Hero Hanson is Bradford City's head-line grabber as fans plan trip of a lifetime to Wembley

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: James Hanson acknowledges the City fans after equalising James Hanson acknowledges the City fans after equalising

Aston Villa 2 Bradford City 1

City win 4-3 on aggregate

Don’t just look for them, start booking those hotels for London. Bradford City are off to Wembley.

“This is the best trip we’ve ever been on.” For years, the put-upon Bantam fans have sung it at such unlikely outposts as Accrington, Torquay and Dagenham.

Sung out of irony, sarcasm and more than a little defiance at the thought that some day, one day things had to get better. They would get that dream game that the unwavering support has earned.

Well buckle up boys and girls, that trip is booked now – the Capital One Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, February 24.

For the first time in history, a team from the bottom level of English football will step out at the national stadium for a major final.

And they got there with a headed goal from the striker who, as another favourite ditty goes, used to work in the Co-op.

James Hanson, so often unfairly the butt of any criticism, will now be lauded for ever more.

But that’s what happens when you try taking on a higher power.

Villa boss Paul Lambert had used the build-up to criticise Reverend Paul Deo, the City announcer, for his over-zealous celebrations after game one. He accused him of disrespect with his references about searching for hotels in the capital.

Now it’s Lambert who might need some divine intervention to hang on to his job. The gods are smiling on everything claret and banter.

After 102 years of waiting, City are off to a cup final. The likes of Hanson, Gary Jones and Matt Duke have the opportunity to equal the distant achievements of Jimmy Speirs and Co.

The modern-day supporters have their new heroes.

Parkinson had stuck with the same 11 that did City so proud a fortnight earlier at Valley Parade.

So Curtis Good got the nod at left back again with Carl McHugh keeping out latest arrival Michael Nelson in the middle of defence. Hanson was also back after resting his cracked little toe for the previous two games.

The noise level had been deafening as the teams emerged for battle, City’s 6,500 travelling army holding their own against the home fans waving their free flags.

But for the first 45 minutes, there was no such balance on the pitch as the visitors spent the bulk of the opening half under the cosh.

Christian Benteke had the opening chances in the first game and he was in the thick of it once more as Villa hunted an early goal to puncture the underdogs’ belief. One header dropped wide, another was flicked over the bar by right back Matt Lowton.

Rory McArdle twice came to City’s rescue, first with a goal-saving interception from Benteke then another lunge to block Gabriel Agbonlahor. Fabian Delph drove over the bar, then Duke saved low from Agbonlahor.

Apart from one misdirected header from Hanson, it was wall-to-wall Villa.

They had failed to score in four of the previoushome games but Lambert’s wish for an early breakthrough was granted at the midway point of the half. Joe Bennett, who’d had such a miserable night in West Yorkshire, floated a pass from the left which Benteke dispatched past Duke with a smart volley.

“We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again!” crowed the Villa fans, rekindling memories of their successful fightback from the same first-leg deficit against Tranmere 19 years earlier.

Stephen Ireland immediately thought he had doubled the lead but the offside flag was already up. But still City could not get out of their own half.

Duke, the hero first time out, had to be on his toes to deal with Charles N’Zogbia’s screamer. Then he stretched again to tip over from Ireland.

City could not hold on to the ball and Benteke rose above two defenders to nod just wide, much to the Belgian’s frustration.

Nahki Wells responded with a curler that didn’t curl enough but City finished the half glad to get off for a breather. Villa’s 72 per cent domination of possession had said it all.

The second period began in identical fashion, with Villa pouring forward and City’s front two left to feed off scraps.

But every game, however seemingly one-sided, tends to throw up one decent chance. And how the Bantams grabbed it after 54 minutes.

Finally winning their first corner, they immediately got another and Gary Jones put the ball on Hanson’s head for a bullet finish as emphatic as the two scored in the first leg.

Villa’s Achilles heel, defending corners, had been exposed again as the fans above that end descended into bedlam. What a time for Hanson to net his first goal for ten games.

The confidence surged through the visitors as Wells swung and missed at Stephen Darby’s cross and Zavon Hines forced a save from Shay Given.

And Hanson should have had another from a pinpoint cross by Hines but failed to get enough on his header.

Lambert threw on Darren Bent and Andreas Weimann, two more strikers, but the whole feel of the night had changed on one moment.

