Bradford (Park Avenue) sit top of the Vanarama Conference North with their first victory of the season, beating local neighbours Harrogate Town at the Horsfall Stadium.
Despite a late strike from Town’s James Walshaw, goals from Martin Drury and Chib Chilaka were enough to seal the win for the Avenue.
Bradford (Park Avenue) started well, and broke the deadlock within minutes of the kick-off. A smart ball from Paul Walker found Richard Marshall, and his lay-off fell into the path of Drury who fired his first time shot into the bottom corner of the net.
After 11 minutes, Town had their first attempt on goal, as a low shot from former Avenue midfielder Luke Dean was easily collected by Avenue’s goalkeeper John Lamb.
Shortly after, the Avenue had a chance to extend their advantage. A through ball from Walker found Chib Chilaka but with only the ‘keeper to beat, he put the ball high and wide of the post.
Minutes later, Town’s Lloyd Kerry tested the Avenue’s number one with a fierce shot from 20 yards, but Lamb was well placed to collect the ball.
Another chance came soon after for the Avenue. Chilaka outmuscled Rhys Meynell before beating two players at the byline and laying the ball off to Walker. But the winger’s shot went narrowly wide of the post.
The away side came close to equalising, minutes before the half time whistle. A header from Walshaw was neatly cleared off the line by Ryan Qualter. Seconds later, it was Drury’s turn to save Avenue’s lead as he too cleared another Town shot off the line.
As half time approached, Avenue weathered some last minute pressure from the visitors to preserve their 1-0 lead.
The second half saw Town build some sustained pressure, creating several chances to equalise.
With just one minute on the clock, Drury delivered a teasing delivery but his corner was met by Matty James who was unlucky not to extend Avenue’s advantage.
Town nearly punished their opponents’ poor marking from a free-kick. A deep cross from right-back Lewis Turner floated into the box which was met by the unmarked Dave McGurk, but his header flew into the hands of Lamb from 12 yards.
But, John Deacey’s side doubled their lead. A free-kick awarded to Avenue was spilled by Phil Barnes, and in a goalmouth scramble, Qualter was unable to put the ball into the back of the net. But, the ball fell into the feet of Chilaka who managed to poke the ball home through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner.
2-0 down, Harrogate Town pushed forward as Walshaw carefully picked out Louie Swain, but his left-footed shot drifted wide of the post from 14 yards.
Bradford (Park Avenue) made their first substitution of the game with just over 20 minutes left on the clock as midfielder Jack Rea was replaced by Scott Kerr.
Chilaka continued to cause problems and narrowly missed scoring a superb effort after holding off three Town players. But, his lob from 20 yards went agonisingly over the bar.
Simon Weaver’s men hit back with a goal. The Avenue failed to clear a low ball from the left flank and the ball ricocheted into the feet of Walshaw. The striker found himself unmarked and slotted the ball into the bottom corner from ten yards past Lamb.
The Avenue then made their second substitution of the night as Steve Mallory came on for goalscorer Drury.
After further pressure from Harrogate Town, the Avenue managed to clear the ball but as play continued into Town’s half, an off the ball incident broke out in the penalty area. After consulting his assistants, the referee brandished a yellow card to Town substitute Craig Nelthorpe.
Despite a tense final five minutes of added time, the Avenue held on to register their first win of the 2014/15 season.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Black, Drury (Mallory 82), Rea (Kerr 70), Qualter, Price, Marshall, Hotte (c), Chilaka, James, Walker.
Subs not used: Colbeck, Frost, Davidson.
Scorers: Drury (1), Chilaka (58).
Harrogate Town: Barnes, Turner, Meynell, Lenighan, Killock (c), McGurk, Kerry, Nowakowski (Cartman 45), Swain, Walshaw, Dean (Nelthorpe 65).
Subs not used: Crook, Bloomer, Metcalfe.
Scorer: Walshaw (73).
Bookings: Turner, Meynell, Dean, Nelthorpe.