Snowball fight helped Duke and his men make cup final history

Matt Duke saves a header
Matt Duke saves a header
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SHEFFIELD-born goalkeeper Matt Duke has revealed how a snowball fight played its part in securing Bradford’s Capital One Cup semi-final success over Aston Villa.

The Bantams became the first fourth-tier team to reach a major cup final at Wembley, losing 2-1 at Villa Park but progressing 4-3 on aggregate.

The West Yorks outfit, 3-1 to the good from the first leg thanks in large part to Duke’s heroics, had seen their preparations for the return leg hampered by the wintry weather.

City duly travelled to St George’s Park to train on Monday but the team bus got stuck in the snow en route, leading to an innocent snowball fight among the players which relieved any of the pre-match pressure on the League Two squad.

Asked whether there were any omens to Bradford’s semi-final triumph, Duke said: “I think a lot of the disruption yesterday if I’m honest. The preparation was all up in the air, we didn’t know what was going to happen with the bad weather. We couldn’t really train properly but we went to St George’s Park (the Football Association’s national football centre in Burton) to train.

“We meet the coach in Barlborough for some of the lads who travel and the coach driver pulls the coach in and it gets stuck, we’re all off the coach pushing it and trying to get it out. We’re all off the bus having a laugh, having a snowball fight. It was such an occasion that’s massive and we could over-tense - and we were having a laugh and a good time, that’s testament to the staff” said Duke who had a spell at Sheffield United.

“We’re just a good set of lads who get on and we had a good time, playing with snowballs. Little things like that disrupt the preparation and I think it’s quite good sometimes, it takes your mind of it.”