Bradford (Park Avenue) suffered their second successive defeat, playing with captain James Knowles as stand in goalkeeper for the majority of the second half, losing to promotion contenders Gainsborough Trinity at the Horsfall Stadium.
The Avenue were forced to withdraw Tim Deasy from the action with an injury after half time, and were made to rue missed chances throughout the game, despite a spirited effort.
The Avenue created the first opportunity, after a driving run from Alex Davidson set up his striker Danny Holland, but, Bradford’s number nine curled an effort harmlessly wide.
Furthermore, the home side had another attempt on goal, but the Blues goalkeeper Jan Budtz made a fine save. Once more, Davidson caused problems and after spotting Paul Walker with a cross field pass, the winger’s low shot was saved by the goalkeeper’s outstretched leg from 12 yards.
Nonetheless, the visitors coped well with Avenue’s pressure, and were easy on the eye as they attacked Bradford’s goal. Their only effort on goal in the first quarter, was Josh Wilde’s forward run of 60 yards, but, the left back blazed his shot over the bar from distance.
At the other end, Jan Budtz produced another good save to deny Danny Holland. The Avenue opted for a direct route to goal, and Matty James’ flick on found the striker and his powerful shot was pushed away by the Blues stopper. From the rebound, Holland tried his luck from a tight angle, only for the ball to skim off the wet surface and go wide.
Two minutes later, the visitors goalkeeper kept his side level. A pinpoint through ball by Richard Marshall found the unmarked James, and his right footed effort was, again, saved by the legs of Budtz.
Again, it was Alex Davidson of the Avenue and Jan Budtz involved in the next attempt on target. After holding off Josh Wilde, the winger cut inside and fired a shot from 14 yards, but, Budtz was equal to his shot.
A minute later, Bradford caught the away side on the counter attack. Following a lovely ball from Jordan Deacey, Bradford’s Paul Walker grabbed hold of possession and his low effort was saved by the diving Budtz.
With the half time whistle nearing, once again, Alex Davidson was the man who was looking the most likely to score. After turning with the ball on the half way line, the midfielder dribbled past two markers, and shot wide from 12 yards.
However, Jordan Deacey came even closer to opening the scoring. Following a strike from Davidson, the Avenue’s number ten tamely shot at goal, making it an easier save for Budtz than anticipated.
HALF TIME: BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 0-0 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY
After the break, Steve Housham’s side were denied by a superb save from Tim Deasy. The away side caught Bradford lacking in numbers, and Paul Connor hit a strong shot from 10 yards. But, after his save, Deasy fell to the ground in agony and was replaced with James Knowles in goal. In place of the injured goalkeeper, Callum Howe made his home debut.
With the Avenue using their centre back as their goalkeeper, the away side were looking to get any shot away. However, solid defending from the home side forced the Blues’ Mark Wilson to fire over the bar from 25 yards.
But, the home side were able to force a corner at the opposite end of the Horsfall ground. A flighted delivery by Marshall was met by Danny Holland, who rose above his marker, only for Budtz to tip the ball over.
However, the Avenue failed to deal with a long clearance from the Blues’ and after turning Nathan Hotte, Bradley Barraclough was unable to force James Knowles into a save.
The visitors broke the deadlock. Following a flick on, substitute Terry Hawkridge was able to round the on-rushing James Knowles, and fired a powerful effort off the underside of the crossbar from 15 yards.
Despite trailing on the scoreboard, the Avenue continued to be fearless. Again, it was Davidson who was the architect for his own effort. But, the midfielder’s shot went through the legs of Budtz, only for Greg Young to clear the ball close to his goal line.
The home side, backed by the Horsfall crowd, produced a fine flowing move, which lacked a cutting finish. After good passing from Davidson and James, right back Michael Duckworth found himself with space, but, dragged his shot wide from 8 yards.
A minute later, the visitors doubled their lead. A long ball was not dealt with by substitute Callum Howe, and the Blues’ striker Bradley Barraclough clinically fired a shot past James Knowles.
It did not appear to be the Avenue’s night. As Richard Marshall crossed the ball into the box, Davidson met the ball well with a header, and with it looking destined for the bottom corner, Budtz acrobatically tipped the ball wide.
Again, Alex Davidson was the man the Avenue were looking to get onto the ball. This time, Danny Holland fed the number eight, and after escaping his marker, Davidson fired wide from 12 yards.
FULL TIME: BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 0-2 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY
Bradford (Park Avenue): Deasy (Howe 47), Duckworth, Price, Marshall, Knowles (c), Hotte, James (Greaves 76) (O’Brien 81), Davidson, Holland, Deacey, Walker.
Subs not used: Daly, Clayton.
Bookings: Knowles, James, Marshall
Gainsborough Trinity: Budtz, Roma, Wilde, Waterfall, Hone (Young 60), Wilson, D’Laryea, Nelthorpe (Hawkridge 63), Barraclough. Connor (c) (Knowles 67), Yates.
Subs not used: Stamp, Leary.
Scorers: Hawkridge (68), Barraclough (74)
Bookings: Connor, Roma