Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-1 Stalybridge Celtic

A second-half goal from Josh Green secured Stalybridge Celtic’s status in The Skrill North next season, as his equaliser ended the Avenue’s three match winning run at the Horsfall Stadium.

The home side took the lead as Grant Black’s corner was flicked by Ryan Qualter into the path of Chilaka, who fired the ball into the roof of the net from six yards. But, after the break, a diagonal pass from Martin Drury was intercepted by winger Paul Ennis, who drove down the left wing before finding Green, and the substitute slotted home from 12 yards.

The away side had two chances to take an early advantage. A long free-kick from the visitors caused problems inside the Avenue penalty area as James Knowles got a touch to the ball, but John Lamb was agile to dive to his right and tip the ball around the post. From the resulting corner, defender Joel Bembo-Leta headed wide from six yards.

Shortly after, Knowles was dispossessed by striker Jack Ryan, but again, Lamb was alert and produced a fine save with his legs to deny the number nine from 10 yards.

After an early scare, John Deacey’s men started to find some rhythm in their play and created several opportunities.

With Paul Beesley missing through injury, Richard Marshall found himself in a more attacking role and the midfielder spotted Chilaka, but the striker’s left-footed drive went narrowly wide from 14 yards.

Again, Marshall was involved in another attack, but, after receiving an inside pass from Paul Walker, Marshall’s strike was saved by Danny East in the visitors goal.

After seeing a header from Chris Howarth and two shots from Walker drift wide, the Avenue broke the deadlock. A corner from the Avenue’s right-back Black was flicked down by Qualter inside the penalty area, and Chilaka swivelled to acrobatically strike the ball right-footed into the back of the net from close range.

Before half-time, Chilaka nearly scored his fourth goal in three games. The striker received the ball with his back to goal, but, Chilaka quickly turned his marker to fire an attempt at goal, but East produced an excellent save to push the ball away from danger.

After the break, the away side troubled the Avenue defence and goalkeeper.

Minutes after a good save from East from Black’s ambitious shot from the touchline, Keith Briggs’ side were looking to catch the Avenue on the counter-attack. A neat through ball spotted the run of winger Paul Ennis, but Lamb rushed off his line to dive at the feet of Ennis and gather the loose ball.

Only trailing by one goal, the away side continued to show their intent to score a crucial equalising goal. A left-footed cross from Andy McWilliams fell into the feet of Ryan, who turned, but struck a powerful effort over the bar from 14 yards.

But, the Avenue nearly scored a fortuitous second goal. A floated free-kick from Black saw East come off his line, but, Green got a slight touch to the ball, which trickled just wide of the post. From the corner, Qualter rose above his marker, but somehow, the visitors cleared the ball off the line.

Then, Stalybridge Celtic grabbed a vital equaliser. A corner from Black was cleared to Drury, who tried to pick out the defender with a diagonal pass, but it fell short as Ennis intercepted possession on the edge of his penalty area. The winger drove forward with Scott Maxfield tracking his run, but Ennis found Green with a pass, and the substitute lifted the ball over Lamb from 12 yards.

And both teams had chances to seal a victory.

After a defensive mistake from Knowles, Ryan collected possession, but the striker was unable to get a shot on goal. Quickly, Ryan found substitute Adam Pepper, who was unmarked, but the midfielder’s chip from 20 yards grazed the top of the netting.

With a draw looking a likely result, the Avenue nearly snatched all three points. A deep free-kick from Drury was met by Knowles, but his glancing header went wide from ten yards.

Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Black, Drury (capt), Marshall, Knowles, Qualter, Maxfield, Price (Hotte 48), Chilaka (Harris 82), Howarth, Walker.

Subs not used: Clayton, Davidson.

Scorer: Chilaka (41).

Stalybridge Celtic: East, Bleau, McWilliams, Bembo-Leta, Regan (capt), Buckley (Green 55), Ennis, Dickenson, McConville (Pepper 61), Croasdale.

Subs not used: Anoruo, Platt, Windle.

Scorer: Green (75).

Attendance: 469

Referee: Ian Dudley