John Deacey’s men extended their impressive unbeaten run to four matches as Paul Walker’s 89th minute strike proved enough to steal all three points against Brackley Town at St James’ Park.
With stoppage-time approaching, the Avenue substitute Nicky Boshell flicked the ball into the feet of Walker, who cut inside onto his right foot, and fired a shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
In a quiet opening spell to the game, it was the home side that dug out the first chance as David Bridges fired a long range shot just over the bar.
The Avenue quickly responded with a chance of their own as Walker received the ball on the left flank before playing the ball inside to Richard Marshall, who sent a 25 yard strike just wide of the post.
John Brady’s men went close to the opener as Remy Clerima rose to power a header straight at goalkeeper John Lamb from a Glenn Walker corner.
Walker, the Saints winger, was involved again as his inswinging deep corner caught the swirling wind and crashed against the upper side of the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
At the opposite end of the pitch, the Avenue were denied by debutant goalkeeper Alex Lynch. The visitors defender James Knowles regained possession for his side and found his striker Paul Beesley, who neatly turned before striking a low drive from the edge of the box, but Lynch produced a fingertip save.
Shortly after, Chib Chilaka spotted Beasley’s forward run from the halfway line. Using his power, the striker outmuscled Ryan Austin to gather the ball under control, but the Saints captain did well to recover and intercept just before the shot.
Lamb narrowly avoided embarrassment as Lynch delivered a set piece from his own half that soared over the crowd of players in the box, before bouncing at the feet of Lamb in the Avenue goal, but the goalkeeper managed to flick the ball over his own bar for a corner.
Just before the whistle, the Avenue created the best chance of the half as Jordan Deacey broke down the left before curling a pass towards Grant Black who was unmarked in the area. But, the right back lost his footing and mishit his shot wide from 16 yards.
John Deacey’s men appeared from the interval with real intent as Chilaka attempted to recreate his wonder goal against Gainsborough Trinity, but sent a 30 yard strike just over.
Izak Reid then stung the fingertips of Lamb as he sent an audacious 35 yard free kick towards the top corner. The Avenue number one did well to cover across his goal line and parry the ball away.
The hosts continued to search for the winner, but were unable to find a way past Lamb.
Eddie Odhiambo received possession on the edge of the box, and the midfielder rifled an effort into a crowd of players. After low key protests for handball against the Avenue, the ball fell back into the feet of Odhiambo, but he fired another shot wide of the post.
Reid went close again for John Brady’s men as he curled a 25 yard free kick over the wall, and with Lamb stationary on his line, the ball clipped the top of the bar.
With one minute left on clock, Paul Walker produced the moment that sealed victory for the away side. The winger picked up the ball on the left wing before cutting inside and releasing a low 25 yard strike that whistled past Lynch into the far corner.
After the final whistle, the popular Avenue man spoke to the official website:
“It was good to get a win with a battling performance. The goal was all I had left. I caught it sweetly and to see it hit the back of the net was great.”
Brackley Town: Lynch, Clerima, Odhiambo, Bridges (Nisevic 79), Sharpe, Austin (capt), Reid, Solkhon, Moore, Diggin (Rowe 79), Walker (Story 88).
Subs not used: Langdon, Towers.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Black (Howarth 89), Drury, Marshall, Knowles, Qualter, Deacey, Hotte, Chilaka, Beesley (Boshell 78), Walker.
Subs not used: Maxfield, Clayton, Price.
Scorer: Walker (89).