22:31 Thursday 02 May 2013

Bradford City 2, Burton Albion 3

Written byTOM SLOAN

BURTON Albion took a step towards Wembley last night as they beat Bradford City 3-2 in a pulsating play-off semi-final first leg at Valley Parade.

It was a terrific performance from the brave Brewers, who were written off before kick-off by the bookies and most pundits.

And it could have been even better for them as they led 2-0 and then 3-1 on a thrilling night in Yorkshire.

Calvin Zola smashed two in six first-half minutes to stun the home crowd before Nahki Wells scored from the spot after a Damien McCrory handball.

With half-time looming, Robbie Weir swept home Alex MacDonald’s cross to send the 600-odd Albion fans into raptures.

In a nip and tuck second half, Garry Thompson netted a second for the Bantams with quarter of an hour left to set up a storming end to the encounter.

But Gary Rowett’s men stood firm against an aerial barrage to take their slender advantage into Sunday’s second leg.

They set about Bradford in a confident manner and their 4-1-4-1 formation proved to be anything but negative.

Zander Diamond, in a defensive midfield role, was outstanding, while Zola was clinical in front of goal.

But everyone chipped in from front to back – and a repeat showing on Sunday will surely put Albion in the final and on the verge of League One.

See tomorrow’s Burton Mail for a full report

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