Now it was City playing with swagger and verve, rediscovering that “in your face” refusal to kow-tow to supposedly superior opposition. Wigan and Arsenal had been brushed aside; now it was Villa’s turn.

Garry Thompson, twice a scorer in City’s cup odyssey, replaced the tiring Hines – and met Darby’s cross with a first-time effort that rattled Given’s bar.

Weimann made it interesting, unnecessarily so, with a Villa second a minute from the end of the 90. But City negotiated the excruciating agony of the four added minutes without too much alarm.

The team that were 1,500-1 no hopers at the start of this competition had become the first name in the final. The best trip is yet to come ...

Comments (17)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:17am Wed 23 Jan 13

Wallybantam says...

over the moon thrilled to bits chuffed to pieces out of this world speechless dumbfounded completely blown away well pleased who'd have thought it I'll go to the foot of our stairs happy as larry pure bluudy magic I could crush a grape
over the moon thrilled to bits chuffed to pieces out of this world speechless dumbfounded completely blown away well pleased who'd have thought it I'll go to the foot of our stairs happy as larry pure bluudy magic I could crush a grape Wallybantam
  • Score: 0

8:22am Wed 23 Jan 13

Meat Pie says...

I've supported City for 40 years and been to 70 different grounds to watch them over the years come away from many of them disappointed but last night made up for every one of those disappointments.

What a night - I haven't / couldn't sleep and now can't stop laughing.

We're off to Wembley - what an achievement.

Hanson was magnificent last night as were all the boys.

We deserved to win over the 2 legs - we were the better team - and now we can all look forward to "Dreamland."

Absolutely fantastic!
I've supported City for 40 years and been to 70 different grounds to watch them over the years come away from many of them disappointed but last night made up for every one of those disappointments. What a night - I haven't / couldn't sleep and now can't stop laughing. We're off to Wembley - what an achievement. Hanson was magnificent last night as were all the boys. We deserved to win over the 2 legs - we were the better team - and now we can all look forward to "Dreamland." Absolutely fantastic! Meat Pie
  • Score: 0

9:23am Wed 23 Jan 13

lancaster1 says...

dream land still choked up. dreamt i would be walking down wembley way with my young kids like my dad did years ago and now i get to do it so proud.

woke this morning saw papers and realised it wasn't a dream!!!!
dream land still choked up. dreamt i would be walking down wembley way with my young kids like my dad did years ago and now i get to do it so proud. woke this morning saw papers and realised it wasn't a dream!!!! lancaster1
  • Score: 0

10:00am Wed 23 Jan 13

balbrigganfc says...

Great to see Golden Balls Hanson score at Villa, a well deserved goal, and has been so unlucky not to score more. Lets hope the gobsheens who have been giving you nowt but stick, start to give you the accolades you deserve.

Come on you Bantams, CTID!
Great to see Golden Balls Hanson score at Villa, a well deserved goal, and has been so unlucky not to score more. Lets hope the gobsheens who have been giving you nowt but stick, start to give you the accolades you deserve. Come on you Bantams, CTID! balbrigganfc
  • Score: 0

10:47am Wed 23 Jan 13

RuggerTyke says...

The most maLigned player in recent history, polarising fans like no other, takes his team to Wembley with a first goal in over 20 games at a Villa Park Semi-Final!

FAIRYTALE!
The most maLigned player in recent history, polarising fans like no other, takes his team to Wembley with a first goal in over 20 games at a Villa Park Semi-Final! FAIRYTALE! RuggerTyke
  • Score: 0

11:09am Wed 23 Jan 13

White4Life says...

As a Leeds supporter for over 50 years I can appreciate the highs and lows that you guys have gone through. I felt I had to submit a comment to praise your magnificent achievement last night against Villa. A heartfelt 'Well Done'! What a fantastic tribute to the 56 who lost their lives all those years ago. All the best in the final. I shall be rooting for you.
As a Leeds supporter for over 50 years I can appreciate the highs and lows that you guys have gone through. I felt I had to submit a comment to praise your magnificent achievement last night against Villa. A heartfelt 'Well Done'! What a fantastic tribute to the 56 who lost their lives all those years ago. All the best in the final. I shall be rooting for you. White4Life
  • Score: 0

11:15am Wed 23 Jan 13

shoesmaker4 says...

