Bradford (Park Avenue) secured their first home victory in the Blue Square Bet North in a thrilling encounter against Boston United at the Horsfall Stadium.
John Deacey started the game with an attacking side on paper. Michael Duckworth continued at right back, and in midfield, the Avenue manager selected Jordan Deacey, Richard Marshall, and he gave a debut to Liam Needham.
However, the game was lacked goalscoring opportunites in the opening 25 minutes. Both sides were finding it difficult to get an effort on target. The Avenue were restricting their visitors to long range shots, that failed to trouble Tim Deasy.
But, the game sparked into life, as both Bradford and Boston United came close to open the scoring. Firstly, the visitors’ forward pairing of Mark Jones and Mark Newsham combined together, but, Newsham’s left footed shot was well saved by Bradford goalkeeper Tim Deasy from eight yards.
A minute later, the home side responded with an attack of their own. A fine 60 yard run from Alex Davidson, allowed the winger to set up loanee Liam Needham, and his low shot was tipped wide by The Pilgrims’ stopper Dan Haystead. From the resulting corner, the goalkeeper acrobatically tipped James Knowles’ header onto the crossbar.
After 30 minutes, the travelling Pilgrims’ fans chanted the name of their midfielder Ian Ross, as the referee awarded his side a free kick on the edge of the box. However, Ross’ curled effort was saved by the diving Tim Deasy.
Five minutes later, the home side took the lead. An inswinging delivery from Martin Drury was met by the unmarked Liam Needham, and, despite getting a hand to his effort, Haystead was powerless to stop Nathan Hotte smashing the rebound into the roof of the net from five yards.
HALF TIME: BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 1-0 BOSTON UNITED
After half time, the visitors’ looked bright and alert, compared to their opponents. After some indecision amongst the Avenue back four, Mark Newsham found himself with space at the back post, but, his right footed effort was saved by Tim Deasy.
The dominance from Boston United was too much for Bradford, as the Pilgrims’ scored a deserved equaliser. The away side kept possession well, and a through ball towards Ben Fairclough was missed by the Avenue goalkeeper, as the winger passed the ball inside to his striker Mark Jones to fire the ball into the net.
However, John Deacey decided to make a substitution, as Matty James replaced Liam Needham, who suffered a dead leg in a tackle during the second half.
The Bradford manager watched the action in his traditional pose of leaning on the dugout. But, Deacey and his assistant Mark Hume were looking to encourage their side, and it seemed to work. Firstly, Michael Duckworth ran onto a neat through pass from the impressive Paul Walker, but, his left footed strike was pushed away by Haystead.
With nearly 15 minutes to play, Bradford took the lead for the second time. The Avenue substitute Matty James made a fine run behind the defence, and controlled the pass into his feet, setting up the striker to slot the ball past Haystead into the bottom corner.
Shortly after the goal, John Deacey introduced Tom Greaves, and the striker received an appluase from the crowd, as the striker was making his 200th appearance for Bradford (Park Avenue).
However the final stages of the game were dominated by Boston United, hitting the woodwork twice and missing a penalty.
Firstly, Mark Newsham flicked his header from a cross towards goal, and Deasy scrambled across his goal, but, the ball struck the bottom of the post, and Martin Drury cleared the ball away from danger.
With a minute, before added time remaining, Boston United’s substitute Kallum Smith escaped the challenge of Michael Duckworth, and his left footed shot was cleared off the line by the Avenue’s captain James Knowles.
Furthermore, the Pilgrims’ continued to trouble Tim Deasy, as right back Gary Silk saw his header from a corner strike the same post that denied Mark Newsham.
Somehow, Bradford remained in the lead, but, with four minutes of added time played, the home side conceded a penalty. The Avenue’s midfielder Richard Marshall committed a foul inside the penalty box, and the referee pointed to the spot, to the delight of the Pilgrims’ supporters. But, Mark Newsham, who was denied earlier by Tim Deasy and the post, saw his strike saved by the Bradford goalkeeper, and immediately after, the referee blew the full time whistle.
FULL TIME: BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 2-1 BOSTON UNITED
Bradford (Park Avenue): Deasy, Duckworth, Drury, Marshall, Knowles, Hotte, Davidson (Greaves 77), Needham (James 62), Holland (Radcliffe 90), Deacey, Walker.
Subs not used: Wakefield, Higginson.
Booking: Deacey, James
Scorer: Hotte (35), James (74)
Boston United: Haystead, Silk, Jellyman, Milnes, Ward, Stainfield, Fairclough (Marshall 88), Ross, Jones, Newsham, Stokes (Smith 64).
Subs not used: Reed, Craven, Drury,
Scorer: Jones (57)