Bradford came from behind in the dying minutes to beat Leeds
Matt Smith put Leeds in front eight minutes from time
Billy Knott and James Hanson hit back immediately for Bradford
Luke Murphy was sent off for Leeds in the first half
By CRAIG HOPE
If Dave Hockaday is to prolong what appears a doomed existence as Leeds manager then a first West Yorkshire derby defeat in 28 years – in which another of his players was sent off and he was mocked by his own fans – will hardly aid his sorry cause.
The 56-year-old cut a shocked and lonely figure amid the cauldron of noise that greeted the climax of a pulsating tie which – for 115 seconds – had even threatened the most unlikely reprieve for the under-fire boss.
That two-minute period was the time between Matt Smith’s 82nd-minute breakthrough for 10-man Leeds and Billy Knott’s stunning leveller. Fast forward another 90 seconds and Bradford, thanks to James Hanson’s header, were in front.
The reward for the League One side – beaten finalists in this competition two years ago – is a trip to MK Dons – conquerors of Manchester United - in four weeks’ time.
Hockaday, though, cannot look beyond Saturday’s visit of Bolton. Indeed, he may not make it that far, for owner Massimo Cellino had exited Valley Parade even before the late drama and chants of 'You're getting sacked in the morning' emanating from the away end.
In the wake of last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Watford – in which Giuseppe Bellusci and Sam Byram were dismissed – there was talk that Cellino was set to axe the former Forest Green Rovers manager just five games into his surprise tenure.
But Hockaday has hardly been helped by his players’ indiscipline and Luke Murphy was red carded after just 31 minutes. The midfielder had already tried his damnedest to be sent off for a knee-high lunge on Gary Liddle before he collected a second yellow for an equally irresponsible challenge on James Meredith.
And Hockaday said: ‘One player has given us a mountain to climb. But we pretty much climbed that mountain.
‘The rest of the team were magnificent to a man. As the game wore on we got stronger and got our reward with the goal.
‘When we scored I was proud of the boys and then thought “right, how do we kill the game?”.
‘But sometimes you have to say “that’s a great strike”. Then we had to steady it down but a couple of lads slipped in the box and their player got the run on them and he’s scored the winner.'
Is Hockaday confident, then, he will see the weekend?
‘I’ve got a job to do and the players are behind me,’ he answered. ‘They have come to see me and they’re desperate to do well for Leeds.
‘We’ve been written off and we’re making it difficult for ourselves on the pitch with the red cards. But the team spirit is there and we have to take this on the chin.
'It’s a difficult situation and the sooner we win a game the better.
‘But my approach has just been one of determination. I’m a fighter, not a quitter. My concern is the team but I just feel things aren’t going their way.
‘In the dressing-room they are devastated and we do feel we can turn things around. We cannot wait for Saturday and that is where we are now looking.’
Opposite number Phil Parkinson, meanwhile, was thrilled with his side’s comeback, achieved thanks to Knott’s 25-yard fizzer and Hanson’s stooping header.
‘We created chances but we just had to be patient against 10 men. We went behind and it took a bit of inspiration from Billy to get us back in – it was top class,’ he said.
‘To then get the winner was brilliant and I’m proud of my players, it was a crazy end but it was a fantastic night for the club. It’s a big moment for this club because we know what it meant to the people of Bradford.
‘We gave everything to make a bit of history and won at Valley Parade for the first time in over 80 years.’