PROUD boss Danny Greaves saluted his Bradford Town heroes for booking their place in the last 16 of the FA Vase - even if he did get rather closer to the 1-0 win at Newport (IW) than he had anticipated.

Mark Wall's late strike earned the Wiltshire travellers the win on the Isle of Wight, but that was barely half the story with the visitors prevailing despite having goalkeeper Charlie Phillips sent off just 20 minutes into the contest.

Various injuries and lack of availability meant manager Greaves - an accomplished gloveman with experience at Bristol Rovers and Forest Green during his playing career - had named himself on the bench for the clash, with the 39-year-old then finding himself forced into action as Bradford prepared to play the remaining 70 minutes a man light.

"It didn't go according to the plan and was a bit eventful, particularly for myself,'' he told the Wiltshire Times.

"It was quite fortunate. We've usually got a full bench of outfield players, but we had a couple of injuries and a couple of unavailabilities, which meant I named myself on the bench. Luckily, I did.''

When a long ball over the top reared up off the playing surface and struck Phillips' arm during the early stages, the red card came out and Greaves suddenly found himself called upon.

"I knew straightaway as soon as it happened (that it was a red card and) that I was coming on,'' he added.

"I wasn't prepared. I didn't have my kit on. I usually give the boys who are on the bench a bit of stick for not being prepared, having their pads or shirt on or for things being left in the changing room, but this time it was me.

"I didn't do the warm-up and didn't have time to do anything. I quickly managed to get changed.

"There was about a five-minute delay and I was getting stick from the fans. But I finally got on and from the free kick, they (Newport) hit it wide, so it gave me a couple of seconds just to get into it.''

Despite that early setback, Bradford gallantly fought throughout the contest before Wall struck in the latter stages to send them into a last-16 tie at Vase favourites Marske United, in Redcar, early next month.

"We started the game extremely well for the first 20 minutes,'' added Greaves, who last pulled on the gloves competitively in a league game against Cadbury Heath last season.

"We were really lively and bright and created a number of chances. I was sat on the side thinking this could be a good afternoon for us. Then, when the sending off happens, your first thoughts are 'it's just not going to be our day.'

"But fortunately for us, we've had a bit of experience of going down to 10 men and we've put in a couple of good performances when we've gone down to 10 men.

"We've learned from it so we felt quite comfortable. Everybody knew their jobs and carried them out to the letter and even with the 10 men I thought we were the better side.

"It probably helped us in a way because we were a lot more disciplined in how we defended and got a lot more numbers behind the ball. We've got good attacking players so we were able to hit them on the counter-attack.''

Bradford, cheered on by a small army of supporters who had made the arduous trip across the Solent, then struck through Wall and Greaves added: "It was a massive relief when it went in and all the emotions you can think of go through your head.

"For me playing, it was probably better being on the pitch than on the sidelines because in a way you are in control of what's happening.

"The last 10 minutes actually went quite quickly from a playing point of view and we managed the game really well.

"All the way through the game we defended well and they protected me. I didn't really have a lot to do.''

Bradford will travel to face Marske United on Saturday, February 3 for a place in the quarter finals.