Bradford (Park Avenue) suffered a narrow defeat to Gloucester City at the Abbey Business Stadium in the Blue Square Bet North.
A second half goal from substitute Adam Mann was enough to see off a lacklustre Avenue side, with the hosts deserved winners in this mid table clash.
The home side were looking to take an early advantage. The Tigers’ winger Lewis Hogg crossed for his forward Darren Edwards, but, he fired a first time shot over the bar with the aid of a deflection from Adam Clayton.
Once again, the Avenue were struggling to cope with the Tigers in attack as Hogg managed to dribble around Bradford left back Martin Drury and his low cross was blazed over by Edwards from 12 yards.
Within the opening ten minutes, the Avenue were slow to start, and, it took a short passing move to open up the Tigers’ defence. A fine through ball from captain James Knowles was collected by Paul Walker, but, his left footed cross into the box was dived upon by Gloucester City’s stopper Mike Green with Richard Marshall waiting to pounce on any loose ball.
As the Avenue were growing in confidence, they produced an eye catching passing move, with one touch passes from Nathan Hotte and Richard Marshall ending with a free kick given against Danny Andrews for a trip on Alex Davidson on the edge of the penalty area. From the resulting set piece, a driven effort by Drury was deflected wide for a corner.
John Deacey’s side continued to pose a threat with the ball. This time, the Avenue’s right back Michael Duckworth charged past Danny Andrews and his inviting cross was nodded over by Davidson from ten yards.
A minute later, Bradford caught their hosts on the counter attack. The Avenue midfielder Jordan Deacey dribbled with the ball through the centre of the pitch, fooling the Tigers’ midfield, and Hotte’s pass was controlled by Davidson, who cut inside to fire a right footed effort wide from 16 yards.
Once more, the Avenue came close to taking the lead. A flag kick from Alex Davidson went beyond the number of bodies inside the box, and after bringing the ball down onto his right foot, Walker curled a 20 yard effort narrowly over the bar.
With a minute remaining of the first half, Bradford managed a shot on target. Following a throw in, Deacey had enough space to pick his pass out to Marshall, and after holding off his marker, his inside pass was struck first time by Hotte into the hands of Mike Green.
HALF TIME: GLOUCESTER CITY 0-0 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
Shortly after the break, the Tigers’ substitute Adam Mann was denied a perfect start to his afternoon. A flighted cross from Gloucester’s right back Mike Green was met by Mann, but John Lamb dived to palm the ball expertly away from close range.
Five minutes into the second half, the Avenue may have felt that they could have done better to convert a chance from a corner. A delivery from Deacey evaded everyone apart from Knowles at the back post, but, his driven shot was deflected into the path of Hotte, and the midfielder’s effort was blocked by the Tigers’ defence.
The Avenue were punished for their inability to make the most of their chances, as the home side opened the scoring. A driving run by Will Morford caused Bradford problems, and his low ball was forced into the net by the lively substitute Adam Mann from close range.
With the Tigers’ in the lead, they were close to doubling their advantage. A long ball from Matt Coupe was not dealt with by Bradford, and, despite cutting inside his marker Adam Clayton, Edwards’ low shot was gathered by John Lamb.
Following the goal, the Avenue were looking poor in defence. Again, Gloucester City were exploiting the wings, and Edwards picked out a fine ball to Morford, but, his effort flew over the bar from 12 yards.
Despite their dominance, Bradford tried to create an opportunity with the Tigers’ unable to build a two goal cushion. With possession conceded by Stephen Davies, the Avenue were looking to break away as Deacey spotted the run of Davidson, but, his right footed effort was easily saved by Green from 16 yards.
John Deacey looked to improve Bradford’s chances with the addition of Tom Corner and Matty James in place of Richard Marshall and Paul Walker.
Immediately after the change, both substitutes combined for the Avenue. Bradford’s Matty James found Corner with a neat ball, and after spotting Duckworth, the young striker received the cross, but, his side footed effort dragged wide from ten yards.
As the full time whistle was approaching, the Avenue’s chances of earning a point were fading, and the Tigers’ squandered a good opportunity to add a second to the scoreboard. Once more, Edwards was a constant thorn for Bradford, and after finding himself one on one with Lamb, the striker’s chipped effort trickled wide of the post from ten yards.
FULL TIME: GLOUCESTER CITY 1-0 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
Gloucester City: M. Green, M. Green, Andrews, Coupe (c) (C. Holland 81), Hamblin, Webb, Hogg, Harris (Mann 46), Edwards, Morford (Rawlings 78), Davies.
Subs not used: Mustoe.
Scorers: Mann (52)
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Duckworth, Drury, Daly, Knowles (c), Clayton (D. Holland 71), Davidson, Hotte, Marshall (James 65), Deacey, Walker (Corner 65).
Subs not used: Price, O’Brien.
Bookings: Holland, Drury.