Bradford (Park Avenue) fell to a second consecutive defeat, suffering a narrow loss to fellow newcomers Brackley Town at the Horsfall Stadium.
John Deacey was able to recall Michael Duckworth from a virus, replacing Tom Greaves, who was joined by two players on the bench nearing full fitness; Matty James and Alex Davidson.
In hot conditions, both sides were appearing to pace themselves for a long afternoon, as the first half suffered from a lack of several goalscoring opportunities.
The home side created the first shot at goal, as winger Michael Duckworth drove forward, and laid the ball to Danny Holland, but, the striker saw his curled shot, from 20 yards, drag wide.
However, Brackley Town fought their way back into the game. Firstly, the away side’s striker Gary Mulligan was able to dribble the ball past Martin Drury, and delivered a cross into the box, but, Glenn Walker could only head straight at Tim Deasy. Furthermore, Brackley’s highest goalscorer; Owen Story, nearly added another for the season, however, his long range shot faded wide of the far post.
John Deacey’s side were looking to catch the visitors on the counter attack. Once again, Danny Holland attempted to curl the ball past Billy Turley, only for the experienced goalkeeper to push his effort away from 20 yards. Nevertheless, the Avenue kept the pressure on the Brackley Town defence, and Paul Walker’s far post cross was headed by Michael Duckworth, and Turley made another fine save, to tip the ball wide.
Shortly after the half hour mark, Bradford had a goal disallowed. The Avenue left back Martin Drury swung a cross into the penalty area, and after Duckworth’s flick, Danny Holland acrobatically struck the ball past Billy Turley, only for the linesman to award offside.
HALF TIME: BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 0-0 BRACKLEY TOWN
Two minutes after half time, the visitors took the lead. A free kick was awarded after a foul by Liam Wakefield on Glenn Walker. The ball was delivered into the box from Owen Story and a flicked header by Gary Mulligan went over Tim Deasy from 12 yards.
The away side tried their luck from distance to double their lead. A free kick was awarded on the half way line, and Wayne Hatswell tried to catch Deasy off his line, only for the ball to skim the post.
However, the home side were trying to equalise, but, were struggling to break down the stubborn Brackley Town defence. John Deacey introduced Matty James and Tom Greaves, and when the Avenue had possession, it appeared Bradford were playing with four men up front.
With 15 minutes remaining, Bradford midfielder Richard Marshall was able to deliver a cross from the left wing into the penalty area, but, Danny Holland found himself underneath the ball and headed over the crossbar.
The visitors were able to hold off the Avenue pressure, and were unfortunate not to score their second, as substitute Marvin Robinson capitalised on a loose header from Martin Drury, and Robinson struck a powerful shot from 12 yards, forcing Deasy into a fine save.
As the clock was approaching 90 minutes, Bradford were desperate to find a goal. The home side came close to converting a chance from consecutive corners. Firstly, a delivery from Jordan Deacey was met by substitute Matt Dempsey, and the defender headed the ball into the ground allowing Turley to tip the ball over for a corner. From the second delivery, the ball reached Danny Holland on the penalty spot, but, Turley produced a magnificent save from close range.
The final opportunity for Bradford fell to Tom Greaves. The Avenue substitute received the ball from Matty James, however, Greaves failed to connect properly with the ball from ten yards, making it an easy save for Billy Turley.
FULL TIME: BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 0-1 BRACKLEY TOWN
Bradford (Park Avenue): Deasy, Wakefield, Drury, Marshall, Knowles (Dempsey 81), Riley, Duckworth (James 64), O’Brien (Greaves 75), Holland, Deacey, Walker.
Subs not used: Hume, Davidson.
Booking: Marshall, Riley, Dempsey
Brackley Town: Turley, Clifton, McDonald, Odhiambo, Green, Hatswell, Story (Corcoran 77), Solkhon, Mulligan, Sandy (Robinson 71), Walker.
Subs not used: Winters, Diggin , Nisevic.
Scorer: Mulligan (47)