Sunday 21 January 2018

McHugh brings Given back down to earth in Bradford shock win over Villa

Carl McHugh scores his side's third goal
Carl McHugh scores his side's third goal

Jamie Holland

DONEGAL teenager Carl McHugh piled on the misery for childhood hero Shay Given as Bradford City took a giant step towards an unlikely Wembley appearance.

The League Two side scored a shock 3-1 win over their Premier League visitors in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final, with McHugh popping up with the third in the dying stages to give the underdogs a two-goal advantage.

McHugh (above), a good friend of Donegal All-Ireland hero Paddy McBrearty, joined Bradford at the beginning of the season after parting company with Reading.

He spent a period of time on loan with League of Ireland side Dundalk in 2011. The 19-year-old is now 90 minutes away from a major cup final in Wembley.

It was a desperately disappointing evening for Given, who was enjoying his first back-to-back starts since August, but the Valley Parade experience quickly brought the veteran down to earth.

Inside 19 minutes, he was picking the ball out of his net after Nahki Wells struck for the minnows. And it got worse in the 77th minute as Northern Ireland’s Rory McArdle powered home a second, before Andreas Weimann grabbed a goal back for Villa. But then McHugh rose highest to grab the headlines.

“It’s all a bit of a blur,” said a delighted McHugh afterwards. “It’s unbelievable to think I scored past him (Shay Given). It’s a dream come true.”

The concessions will have done little to remove the cloud of uncertainty over the 36-year-old, who started Villa’s two opening Premier League games before losing his place to Brad Guzan.

Given, who is contemplating a return to international football, is keen to secure regular action away from Villa. However, the prospect of a Wembley date might encourage him to stick around.

Irish Independent

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