A first-half goal from Paul Beesley saw Bradford (Park Avenue) record their third successive victory, with a win against Barrow AFC at The Furness Building Society Stadium.
The Avenue scored the one and only goal of the game as Chib Chilaka’s quick footwork, near the post, allowed the striker to spot Beesley, who fired the ball past Tony McMillan from close range.
On a bright afternoon in Cumbria the visitors nearly took an early lead. A driven corner from Jordan Deacey was collected by Paul Walker at the far post. The winger was able to toe-poke the ball to Beesley, but his right-footed effort blazed over from eight yards.
Then, the Avenue broke the deadlock. Deacey kept hold of possession, despite good pressure from the Bluebirds, and eventually passed the ball to Walker. A quick flick from the winger found Chilaka, and the striker produced some exquisite footwork to lay the ball inside to Beesley to blast home from six yards.
Shortly after, the hosts nearly equalised with some excellent football. A lovely diagonal ball found right-back Andrew Burns, who delivered a teasing cross into the penalty area. But, Gareth Arnison could only nod over from eight yards.
Despite leading, John Deacey’s men were dealt a double blow. Firstly, Grant Black was forced off with a knock and was replaced by the versatile Chris Howarth. Minutes later, the Avenue’s goalscorer Beesley picked up an injury, and was brought off with Scott Maxfield introduced into the centre of midfield, allowing Jordan Deacey to take a more advanced role.
With half time approaching, the home side forced the Avenue goalkeeper John Lamb to make two good saves.
The Bluebirds’ left-back Paul Edwards found midfielder Paddy Lacey, and from distance, Lacey unleashed a fierce right-footed strike, but Lamb was alert to save at his near post.
Again, Lamb denied the hosts an equaliser. A free-kick was awarded, 25 yards from goal and Duran Reynolds stepped up and struck a powerful left-footed shot, only for Lamb to dive to his right and push the ball wide.
After the break, the visitors started well and nearly doubled their advantage.
After several neat passes, Richard Marshall played a one-two with Walker, and the midfielder drove towards goal, but his right-footed effort from 12 yards was saved by McMillan.
After Marshall’s shot, the Avenue were looking for Chilaka to extend their lead. Howarth received a pass on the right flank and, with his right-foot, spotted the run of the striker. But, at full-stretch, Chilaka could only head the ball wide from 12 yards.
Darren Edmondson decided to make a triple substitution, bringing on Liam Willis, Ted Cribley and Phil Marsh for Edwards, Alex-Ray Harvey and Gareth Arnison respectively.
And, the substitutions nearly made an immediate impact for the Bluebirds.
After finding space, Marsh, on loan from Guiseley AFC, tried his luck from long range, but his 25 yard shot deflected off the legs of Maxfield and, with Lamb scrambling across his goal, the ball went narrowly wide.
Late in the game, the hosts were trying to find a way through the stubborn Avenue defence. But, again, the home side were restricted to a long range shot for their final chance of the game. Joe Mwasile collected possession on the edge of the box, but his left-footed effort flew over the bar from 20 yards.
Barrow AFC: McMillan, Burns, Edwards (Willis 65), Lacey, Williams, Reynolds, Harvey (Cribley 65), Sheridan, Rushton, Arnison (Marsh 65), Mwasile.
Subs not used: Davies, Parkinson.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Black (Howarth 22), Drury, Marshall, Qualter, Howarth, Deacey, Price, Chilaka, Beesley (Maxfield 32), Walker.
Subs not used: Harris, Hotte, Davidson.
Scorer: Beesley (16)