With two of the three cup competitions that City regularly participate in now scrapping extra-time in favour of heading straight to a penalty shootout (the League Cup and the Football League Trophy), it’s no surprise the shootout becoming a more and more important way of settling a game.
Unfortunately, City’s exit at the hands of Macclesfield via the penalty spot this season didn’t favour the Bantams – but not so long ago, we were regarded as the penalty shootout kings. So what’s our overall record like from 12 yards in a shootout?
Origins of the shootout format
Following success across various leagues and competitions in mainland Europe like the Coppa Italia, the FA finally bit the bullet in 1970 and introduced penalty shootouts. Prior to that, cup ties would be decided by as many replays as possible to determine a winner; it wasn’t uncommon for games to go to second, third or even fourth replays.
Yet it wasn’t until the 1991-92 season when they were introduced to settle games which were still level after one replay, the format the FA Cup still operates under to this day. City flirted with the odd shootout here and there prior to the new millennium – but it wasn’t until after that when they found themselves regularly taking penalties to determine games.
City’s early history from the spot
City’s first shootout in all competitions came in the short-lived Football League Group Cup, introduced as a replacement for the Anglo-Scottish Cup in 1981-82 season. City lost 4-3 to Shrewsbury on penalties in the quarter-finals, after a 1-1 draw after extra-time.
The following season, in exactly the same stage of the same competition almost a year to the day, City were again beaten on penalties in the quarter-finals, this time away at Millwall. The result of the shootout was 4-2. And that was that for City and penalties – until all the way into 2003.
The new millennium and penalties
By the time City stepped up in a shootout again, they had been in and out of the Premier League for two seasons, and financial difficulties were beginning to take their hold. It was to lower-league opposition in the shape of Darlington – with City again failing to win their first shootout, going out 5-3 after a 0-0 draw, Tom Kearney missing the decisive penalty.
By the time we played a penalty shootout again – once more in the first round of the League Cup, this time at Carlisle – City fans could have been forgiven for thinking they’d never win a shootout. After a 1-1 draw, the Bantams lost 4-3 on penalties; Dean Windass and Alan Rogers missing. From there though, City went on a quite unbelievable run.
A record penalty shootout run
It took until 2009 for City’s first penalty shootout victory, when Simon Eastwood saved from fellow keeper Kasper Schmeichel to help the Bantams knock Notts County out of the Football League Trophy. Less than a month later, City did the same to Port Vale to reach the area semi-finals – though they were beaten by Carlisle 3-0.
Fast forward to August 2011, and City won their third straight shootout, this time knocking Sheffield Wednesday out of the Football League Trophy. The same season, Huddersfield were handed the same fate after a 2-2 draw following 120 minutes.
Four straight wins became five a month later, this time when Sheffield United were dispatched on penalties. The following season, Jon McLaughlin was the hero as Hartlepool were dumped out from the spot.
Then, of course, things began to get seriously high-profile. The legendary history-making season of 2012/13 saw another three penalty shootout wins; the Hartlepool one and the victory against Northampton in the first round of the FA Cup are footnotes on that season – given how two Premier League sides, Wigan and Arsenal, were beaten on penalties. Goalkeeper Matt Duke will forever be remembered for his exploits between the posts on both occasions.
But amazingly, that night under the lights against Arsene Wenger’s side remains the last time City have won a shootout. Since then, defeats to York and Bury in the same season (in the League Cup and FA Cup respectively) have been followed by defeats to Accrington (a staggering 11-10 final scoreline, in which City keeper Colin Doyle scored) and the recent defeat to Macclesfield.
That means after losing their first four shootouts, then winning their next nine, City lost four in a row once again – a run which ended in September when Everton’s academy side were beaten in the Checkatrade Trophy on penalties.
City’s record in penalty shootouts in all competitions
Played: 18 Won: 10 Lost: 8