanley countered quickly and Boco directed a header into the path of Clark who drilled the ball into the bottom corner of the net to secure a second win over Bradford this season – Clark also scored the winning penalty in the EFL Cup match earlier in the season.