well done james hanson them balls you are getting were brill wot a header get in there
well done james hanson them balls you are getting were brill wot a header get in there shoesmaker4
  • Score: 0

11:52am Wed 23 Jan 13

lawsonio123 says...

j ames Hanson gave us the goal we asked forThis much under rated player more than earned the right to go to the Final WELL DONE all of you have made the City Proud Las Vagas I hope MR Lawn is giving you casino spending money
j ames Hanson gave us the goal we asked forThis much under rated player more than earned the right to go to the Final WELL DONE all of you have made the City Proud Las Vagas I hope MR Lawn is giving you casino spending money lawsonio123
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Commonsensefirst says...

Congratulations! A brilliant display over the two legs. You make me feel very proud.
Congratulations! A brilliant display over the two legs. You make me feel very proud. Commonsensefirst
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Whoisevans? says...

White4Life wrote:
As a Leeds supporter for over 50 years I can appreciate the highs and lows that you guys have gone through. I felt I had to submit a comment to praise your magnificent achievement last night against Villa. A heartfelt 'Well Done'! What a fantastic tribute to the 56 who lost their lives all those years ago. All the best in the final. I shall be rooting for you.
It's good to see that even your fiercest rivals respect your achievements a long with all the banter we are football fans and in that the same kind of person.
Years ago a Leeds fan told me I was a dreamer when I said one day I would love to go to Wembley with City and see them in the premier League. I suppose we are all dreamers or we wouldn't be football fans. Thank you for your kind comments. Were proud of our teams achievements.
[quote][p][bold]White4Life[/bold] wrote: As a Leeds supporter for over 50 years I can appreciate the highs and lows that you guys have gone through. I felt I had to submit a comment to praise your magnificent achievement last night against Villa. A heartfelt 'Well Done'! What a fantastic tribute to the 56 who lost their lives all those years ago. All the best in the final. I shall be rooting for you.[/p][/quote]It's good to see that even your fiercest rivals respect your achievements a long with all the banter we are football fans and in that the same kind of person. Years ago a Leeds fan told me I was a dreamer when I said one day I would love to go to Wembley with City and see them in the premier League. I suppose we are all dreamers or we wouldn't be football fans. Thank you for your kind comments. Were proud of our teams achievements. Whoisevans?
  • Score: 0

3:46pm Wed 23 Jan 13

White4Life says...

Thanks Whoisevans. There will always be rivalry, banter and leg pulling between supporters. True football supporters also recognise achievement. What 'The Bantams' did last night was awesome and what a following in January, all the way to Villa Park. All credit to you. Talk about David and Goliiath. All the best to you guys in the final.
Thanks Whoisevans. There will always be rivalry, banter and leg pulling between supporters. True football supporters also recognise achievement. What 'The Bantams' did last night was awesome and what a following in January, all the way to Villa Park. All credit to you. Talk about David and Goliiath. All the best to you guys in the final. White4Life
  • Score: 0

5:21pm Wed 23 Jan 13

KnightMcCall says...

balbrigganfc wrote:
Great to see Golden Balls Hanson score at Villa, a well deserved goal, and has been so unlucky not to score more. Lets hope the gobsheens who have been giving you nowt but stick, start to give you the accolades you deserve.

Come on you Bantams, CTID!
Without wanting to focus on any negative at this time of un-paralleled joy; i agree with you 100% about those who have had been so negative about big Jim. Awesome effort last night from him that swung the game our way. Well done Super Jimmy Hanson....Super, Super Jim, Super, Super Jim etc...
[quote][p][bold]balbrigganfc[/bold] wrote: Great to see Golden Balls Hanson score at Villa, a well deserved goal, and has been so unlucky not to score more. Lets hope the gobsheens who have been giving you nowt but stick, start to give you the accolades you deserve. Come on you Bantams, CTID![/p][/quote]Without wanting to focus on any negative at this time of un-paralleled joy; i agree with you 100% about those who have had been so negative about big Jim. Awesome effort last night from him that swung the game our way. Well done Super Jimmy Hanson....Super, Super Jim, Super, Super Jim etc... KnightMcCall
  • Score: 0

5:26pm Wed 23 Jan 13

KnightMcCall says...

