Bradford manager Phil Parkinson admitted his players had far exceeded his expectations after seeing them inflict more embarrassment on top-flight opposition with a stunning 3-1 win over Aston Villa in last night's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.

Parkinson's npower League Two promotion-chasers, who upset Arsenal in a memorable penalty shootout triumph in the quarter-finals, edged closer to fulfilling a Wembley dream in front of another full house at Valley Parade and will defend a two-goal advantage in the return leg at Villa Park in two weeks' time.

carl mchugh

Nahki Wells' clinical finish, several top-class saves from man-of-the-match Matt Duke and some glaring Villa misses ensured Bradford took a slender lead into half-time.

Rory McArdle headed the West Yorkshire club into an unlikely two-goal lead in the 77th minute and although Andreas Weimann got one back in the 82nd minute, Carl McHugh restored their two-goal lead two minutes from time.

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  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City goalscorers Carl McHugh (left) and Rory McArdle celebrate at the final whistle following the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Carl McHugh of Bradford City (grounded) celebrates with team mates after scoring their third goal during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's goalkeeper Matt Duke checks on Aston Villa's Darren Bent as he lies injured

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's Christian Benteke trudges back to the half way line after Bradford's second goal

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's manager Paul Lambert stands dejected on the touchline

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Carl McHugh (second from the left) celebrates his goal with teammates during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's Christian Benteke and Darren Bent wait on the half way line after Bradford's second goal

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's Darren Bent screams out in pain after injuring his knee

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson on the touchline during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City fans celebrate in the stands at the final whistle following the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's Darren Bent screams out in pain after injuring his knee

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's manager Paul Lambert stands dejected on the side lines along side Darren Bent

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's manager Paul Lambert stands dejected on the side lines

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's Darren Bent

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's players trudge back to the half way line after Bradford's third goal

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Zavon Hines (left) and Aston Villa's Joe Bennett battle for the ball during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Zavon Hines has a shot on goal during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's Nathan Baker (left) and Bradford City's James Hanson battle for the ball during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's Christian Benteke and Charles N'Zogbia stand dejected after Bradford score the first goal

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Zavon Hines (left) and Aston Villa's Joe Bennett battle for the ball during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Carl McHugh scores his side's third goal during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert looks dejected at half-time during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Rory McArdle turns away to celebrate after scoring his side's second goal as Aston Villa players stand dejected during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Aston Villa's Christian Benteke rues a missed chance on goal

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Nahki Wells scores his side's first goal during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Nahki Wells scores his side's first goal during the Capital One Cup, Semi Final, First Leg match at the Coral Windows Stadium, Bradford.

  • Soccer - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Bradford City v Aston Villa - Coral Windows Stadium

    Bradford City's Nahki Well scores the first goal past Aston Villa's goalkeeper Shay Given

  • FBL-ENG-LCUP-BRADFORD-VILLA

    Bradford City's Bermudian forward Nahki Wells (L) is challenged by Aston Villa's English defender Nathan Baker during the English League Cup football match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at The Coral Windows Stadium in Bradford, England, on January 8, 2013. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Nahki Wells of Bradford City scores the opening goal past Shay Given of Aston Villa during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Fabian Delph of Aston Villa holds off a challenge from Gary Jones of Bradford City during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-LCUP-BRADFORD-VILLA

    Bradford City's Bermudian forward Nahki Wells (C) celebrates after scoring a goal against Aston Villa during the English League Cup football match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at The Coral Windows Stadium in Bradford, England, on January 8, 2013. Bradford won the match 3-1. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Nahki Wells of Bradford City scores the opening goal past Shay Given of Aston Villa during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Nahki Wells of Bradford City scores the opening goal past Shay Given of Aston Villa during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Rory McArdle of Bradford City gets a header past Joe Bennett of Aston Villa to score the second goal during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Nahki Wells of Bradford City beats a challenge from Nathan Baker of Aston Villa during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Paul Lambert the manager of Aston Villa walks from the pitch at half time during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Nahki Wells of Bradford City beats a challenge from Nathan Baker of Aston Villa during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-LCUP-BRADFORD-VILLA

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert attends the English League Cup football match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at The Coral Windows Stadium in Bradford, England, on January 8, 2013. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Nahki Wells of Bradford City scores the opening goal past Shay Given of Aston Villa during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-LCUP-BRADFORD-VILLA

    Bradford City's Bermudian forward Nahki Wells (L) is challenged by Aston Villa's English defender Nathan Baker during the English League Cup football match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at The Coral Windows Stadium in Bradford, England, on January 8, 2013. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Carl McHugh of Bradford City scores their third goal during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Bradford City v Aston Villa - Capital One Cup Semi-Final

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Carl McHugh of Bradford City (grounded) celebrates with team mates after scoring their third goal during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Bradford City and Aston Villa at Coral Windows Stadium, Valley Parade on January 8, 2013 in Bradford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

"I was asked before the game on the TV, would we take a draw? I said 'yes'," Parkinson said. "Obviously we would have taken a draw.

"We didn't set out to get a draw, we actually set out to win the game, but if we had been going there with a draw it wouldn't have been the worse scenario in the world.

"To be going there two goals ahead is great. We said to the lads before the game that if Villa are going to get to Wembley we're going to really make them earn it."

A crowd of 22,245, swelled by Villa's 4,313 travelling fans, were treated to another thrilling cup upset.