Aaron McLean’s controversial late goal knocked Morecambe out of the Capital One Cup as 2013 finalists Bradford moved into round two.
The Shrimps were adamant a hand was used as the striker bundled the ball home on 82 minutes but referee Scott Duncan awarded the goal that ultimately eliminated Jim Bentley’s side at the Globe Arena.
The visitors made the brighter start, Billy Clarke keeping Barry Roche interested with a speculative volley from 20 yards that went wide of the Shrimps ‘keeper’s left-hand post eight minutes in.
At the other end, having had to sit in early on, Jack Redshaw showed the threat he posed by getting in round the back of Alan Sheehan on 12 minutes but his chipped effort with the outside of his right foot from a narrow angle went wide of the far post.
In an even game the Shrimps were next to go close on 21 minutes with a well-worked corner routine.
Redshaw came short as a decoy with Jamie Devitt firing the ball to the back post where Alan Goodall rose highest, nodding into the path of Andy Wright who headed over from eight yards out.
Bradford’s big number nine James Hanson had the next sight of goal but after cutting in on the left edge of the area just before the half hour his shot was blocked by the outstretched leg of Andy Parrish in front of the diving Roche.
Matthew Dolan’s deflected shot on 32 minutes then had Roche scrambling but went narrowly wide of the big Dubliner’s right-hand post.
As for the Shrimps they had a couple of speculative shots from distance before Ryan Williams fired a 25-yard shot straight at Ben Williams four minutes before the interval.
It was Bradford however who came the closest to going into the half-time break ahead, Hanson’s downward header from eight yards beating Roche only for it to be cleared off the line by Shrimps skipper Hughes.
The Shrimps had the first shot in anger after the interval, Kevin Ellison battling hard to retain possession before getting the ball back from Redshaw and curling a right foot shot from the edge of the area high and wide on 52 minutes.
For the Bantams, it was once again Hanson who was at the centre of things, his dipping volley going wide less than 60 seconds later.
The hosts had their best chance shortly before the hour mark, Redshaw bringing the ball over half way before feeding Wright whose whipped right-wing cross was headed wide by Ellison from 10 yards out.
Both sides rang the changes with one replacement, former Hull man McLean, testing Roche with a low shot from 25 yards that was no trouble for the Shrimps stopper.
The lively Paul Mullin then looked to enhance his growing reputation after replacing Ellison, but his shot from 20 yards with a quarter of an hour to play was always rising as extra-time loomed large at the Globe Arena.
But it soon looked a long way away when McLean gave Bradford a controversial lead eight minutes from time.
Taking a chipped cross from the left the striker poked the goalwards and his initial shot was saved by Roche with the ball rebounding to McLean who appeared to help the ball over the line with his arm as Morecambe appealed for handball.
The Shrimps surrounded referee Duncan but the man in the middle stood firm and awarded the goal.
The hosts pushed for a late leveller to force the extra 30 minutes and Mullin came close, driving forward and shooting from 15 yards with his shot stinging the palms of Ben Williams before being cleared.
But it wasn’t to be as the Shrimps couldn’t repeat their League Cup exploits of recent seasons and went out wondering what might have been.
Morecambe: Roche, Wright, Hughes (capt), Parrish, Wilson, Goodall, Williams (Amond 61), Fleming, Ellison (Mullin 61), Devitt (Kenyon 85), Redshaw. Subs not used: Arestidou, Sampson, Drummond, Doyle.
Booked: Ellison, Fleming
Bradford City: Williams, Darby (capt), Sheehan, McArdle, Merdith, Morais (Knott 69), Kennedy, Dolan, Yeates (McLean 69), Hanson, Clarke (Shariff 78). Subs not used: Urwin, Davies, McBurnie, Pollard.
Attendance: 2,395 (971 away)
Referee: Scott Duncan