IT WAS a case of frostbite rather than cup fever for City after a chilly first-round exit at Valley Parade.

The Bantams had hoped to prove themselves first among equals with League One visitors Shrewsbury.

Gary Bowyer had thrown down the gauntlet for his men to show they were good enough to compete with higher-level opponents.

And Adam Henley and Ben Richards-Everton had both suggested in the pre-match build-up that the two teams were on a level.

But it is Shrewsbury who go on to host Mansfield a week on Saturday after City were unable to see the job through.

Having cleared the first hurdle in four of the previous five seasons, they stumbled against a side who had failed to win in their last six Valley Parade visits.

Shrewsbury’s first victory in West Yorkshire since 2011 also cost City a £36,000 windfall in prize money – and any shot at a potential FA Cup bonanza when the big boys enter the fray after Christmas.

That will sting when it comes to the January transfer window, particularly if any League Two rivals go on to pull out a plum tie.

Bowyer had been able to call on two of his biggest hitters as James Vaughan and Harry Pritchard both returned. Jake Reeves was named on the bench after last week’s impressive comeback against Rochdale.

While promotion remains the obvious priority, the strong line-up was a clear sign of intent with the potential financial rewards at stake.

Brad Walker blazed an early effort high into the Kop but there was little in the opening exchanges to take minds off the bitter cold.

A lovely reverse pass from Pritchard lifted the volume and City produced the first threat from their second corner.

Callum Cooke’s set-piece was flicked across goal by Hope Akpan, Vaughan saw his shot blocked in a melee before Ben Richards-Everton glanced a header well wide.

As City came to life, Akpan was denied a 25th-minute opener by a superb strong-armed block from Joe Murphy at his near post. The rebound fell to Vaughan but centre half Ro-Shaun Williams smothered his follow-up in front of the Shrewsbury line.

The visitors had offered little in return for their neat passing play, other than a tame header from Donald Love that bounced straight through to Richard O’Donnell.

But they were almost gifted the lead when Anthony O’Connor was caught out as he tried to dribble out of defence.

Having turned away from two opponents, a heavy touch saw him lose possession to Shaun Whalley, who advanced on goal before drilling a low shot inches wide of the post.

The appearance of Reeves for a warm-up run caused a stir among the chattering teeth in the main stand but the first-half excitement had been fitful for the shivering Valley Parade audience.

City looked to pick things up attacking the Kop and Cooke’s fierce drive was finger-tipped round the post by Murphy. But the City midfielder wasn’t as close with a snatched second effort from the resulting corner.

Whalley thumped a 30-yard free-kick straight down O’Donnell’s throat before the visitors finally broke the deadlock on 66 minutes.

City failed to clear from a corner as Shrewsbury kept the ball alive. Love got into the box to drive in a low cross that was tucked in from close range by sub Dave Edwards, who had come on only 12 minutes earlier.

It was a moment of quality from former Sunderland winger Love to unlock a previously-untroubled home back four.

Frustration started to bubble in the stands as the visitors looked to slow proceedings down at any opportunity. Shrewsbury striker Jason Cummings was jeered off as he strolled towards the touchline when being subbed.

City looked to respond with Vaughan looping an off-balance header over the bar from Dylan Connolly’s cross in a crowded box.

But that was as close as they would get.

The closing stages saw plenty of huff and puff from those in claret and amber but little sense of opening up a Shrewsbury side who concede few goals.

Five added minutes offered hope of a dramatic finale but there was no match of January’s heroics when David Ball sealed a 4-3 sizzler deep in added time.

This game had no thrills and spills to match that – and ultimately no late saviour for the Bantams.

Now, as the cliché goes, it’s time to concentrate on the league.

CITY: O’Donnell 6, Henley 6, A O’Connor 6, Richards-Everton 6, Wood 6, Cooke 6, Akpan 7, Pritchard 6 (Devine 77min), Connolly 7, Vaughan 6, Oteh 6 (Mellor 77min). Subs (not used): P O’Connor, Reeves, Anderson, Ismail, Sykes-Kenworthy.

SHREWSBURY: Murphy 7, Ebanks-Landell 6, Williams 6, Beckles 7, Golbourne 6, Norburn 6, Walker 6 (Edwards 54min, 7), Love 7, Whalley 7 (Thompson 88mkin), Cummings 6 (Okenabirhie 68min), Laurent 6. Subs (not used): O’Leary, Pierre, Giles, John-Lewis.

REFEREE: Paul Marsden


MAN OF THE MATCH: Hope Akpan went as close as anyone to scoring for City and looked to get in the thick of it in his more advanced midfield role.