Bradford (Park Avenue) dropped to 19th in the Vanarama Conference North with a narrow 2-1 defeat away at Brackley Town.
The loss, Avenue’s tenth of the season, was widely deemed an unlucky one as Avenue dominated for large periods and created several good chances.
Manager John Deacey made 2 forced changes to his starting line up from the North Ferriby game on Monday, Dan Clayton and Nathan Hotte both missing out through injury, to be replaced by Niall Heaton and debutant Fernando Moke. Deacey’s son Jordan started the last game of his loan deal from Telford.
Early on in the game neither side could settle in the game, the ball spending a lot of time in the air. But the three big attacking players for the hosts were causing the most problems.
And the hosts struck first with the first real chance of the match in the 11th minute.
The referee gave a free kick for handball 25 yards from goal. The kick was fairly central and in a good position for a strike, which is just what Brackley’s Ebby Nelson-Addy did, bending it round John Danby’s wall and into the bottom corner.
The goal woke Avenue up, as the visitors got the ball down and started playing some good football, but it was Brackley who created the next opening.
A long ball was flicked on to dangerous striker Will Green, who was in behind and got a shot off, but it was very well saved by the in-form Avenue goalkeeper John Danby.
Avenue came back and really started to control the game from the 20th minute. The visitors created some good chances mostly through Danny Frost, who had a couple of good chances thanks to balls from Moke and Deacey.
Moke was having a very good game, controlling the game brilliantly along with Jack Rea in the Avenue midfield, both wingers causing a number of problems for the home full backs.
The first great chance for the visitors came on 35 minutes. A slip from the defender allowed Joe Colbeck to nick the ball off him, before finding Chilaka with a pass inside, but the forward fired wide from inside the box when he had time and space.
Brackley were always dangerous on the break, however, and Green continued to cause problems. He worried Danby with a good effort from 20 yards which went just wide.
There was still time in the half for another gaping chance for Bradford. Colbeck put a great low ball in which was missed by both Chilaka and Frost at the near and far post respectively.
And in the third minute of added time, Brackley’s new loan keeper Dean Snedker made a great save from a Ryan Qualter header. The ball ran agonisingly across the line but Danny Frost just couldn’t get there and Avenue went into the break an undeserved 1 goal down.
Avenue continued to control the game into the second half, but it was clear they needed a goal before the break to get themselves back into the game. The best of the play continued to be through Colbeck and Howarth on the right hand side.
However the visitors needed Danby to come to their rescue again around 10 minutes into the half. A great move from Brackley left the Avenue defence stranded, and Curtis McDonald just needed to hit the back of the net, but Danby made a top save to deny his well-struck effort from 10 yards out.
Colbeck was there to prevent a goal on the hour, as Green broke from an Avenue corner, he squared it for a tap in for the waiting player, but Colbeck made it back brilliantly just in time to cut it out.
A few minutes later, the pacey winger was up the other end as he created a glorious chance. His cross deflected to Chilaka, who had time inside the box but lacked composure and miscued well wide.
John Deacey started to make his attacking substitutions, but that coincided with a loss of shape and Brackley took advantage of that not long after the final substitution.
Avenue had just changed to 3 at the back and were wide open as an innocuous long ball found Green, who scampered away and finally beat his nemesis Danby with a composed finish into the bottom corner.
Substitute midfielder Richard Marshall caused problems in the final 10 minutes and he won the free kick which gave Avenue hope.
Marshall was brought down from behind, and Joe Colbeck rasped the 25 yard free kick at goal, it took a slight deflection and nestled in the back of the net, getting the goal that his performance deserved.
But just a minute later Colbeck could have made it two, as Marshall did brilliantly, driving a ball across the box which was crying out for a tap in, only for Colbeck to somehow hit it straight to the Brackley keeper, who covered what of his goal he could very well.
That was that for the visitors, who left St. James’ Park disappointed not to take even a point, never mind all 3 that their performance probably warranted.
Brackley Town: Snedker, Samuels, Carruthers, Eddie Odhiambo, Sharpe, Austin (c), Nelson-Addy (Kaziboni 67), Whittall, Rowe, Green (Pearson 90), McDonald (Eric Odhiambo 58)
Unused Subs: Built, Curtis
Goals: Neslon-Addy (11), Green (80)
Bradford (Park Avenue): Danby, Howarth, Price (c) (Marshall 78), Rea, Qualter, Heaton, Colbeck, Moke, Chilaka (Colley 73), Deacey, Frost (Barraclough 69)
Unused Subs: Davis, Walker
Goal: Colbeck (87)
Referee: Simon Barrow