Bradford (Park Avenue) continued their impressive form with a victory against Boston United at the Jakemans Stadium in The Skrill North.
The Avenue took an early lead as Alex Davidson struck a low shot past Ashley Timms in the Boston United goal. Five minutes later, the visitors extended their advantage with Walker finishing a well worked move. After half time, the Pilgrims’ pressure resulted in their first goal as Marc Newsham’s superb strike was too good for John Lamb to save. The Avenue centre back Steve Mallory scored his third goal of the season before Newsham made it a tense finish with his second goal of the game.
For the fourth consecutive game, John Deacey kept faith with the same starting eleven that drew against Solihull Moors on Saturday.
With only one minute on the clock, the home side created the first opportunity. A cross from midfielder Ian Ross was deflected into the path of Spencer Weir-Daley, but his effort went wide as the linesman raised his flag to award an offside decision.
However, the away responded to open the scoring. A neat flick from Nicky Boshell found Davidson, and his driven right-footed shot went into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Two minutes later, the Avenue nearly added a second. Initially, Richard Marshall looked for his winger Paul Walker, but his pass bounced back into the feet of the midfielder from the referee and his long range strike drifted wide.
However, Dennis Greene’s men looked for an equaliser from a corner. A right-footed delivery from Ian Ross was met by centre back Scott Garner, but his header went wide from eight yards.
Nevertheless, the Avenue took a two-goal lead with an excellent team effort. A diagonal pass from Walker was controlled by Chib Chilaka and the winger’s low cross saw Davidson dummy a shot on the edge of the box and Walker slotted the ball home from 14 yards.
From the restart, the Pilgrims tried to reduce the arrears. The ball was worked into the feet of Weir-Daley but his right-footed shot sailed wide from 18 yards.
The travelling Avenue supporters nearly celebrated a third goal. After keeping possession, with several one-touch passes, Marshall curled a right-footed effort from 25 yards. The midfielder’s shot was pushed away by the Pilgrims’ goalkeeper Timms and Chilaka was alert to put the ball home, but the number seven was offside.
Shortly after, the visitors forced Timms into a fine save. Davidson saw enough space to drive towards the Pilgrims goal, but picked out Chilaka and his left-footed shot drew a superb save from the goalkeeper.
In an entertaining first half, the attempts on goal from both teams continued. For the home side, Ricky Miller saw a left-footed shot deflected wide. Also, Weir-Daley tested Lamb with a low strike and despite not holding onto the shot, the visitors left back Jamie Price was first to the ball and cleared the ball away.
At the opposite end of the pitch, John Deacey’s men were looking to trouble Timms. Following strong work from Chilaka, the ball was played to Davidson but his chip was easily caught by Timms. Meanwhile, Boston United’s number one was stationary as Boshell’s cross was struck by Chilaka on the turn, but his effort was deflected wide.
With half time approaching, Boshell was withdrawn and replaced by Ross Daly. However, the home side continued to look dangerous as Ross provided another cross, but Newsham’s header was caught by Lamb from 12 yards.
HALF TIME: BOSTON UNITED 0-2 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
After the break, the Pilgrims hit the woodwork. As the ball fell to Miller, his low shot from 20 yards struck the bottom of the post, the ball trickled along the goal-line and eventually, cleared away by the Avenue defence.
Furthermore, the home side were getting closer to scoring their first goal of the game. A through ball from Garner found Weir-Daley on the edge of the penalty area, but his low shot was inches wide of the post.
Eventually, the home side reduced the Avenue’s lead. After losing possession to the home side, Weir-Daley spotted Newsham and his exquisite shot flew over Lamb into the roof of the net from 25 yards.
Two minutes later, Ross nearly equalised. A free-kick was awarded, 25 yards from goal, and the Pilgrims’ midfielder curled an effort over the wall, but Lamb dived to push the ball wide.
Against the run of play, the Avenue regained a two-goal lead. A corner from Walker was not dealt with by the Pilgrims defence and Mallory was unmarked to tap home from two yards.
With their advantage, the Avenue looked for a fourth goal. Firstly, Walker received the ball from a throw-in and fired a low effort wide from 25 yards. Also, a 30 yard run from Mallory allowed the defender to find Davidson and the striker set Marshall away. But his right-footed shot ricocheted inside the box and the ball went wide.
On the counter attack, the Avenue were looking to settle the tie. A through ball from Marshall found Davidson who ran with the ball into the opposition penalty area and his shot forced Timms into a fine save. From the corner, Knowles headed over from ten yards.
With eight minutes remaining, Boston United were awarded a penalty. A clumsy foul from Mallory on Miller saw referee Ricky Wootton point to the penalty spot. A low right-footed shot from Newsham brought the Pilgrims back into the game.
Somehow, the Avenue held onto a victory.
With the visitors struggling to get out their own half, the Pilgrims created several chances to equalise. Boston United substitute Ben Fairclough fired an effort from 25 yards which took a deflection, but the ball narrowly went over the bar.
Soon after, Lamb had to be alert to deny Newsham a hat-trick. A flick from the striker appeared to find the roof of the net, but the Avenue goalkeeper made sure and tipped the ball over the bar.
With only seconds left, the home side came close to scoring a late equaliser. A delivery from Ross found its way to substitute Charley Sanders, but his left-footed strike flew wide of Lamb’s far post.
FULL TIME: BOSTON UNITED 2-3 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
Boston United: Timms, Bore, Sansara, C. Marshall (Sanders 89), Garner (Milnes 73), Piergianni, Ross, Galinski, Miller, Newsham, Weir-Daley (Fairclough 80).
Subs not used: Dongo, Vince.
Scorers: Newsham (56), (pen 82).
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Howarth, Price, R. Marshall, Knowles, Mallory, Chilaka, Hotte, Davidson (Corner 86), Boshell (Daly 35), Walker.
Subs not used: Clamp, St Juste, McMurray.
Scorers: Davidson (5), Walker (10), Mallory (60).