Bradford 0-0 Wednesday (3-1 pens)
Valley Parade, Bradford
30/08/11 - 7.45pm
AN UNDERSTRENGTH Wednesday side bowed out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at the first round stage after suffering a penalty shoot-out defeat against League Two side Bradford City at Valley Parade.
The competition is way down on Wednesday's list of priorities this season - and it showed with Gary Megson's team selection, and the decision to make three substitions early in the first half to get around competition rules.
Rules state clubs are required to select at least six players from their last league outing. Wednesday did, but then swiftly made three substitutions, and with a smirk from Megson on the Owls bench - we knew, that they knew exactly what they were doing.
Wednesday, even with the high number of changes, had the better of the first half and could have found themselves ahead had Clinton Morrison made more of a good chance, but the Bantams, watched by new boss Phil Parkinson, improved on the resumption and will have felt they deserved to progress on the chances they created.
Megson saw the competition as the ideal opportunity to blood some of the club's youngsters, giving a debut to 16-year-old defender Ayo Obileye, who played in the now infamous 14-0 thrashing at Alfreton Town in a pre-season friendly.
Fringe players such as Mark Reynolds, Mark Beevers, James O'Connor, Danny Uchechi also got the nod. And it took just two minutes for Megson to make his first change, taking off Nicky Weaver, the Owls goalkeeper, to be replaced by Richard O'Donnell.
There was a slow pace in the opening exchanges with neither side threatening an attempt on goal. Bantams hitman Mark Stewart thought he was in on goal but Reynolds got back to divert the danger behind for a corner.
But if anything, the visitors actually improved after Megson made two more changes, introducing Cecil Nyoni and Giles Coke in place of David Prutton and Jose Semedo respectively.
The changes resulted in the Owls having more of the ball, with Bradford struggling to get out of their own half for long spells. But for Wednesday's pressure, they didn't create too many chances. Morrison did have two half chances but they were comfortably dealt with by the Bantams defence.
Wednesday's best chance of the half came when Morrison took advantage of some sloppy City defending but saw his effort brilliantly saved by Oscar Jansson, the Bradford goalkeeper.
Parkinson's side struggled at the other end but did have a good opportunity of their own on the stroke of half-time James Hanson headed wide when he should have done better.
Half-Time: Bradford 0-0 Wednesday
The Bantams, who collected their first win of the season at the weekend, carried their momentum into the second half and made a bright start when Jack Compton nipped in to take advantage of a poor back-pass by Oboleye only to see O'Donnell make a fine save.
The Bantams were enjoying the best of the early exchanges of the second half, with Wednesday's only real chance coming from a long-range James O'Connor strike.
At the other end, where most of the second-half action was taking place, the hosts thought they'd broke the deadlock when Luke Oliver headed towards goal but Nyoni cleared his effort off the line.
If anyone was going to win it looked like it was going to be Bradford, and O'Donnell again came to the Owls' rescue when he made a top-drawer save to deny a stinging Ritchie Jones strike seven minutes from time.
It went to spot-kicks, and both Morrison and Liam Palmer missed their efforts to give the Bantams the advantage. City scored all their spot-kicks, and a miss from Chris Sedgwick meant the hosts progressed to the second round.
Full-Time: Bradford 0-0 Wednesday (3-1 pens)
Bradford: Jansson, Flynn, Branston, Oliver, Stewart (Hannah 62), Jones, Hanson, Compton (O'Brien 85), Mitchell (Bryan 72), Moore, Threlfall. Unused substitutes: McLaughlin, Hunt.
Owls: Weaver (O'Donnell 2), Palmer, Obileye, Beevers, Reynolds, Semedo (Coke 18), Prutton (Nyoni 18), Sedgwick, O'Connor, Morrison, Uchechi. Unused substitutes: Lines, Madine.