FA Cup giant-killers Bradford City and Championship Reading played out a full-blooded 0-0 draw in their quarter-final on Saturday to force a replay with a Wembley semi-final at stake.
Third tier Bradford, who knocked out Premier League leaders Chelsea and Sunderland in a remarkable run to the last eight, dominated much of the second half but were unable to break down Reading’s resolute defence.
Despite living a charmed life, second tier Reading could have won it in the closing minutes when Oliver Norwood’s looping free kick hit the post and caused havoc in the Bradford area.
Aston Villa host midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion later on Saturday, Liverpool entertain Championship Blackburn Rovers on Sunday and holders Arsenal visit Manchester United on Monday.
“It was just two teams going at it 100 percent in a proper cup tie and it was difficult for both sides I think,” Bradford forward Jon Stead told BT Sport.
“We’re still in the hat but there’s a little bit of disappointment because we’ve not got through.
“We (dominated) the second half so that we can take great credit from but it’s half a job so we’ve still got to do the business down there.”
With a heavy pitch making attacking play difficult both sides were content to hit speculative long-balls.
Reading produced the first moment of quality when Russian Pavel Pogrebnyak’s well-struck shot cannoned off the post.
Bradford carved out the next opportunity when Gary Liddle’s teasing deep cross evaded everyone before clipping the outside of the post.
Stead, who had scored in each previous round, was Bradford’s focal point after halftime as they continued to lay siege to the visitors’ goal.
The former Sunderland forward set up James Hanson to slide a shot inches wide before Andrew Davies’s bullet header flew narrowly over the bar.
Reading brought on veteran Nigerian forward Yakubu in the closing stages and he was at the heart of Reading’s best chance in the 85th minute.
Norwood’s hanging free kick struck the far post, prompting a frantic scramble inside the area but Bradford cleared the danger.