Watford 1-2 Bradford City
A NINETIETH minute goal from Garry Thompson dumped Watford out of the Capital One Cup at the second round stage when the game looked set for extra-time.
Ikechi Anya put Watford in the lead on his full debut with 19 minutes left to play before Kyel Reid put the Bantams back on level terms. With extra time looming, Thompson grabbed a last-gasp winner for Phil Parkinson's side.
Gianfranco Zola made wholesale changes with Jonathan Bond, Lee Hodson, Carl Dickinson, Adam Thompson, Craig Forsyth, Ross Jenkins, Ikechi Anya, Geoffrey Mujangi Bia and Steve Leo Beleck all coming into the side. Only Jonathan Hogg and Martin Taylor remained in the side from Saturday's victory over Birmingham City.
In a slow game, it took until the 18th minute for either side to register an effort on goal, the first attempt going the way of the visitors.
Former West Ham and Burnley forward Zavon Hines raced onto a poor clearance from Dickinson before thrashing a right-footed effort across the face of goal. Alan Connell was on the end of the cross, firing powerfully against a combination of post and the palm of Bond.
Eleven minutes later Watford had their first sight of goal when Mujangi Bia cut in from the right-hand side before pinging a left-footed effort narrowly wide of Jon McLaughlin's right-hand post.
Three minutes last Mujangi Bia combined combined with fellow loanee Beleck who saw his effort on the run pushed over by McLaughlin.
In the 35th minute Bradford skipper Gary Jones seized on a poor clearance, thundering a powerful right-footed drive towards the bottom left-hand corner where Bond was at full-stretch to tip it round the post.
Ten minutes into the second-half Anya fired his first warning shot, skipping past his marker with ease and firing in a cross which Forsyth met awkwardly on the run.
Just after the hour mark Anya threatened again when he made progress down the right flank before firing a low cross-cum-shot wide of the far post.
In the 71st minute, Watford did take the lead through Anya who half-volleyed past McLaughlin and into the top corner after Beleck had failed to control a long-ball into the penalty area.
Hodson was the next to make hay down the right-hand side, tricking his way past the Bantam's full-back before seeing his cross headed out to the edge of the area where substitute Almen Abdi half volleyed against the base of the post.
With just five minutes left to play, a free-kick from just inside Watford's half wasn't cleared and Reid was the man on-hand to bury the equaliser from close-range.
In the 90th minute Bradford completed the turnaround as another free-kick wasn't properly dealt with, Thompson securing the win for Phil Parkinson's side.
Ironically a better showing than the Wycombe Wanderers match in the previous round, yet Watford had nothing to show for it. With bigger fish to fry, League Cup matches will only be missed as an opportunity to rotate the large squad.
Watford: Bond 7; Thompson 7, Taylor (c) 6, Dickinson 5; Hodson 6, Hogg 6 (Hogg), Jenkins 6, Forsyth 6; Anya 7 (Murray), Beleck 6 & Mujangi Bia 6 (Vydra).
Subs not used: Almunia (GK), Doyley, Garner, Cassetti.
Bradford City: McLaughlin; Derby, Oliver, Meredith (Hanson), McHugh; Thompson, Jones (c) (Doyle), McArdle, Atkinson; Connell & Hines (Reid).
Subs not used: Duke (GK), Bass, Hannah & Baker.
Referee: Mr C Sarginson.