Ten-man Bradford (Park Avenue) defeated a spirited Gloucester City side in The Skrill North at the Horsfall Stadium.
The Avenue opened the scoring as captain Nathan Hotte fired home a low shot from inside the penalty area. However, the away side equalised as Darren Edwards converted from the penalty spot. Before half-time, James Knowles diverted Nicky Boshell’s effort past Mike Green, before the home side were reduced to ten-men as Richard Marshall was shown a red card. Nevertheless, a late goal from Alex Davidson saw the Avenue collect three points.
Both Hotte and Davidson had early opportunities to take the lead, but both were off target with their efforts. More clever approach play put Nicky Boshell one-on-one with Mike Green in the Gloucester City goal, but, having dribbled the ball around the away goalkeeper, Boshell was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle from Jack Harris.
However, a minute later, the visitors conceded the first goal of the afternoon. Following a deep cross from Jordan Deacey, the ball was collected by Hotte, and the captain steered a low shot past Green to give the Avenue the lead.
Shortly after Hotte’s goal, the home side nearly extended their advantage. A goal-kick from John Lamb bounced favourably for Paul Walker, who flicked the ball over the on-rushing Green, but his effort trickled just past the post.
Gloucester City, with the wind behind them in the first half, equalised from the penalty spot. The referee Glen Hart spotted the ball strike an Avenue hand in the penalty area during a goalmouth scramble. Edwards stepped up and fired the ball straight down the middle, as Lamb dived to his right.
After conceding the equaliser, Deacey had an opportunity for the Avenue to regain the lead. A cross from Steve Mallory was headed down by Knowles to the midfielder, who found himself open on the edge of the six-yard box, but his right-footed shot was pushed away by Green.
Having set up the previous chance, Knowles was ready to take the next opportunity for himself. Walker found space for an in-swinging cross from the right, which two Gloucester City defenders attempted to clear, but instead clashed into each other. Waiting at the back post was Boshell, and his low left-footed attempt was diverted by the outstretched right boot of Knowles past Green.
After the break, the Avenue found themselves a goal up and a man down. As the ball bounced near the centre circle, Marshall’s high boot caught substitute Joe Parker and the red card was shown to the midfielder.
Dave Mehew introduced two substitutes to change the scoreline, however, John Deacey also made two changes, replacing Deacey with Simon Lenighan. Also, Chib Chilaka left the bench to take the place of Boshell.
As the game approached its end, the Avenue nearly scored a third goal. Martin Drury found Walker in space on the left wing, and his neat pass found Chilaka, but his powerful drive went narrowly over the bar.
However, a minute later, Chris Howarth spotted the run of Davidson, who burst through the centre of the visitors’ defence, and his low finish sealed the victory for the Avenue.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Howarth, Drury, Marshall, Knowles, Mallory, Boshell (Chilaka 68), Hotte (capt), Davidson (Clamp 90+3), Deacey (Lenighan 62), Walker.
Subs not used: Corner, Maxfield.
Scorers: Hotte (19), Knowles (42)
Sent Off: Marshall
Gloucester City: Mike Green, Michael Green (Wilson 66), Weir, Coupe (capt), Harris, Webb, Goddard, Liddiard, Edwards, Waldon (Binns 77), Turl (Parker 45).
Subs not used: Batten, Rawlings.
Scorers: Edwards (30)