This is how it played out as Sunderland’s top group but suffered a penalty loss to Bradford City

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A 1-1 draw in regulation secured first place and a home draw in the next round, but the Black Cats once again failed to convince in a mediocre game.

They were led at the break by Theo Robinson’s goal, with Nathan Broadhead’s excellent finish saving a point early in the second half.

Feeling the need to develop the pace and fitness of his players before a ten day break, and perhaps brought on by recent form and the need for a result, Lee Johnson named by far his strongest side of the game. the competition so far.

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Alex Pritchard hits the bar with a late free kick

The first result was encouraging, even categorical.

Sunderland moved the ball at a decent pace, with Elliot Embleton influencing and making the first save when his deflected effort was recovered by Hornsby.

Bradford was blunt and initially ineffective, but the Black Cats began to work in what was a level playing field and quite uninspiring.

Vernam had the visitors’ first effort, a head comfortably saved by Hoffmann. They had the best effort of the opening half hour when a corner burst for Kelleher at the edge of the box, his effort firm but relatively easily saved.

Quality in the final third proved elusive for both teams, but Bradford took the lead by recycling another bad turn. Staunton took possession on the left and found it far too easy to drive to the signing, his low cross impressively transformed into the roof of the net by Robinson at close range.

The Black Cats had dominated possession but had little to show.

Falling behind at least elicited a response, with Dajaku moving closer as he spun picking up a Luke O’Nien through the ball, his effort ultimately too close to Hornsby.

Richardson had a half-chance at the back post moments later, but could only turn Gooch’s dangerous cross into the distance.

Sunderland picked up this momentum in the second half, a noticeable increase in their tempo. They were tied in ten minutes, an excellent pass from Embleton well recovered by Broadhead on his first touch and shot superbly into the far corner on his second. .

Although their last ball barely slipped the mark, the Black Cats dominated and pushed hard for a second as Bradford struggled to create momentum.

Johnson’s side should have taken the lead with twenty left, a terrible attempt to cut a long ball freeing Dajaku on goal. His effort was still too close to Hornsby and although it looked like substitute Harris had an open goal, his header was weak and allowed Bradford to recover and clear.

Although Sunderland continued to control possession, Bradford weathered the storm and began to create their own opportunities at the break.

They had a great chance of winning with just minutes to go, with Watt shooting at the far post after an excellent 50-50 challenge from Winchester kindly broke for the visitors.

Four minutes of stoppage time brought two major openings, with Pritchard crushing a free kick off the bar before Hoffmann saved superbly on the other end.

Although the group positions have already been fixed, both teams were forced to play a penalty for the bonus point.

Alex Pritchard and Lynden Gooch missed their efforts for the hosts, allowing Gareth Evans to seal the win for Bradford.

Sunderland XI: Hoffmann; Richardson, Alves, Younger, Gooch; Sohna (Winchester, 72), O’Nien; Dajaku, Pritchard, Embleton (Taylor, 72); Broad head (Harris, 56)

Subtitles: Burge, O’Brien, Wright, Dyce, Harris

Bradford City XI: Hornsby, Threlkeld, Cooke, Foulds, Vernam (Sutton, 60), Kelleher, Evans, Angol (Watt, 45), Robinson (Gilliead, 60), Staunton, Scales

Subtitles: O’Donnell, Canavan, Songo’o

Reservations: Gooch, 6 Pritchard, 43 Scales, 65

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