White4Life wrote:
Thanks Whoisevans. There will always be rivalry, banter and leg pulling between supporters. True football supporters also recognise achievement. What 'The Bantams' did last night was awesome and what a following in January, all the way to Villa Park. All credit to you. Talk about David and Goliiath. All the best to you guys in the final.
To be honest; all I have heard from Leeds and Town fans is messages of congratulations; It would seem that some acheivements transcend rivalry and are more about the game itself (despite what the media would have everyone believe about football supporters).
[quote][p][bold]White4Life[/bold] wrote: Thanks Whoisevans. There will always be rivalry, banter and leg pulling between supporters. True football supporters also recognise achievement. What 'The Bantams' did last night was awesome and what a following in January, all the way to Villa Park. All credit to you. Talk about David and Goliiath. All the best to you guys in the final.[/p][/quote]To be honest; all I have heard from Leeds and Town fans is messages of congratulations; It would seem that some acheivements transcend rivalry and are more about the game itself (despite what the media would have everyone believe about football supporters). KnightMcCall
  • Score: 0

12:42am Thu 24 Jan 13

shoesmaker4 says...

well done james and the lads you did use all very prowd youve made all of bradford and most of the country stand up and be prowd of your truley amazing feets and good look at wembley to so prowd to be a city fan good job come on city
well done james and the lads you did use all very prowd youve made all of bradford and most of the country stand up and be prowd of your truley amazing feets and good look at wembley to so prowd to be a city fan good job come on city shoesmaker4
  • Score: 0

1:04am Thu 24 Jan 13

basil fawlty says...

James (or is it Big Jim?!) Hanson deservedly joins Wethers on the "Legend" list for that epic headed goal. Awesome!
And I agree with the above poster, Town and Leeds fans I know have been brill over City's cup exploits. Happy days, getting my "Wembley 13" City shirt this weekend.
James (or is it Big Jim?!) Hanson deservedly joins Wethers on the "Legend" list for that epic headed goal. Awesome! And I agree with the above poster, Town and Leeds fans I know have been brill over City's cup exploits. Happy days, getting my "Wembley 13" City shirt this weekend. basil fawlty
  • Score: 0

3:14am Thu 24 Jan 13

Rambo says...

KnightMcCall wrote:
White4Life wrote:
Thanks Whoisevans. There will always be rivalry, banter and leg pulling between supporters. True football supporters also recognise achievement. What 'The Bantams' did last night was awesome and what a following in January, all the way to Villa Park. All credit to you. Talk about David and Goliiath. All the best to you guys in the final.
To be honest; all I have heard from Leeds and Town fans is messages of congratulations; It would seem that some acheivements transcend rivalry and are more about the game itself (despite what the media would have everyone believe about football supporters).
Indeed. To be fair, a few Leeds fans I know have wished us luck, one even wants to come to the final with us. Another guy we know is a Nottingham Forest fan (from Bradford originally) who now lives in Germany who wants to come as well. They are really loving the Yorkshrie aspect we're taking into the tie.

Gonna be a great day. A day for fans of clubs who aren't foreign football tourists or armchair supporters of the big clubs.
[quote][p][bold]KnightMcCall[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]White4Life[/bold] wrote: Thanks Whoisevans. There will always be rivalry, banter and leg pulling between supporters. True football supporters also recognise achievement. What 'The Bantams' did last night was awesome and what a following in January, all the way to Villa Park. All credit to you. Talk about David and Goliiath. All the best to you guys in the final.[/p][/quote]To be honest; all I have heard from Leeds and Town fans is messages of congratulations; It would seem that some acheivements transcend rivalry and are more about the game itself (despite what the media would have everyone believe about football supporters).[/p][/quote]Indeed. To be fair, a few Leeds fans I know have wished us luck, one even wants to come to the final with us. Another guy we know is a Nottingham Forest fan (from Bradford originally) who now lives in Germany who wants to come as well. They are really loving the Yorkshrie aspect we're taking into the tie. Gonna be a great day. A day for fans of clubs who aren't foreign football tourists or armchair supporters of the big clubs. Rambo
  • Score: 0

4:03am Thu 24 Jan 13

tyker2 says...

PARKY SAID WE COULD FILL WAMBLEY AND IT SEEMS SO
PARKY SAID WE COULD FILL WAMBLEY AND IT SEEMS SO tyker2
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

Get Adobe Flash player
About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree