Bradford (Park Avenue) claimed their third victory of the Vanarama Conference North with a hard-fought win against Hyde FC at the Horsfall Stadium.
The hosts took the lead as Chib Chilaka fired a right-footed shot past Tigers’ goalkeeper Christian Thewlis. Four minutes later, the visitors equalised as Louis Almond’s strike from 20 yards found the bottom corner. After the break, Scott McNiven’s men scored their second goal of the game as Tom Bentham’s glancing header flew past the Avenue goalkeeper John Lamb. But, the West Yorkshire outfit scored two goals in 15 minutes as Chilaka netted his second and Ryan Qualter’s header sealed a narrow victory.
The away side started the better of the two sides and were looking the most likely to score.
An inswinging corner from left-back Adam Blakeman went across the face of goal, but Bentham was unable to direct the ball on target.
Minutes later, Almond went on a mazy run and cut through the Avenue defence, but Steve Tames’ left-footed effort went wide.
But, against the run of play, the Avenue broke the deadlock. Paul Walker collected possession on the right wing and laid the ball inside to Chilaka. After taking one touch, the striker smashed the ball home from 12 yards.
Again, the Tigers continued to cause problems as the energetic Almond saw sight of the goal, and his low strike skidded off the surface causing Lamb to fumble the shot, but quickly regathered.
Deservedly, the away side levelled the scoreline. Despite an excellent tackle from the Avenue debutant Julian Banton, the defender was dispossessed, and the ball fell to the feet of Almond. The striker struck another low shot from distance, and the ball flew underneath Lamb into the bottom corner.
With half time approaching, both teams nearly took the lead. The Avenue went on the attack and as the ball was played into the feet of Joe Colbeck, the winger fired a powerful effort from inside the penalty area, but his shot took a deflection and cannoned off the bar.
On the counter-attack, Hyde FC broke down the left wing, and with the Avenue struggling to get back into position, Steven Tames received the ball, but curled a right-footed effort inches wide from 18 yards.
After the break, Banton was unlucky not to open his Avenue account. A deep cross from Paul Walker was floated to the far post, and the loanee rose above his marker and Thewlis, but his header flew over the bar.
And then, the Tigers took the advantage. Again, the Avenue looked sparse in numbers, but Connor Hughes delivered a superb cross from the right wing, and Bentham nodded the ball into the far corner to the delight of the travelling supporters.
John Deacey decided to make a change to his team as Danny Frost replaced Matty James, and the substitute took a more advanced role alongside Chilaka.
Two minutes after the substitution, the Avenue equalised. An inswinging corner from Martin Drury was flicked by Chilaka at the near post, and the ball nestled in the bottom corner.
With the score level, both teams made further substitutions as Scott Kerr replaced Richard Marshall for the Avenue and Regan Walker was brought on to replace D’Arcy O’Connor for Hyde FC.
But it was the visitors who nearly took the lead for the second time. Another fine cross caused problems for the Avenue defence, but despite sliding on the wet surface, Bentham was unable to connect with the ball and the ball trickled out for a goal kick.
At the opposite end of the pitch, Frost made a impact and spotted the run of Chilaka with a smart pass, but the striker’s left-footed shot was tipped over by Thewlis.
Then, John Deacey’s side scored their third goal. A corner from Walker was met by Qualter who rose above his marker and headed the ball into the bottom corner from ten yards for his first competitive goal for the Avenue.
With over ten minutes left to play, the away side continued to push forward in the search of a dramatic equaliser. However, the Avenue held on to retain their unbeaten home record in the Vanarama Conference North.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Black, Drury, James (Frost 60), Qualter, Banton, Colbeck, Hotte (c), Chilaka, Marshall (Kerr 71), Walker.
Subs not used: Price, Rea, Mallory.
Scorers: Chilaka (24), (63); Qualter (78)
Hyde FC: Thewlis, Brizell, Blakeman, Ball, Ashworth, Thurston, Hughes, O’Connor (R. Walker 64), Tames (Conchie 84), Bentham, Almond.
Subs not used: Mukana, Day, Brownhill.
Bookings: Blakeman, O’Connor
Scorers: Almond (28), Bentham (56)
Referee: Glen Hart