October 2012: WIGAN 0 CITY 0 (after extra-time, City won 4-2 on pens)

IT IS sad to hear that Zavon Hines has been forced to hang up his boots aged just 30.

He was one of the unsung heroes of City’s “history-making” campaign in 2012-2013.

While the likes of James Hanson, Nahki Wells and Gary Jones grabbed the headlines, the former West Ham winger certainly made his contribution by featuring in two-thirds of the 65 games during a marathon season.

We start our new weekly feature recalling memorable City matches with a look back to October 2012 and Capital One Cup fourth-round tie at Wigan.

It was the night when the magic began as the Bantams claimed the first of three Premier League scalps on the way to becoming the first side from the fourth tier to appear in a major Wembley final.

Around 5,000 fans made the trip across the Pennines – but most travelled in hope rather than expectation.

The 59-place gap between the two teams was not the only obstacle; Phil Parkinson’s team selection was hampered by injuries to centre halves Andrew Davies and Luke Oliver and a suspension for midfield scrapper Ricky Ravenhill.

Parkinson made six changes from the previous League Two game – one being Hines replacing cup-tied Derby loanee Craig Forsyth on City’s left.

It was a very exacting role for the wideman; one that would require constant defensive discipline as well as the energy to bomb the other way when the visitors did get chance to break.

“I don’t think we really gave ourselves a chance,” said Hines, when recalling the game a couple of years ago. “We just thought ‘let’s go for the experience and see how long we can match them’.

“But we were so organised and worked so hard.

“I was still trying to build up my fitness at the time and remember doing a lot of running. But we were under the cosh, so I had to do it.”

It was a portent of what was to come as Parkinson’s minnows outfoxed loftier opposition; Wigan would soon share fall-guy status with the likes of Arsenal, Aston Villa – and later Chelsea and Sunderland.

The pattern was predictably one-way and it needed a fine save from Matt Duke to deny Jordi Gomez on the brink of half-time.

Then came the big moment for City.

Alan Connell sends Hines away as the Bantams suddenly break out. He runs from halfway, bearing down on the Wigan goal.

Ben Watson would become a household name by the end of that season for scoring the FA Cup final winner against Manchester City.

But on this occasion he is swatted away by Hines whose long-busting run ends with a shot that keeper Ali Al Habsi blocked at his near post.

Hines said: “Whenever we had the ball, I tried to get as far upfield as I could as quickly as possible. But I was a bit disappointed not to score.”

A whack just before the end of normal time took its toll and Hines finally made way for youngster Adam Baker after probably the most physically-demanding 106 minutes of his football life.

His shift was matched by everyone in claret and amber hoops – they deserved the slice of luck when Gomez went through one-on-one and fired wide of the post.

“I don’t know if Duke’s got enough energy to save the penalties” read one tweet to the T&A as an absorbing contest came down to spot kicks.

But after Shaun Maloney blazed over, City’s keeper thwarted the luckless Gomez once more and the Wembley journey was in full swing.

Hines found enough in his legs to join the throng of players chasing the jubilant Duke as he raced to the other end of the pitch to celebrate with the travelling army.

Hines revealed he was in tears as he penned a retirement speech on social media this week. But Wigan away is sure to make him smile in a season full of career highlights.

WIGAN: Al Habsi (Orsula 120), Stam, Ramis, Fyvie, Jones, Lopez, Watson, Redmond (Maloney 77), Gomez, Boselli, McManaman (Beausejour 77).

CITY: Duke, Darby, McArdle, McHugh, Meredith, Thompson (G Joned 56), Doyle, Atkinson, Hines (Baker 106), Wells (Connell 65), Hanson.

REFEREE: Roger East