Lambert opted for an attacking side and the game got off to the high-tempo started we needed amid the choppy waters of a sea of claret and blue flags. Delph showed little composure and should have received a yellow card for his tackle on Hines in the opening minute but Phil Dowd let him off.
A resurrected N’Zogbia twice sent in dangerous-looking crosses for Benteke but the Belgian was unable to capitalise.
Benteke powered his way into the box and squared the ball into the path of Agbonlahor but McHugh was on hand to make a critical interception.
Villa’s inability to defend corners, which had cost them the first leg, returned to haunt them in the 11th minute: Hanson was freed to head a corner from Jones. Luckily, he headed wide.
Another cracking cross from N’Zogbia found Benteke, who this time shot straight at the Bradford keeper, Duke.
After 20 minutes, Duke made a smart save from Agbonlahor’s shot.
3 minutes later, the Bradford keeper was powerless to stop Benteke’s volley finding the net and Villa took the lead.
Duke was kept fairly busy for the remainder of the first half, tipping over shots from N’Zogbia and Ireland before watching an effort by Benteke scratching the bar. Benteke had a great chance to double Villa’s lead on the stroke of half time but he was a little wide.
Villa went into the break looking like they might, just might, repeat the heroics of the team of 1994… but came back from the break to concede yet another goal from a corner after ten minutes. The alarm bells began ringing for the claret and blue as Benteke cleared Jones’ initial effort but Jones was dogged and sent the ball back into the area for Hanson, who broke free of Vlaar and headed home.
With a minute of normal time to play, Weimann pounced on a flick on by Benteke and raced clear to dink the ball over Duke, putting Villa 2-1 up with 5 minutes of injury time to salvage the tie. But it wasn’t to be: winning 4-3 on aggregate, Bradford booked their place in the final.
As we scratch our heads and wonder how we can turn out shameful season around, we hope Bradford’s football fairy tale continues at Wembley. All the best to the Bantams who deserved the win over the two legs but who have left Lambert looking like he doesn’t have a leg to stand on…