A second half goal from Adam Bailey-Dennis was enough to defeat Bradford (Park Avenue) at Woodside Park.
The visitors took an early lead as Richard Marshall’s free kick found its way past Carl Pentney from 20 yards. However, the Blues equalised with captain Reece Prestedge finding the bottom corner in the 45th minute. After half time, the hosts added a second goal as Bailey-Dennis’ strike found the back of the net from close range.
The Avenue manager John Deacey named only three substitutes for the trip to Woodside Park. Bradford winger Jamie Jackson was replaced by Aiden Savory who returned from suspension.
The sprinklers were turned on prior to kick off on a sunny afternoon, but, the visitors were trying to adapt their passing style of football to the conditions. However, the first attempt on goal from winger Paul Walker was blocked by Blues’ midfielder Alli Abdullahi from 16 yards.
Bradford captain Nathan Hotte nearly scored the opening goal of the game. Following a pass from Jordan Deacey, the midfielder dribbled past his marker, but his low effort was well saved by Carl Pentney.
From the save, the home side caught the Avenue on the counter attack. A neat through ball from captain Reece Prestedge found striker Billy Lobjoit, and his pull back was well struck by Prestedge, but John Lamb dived to push the ball wide.
After fifteen minutes, the away side troubled their opponents with a quick move. A one two between Michael Duckworth and Aiden Savory allowed the right winger to deliver a cross to the far post, but Marshall nodded over from six yards.
John Deacey was forced into making a change as Danny Holland replaced Jordan Deacey.
The Avenue took the lead from another long range effort from Richard Marshall. A foul on Hotte from Sean Francis saw the referee award a free kick on the edge of the box. Bradford’s number four stepped up and struck a right footed effort into the top corner from 20 yards.
Two minutes later, Rod Stringer’s men nearly equalised. A through ball to Prestedge was struck towards goal, but Lamb managed to get his hand to the ball and Duckworth cleared the ball off the line.
With half time approaching, the home side equalised. The Avenue were unable to clear the ball and an inside pass from Steve Cawley was controlled by Prestedge, who cut inside and placed the ball past Lamb from 10 yards.
HALF TIME: BISHOP’S STORTFORD 1-1 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
After the break, the Blues’ striker Lobjoit nearly added a second goal for his side. The number nine curled a fine effort from 25 yards, and with Lamb unable to make a save, the ball skimmed the bar.
Again, the home side threatened the Bradford goal. The Blues’ winger Harry Baker managed to dribble past two defenders but his dipping effort from 20 yards was too high to cause problems for Lamb.
Eventually, the home side took the lead. A long pass found Cawley, who controlled the ball into the path of centre back Adam Bailey-Dennis, and he side footed the ball past Lamb from eight yards.
Following the Blues’ vital second goal, the Avenue appeared to struggle to replicate their first half performance. John Deacey decided to introduce both Adam Baker and assistant manager Mark Hume to try and change the scoreline.
With five minutes remaining, Holland spotted the run of Baker, and the Bradford City loanee set himself to strike an effort on goal, but the young striker was denied an attempt after a well timed tackle from Johnny Herd.
FULL TIME: BISHOP’S STORTFORD 2-1 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
Bishop’s Stortford: Pentney, Sampayo, Herd, Prestedge (c), Bailey-Dennis, Francis, Johnson, Abdullahi, Lobjoit (Sappleton 84), Cawley (Waller Lassen 76), H. Baker.
Subs not used: Webb, Elmes, Greene
Scorers: Prestedge (45); Bailey-Dennis (61)
Bookings: Prestedge, Sappleton.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Duckworth, Price (Hume 83), Marshall, Ryan, Clayton, Savory, Hotte (c), Daly (A. Baker 64), Deacey (Holland 29), Walker.
Subs all used.
Scorers: Marshall (35)