Bradford (Park Avenue) secured their third consecutive victory, with a comfortable victory against Histon FC at the Glass World Stadium.
A stunning start from John Deacey’s side saw the Avenue score three goals inside the opening 20 minutes, but, were made to work hard by a spirited Stutes side in the second half.
Early into the game, the away side started to trouble the Stutes defence. Bradford’s striker Danny Holland fed the ball inside to his winger Matty James, who cut inside Harri Hawkins, and his left footed strike was tipped wide by Histon goalkeeper Calum Kitscha.
From the resulting corner, the Avenue took the lead, as Jordan Deacey’s flighted delivery was met by the unmarked James Knowles, and his header found the bottom corner from eight yards.
Two minutes later, Bradford doubled their lead. The Avenue’s right back Michael Duckworth collected a pass, 30 yards from goal, and he struck a powerful shot towards goal, which took a deflection, leaving Kitscha no chance. It was Duckworth’s second goal in successive games, which was followed by his trademark acrobatic celebration.
John Deacey’s men continued to be the dominant side, and, they added their third. This time, the Avenue took a direct route, as Tim Deasy’s long kick was controlled and flicked on by Holland to Alex Davidson, who put the ball through Ian Gayle’s legs, and took the ball around Kitscha to slot the ball home.
Again, Bradford looked confident in attack, and Deacey’s pass to midfielder Richard Marshall was struck from distance, but, Kitscha produced a fine diving save.
Furthermore, another Avenue attack resulted in nearly another goal. The ball drifted to the left wing, finding Paul Walker, who played a perfect through ball to Davidson, and his cross to Holland was fired wide from eight yards.
However, the home side created their first opportunity from a corner. A deep delivery from Lewis Taaffe was not cleared by the Bradford defence, and an instinctive shot from the Stutes’ right back Zak Mills was blocked by Knowles.
With half time approaching, Bradford were searching for their fourth goal of the afternoon. Once more, Walker threaded a lovely pass into the feet of Davidson, and his inside pass was picked up by Jordan Deacey, who saw his low shot from inside the box blocked by Danny Fitzsimmons.
Nonetheless, Dennis Greene’s outfit were looking dangerous from set pieces. From another deep corner, Zak Mills had another shot blocked by the Bradford defence, and, the rebound from Taaffe sailed over the bar from six yards.
Shortly before the break, John Deacey was dealt a blow, as Martin Drury was stretchered off with a suspected knee injury.
With the game into added time, Histon FC came close to opening their account. A long diagonal ball from the defence was well controlled by striker Shane Tolley and his shot forced Deasy into a fine save from close range.
HALF TIME: HISTON FC 0-3 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
After the half time whistle, the home side started the brighter, looking to Taaffe and Tolley for their first goal, but, stubborn defending from Bradford prevented Deasy into any early action.
Nevertheless, with Histon FC pushing forward, Alex Davidson dispossessed Zak Mills to gain possession, and he spotted Holland with a short pass, but, the striker’s chipped effort was blocked by the Stutes defence.
After 65 minutes, John Deacey introduced new signing Tom Corner, who was greeted by the travelling Avenue fans with a warm applause, in place of winger Paul Walker.
Shortly after the substitution, the home side got on the scoreboard. A free kick from 25 yards was struck by Lewis Taaffe against the crossbar, and the resulting rebound was forced in by substitute Matty Waters.
However, with 20 minutes remaining, somehow, Bradford were denied a fourth goal. A long ball from Simon Garner was collected by Alex Davidson, but, his toe poke hit the post from five yards, and Kitscha dived on the loose ball, with substitute Corner waiting to pounce.
At the opposite end of the pitch, the home side continued to cause problems for the Avenue back line. After a neat exchange of passes outside the penalty area, Lewis Taaffe was picked out, and his low shot was well saved by Deasy.
With both John Deacey and Mark Hume looking on from their dugout, Bradford were struggling to repeat their blistering start to the game. As the game reached the final 15 minutes, the Avenue’s winger Davidson was tripped outside the box, and referee Stephen Ross awarded a free kick. After establishing himself as a player who scores long range goals, Richard Marshall stepped up to strike the free kick, which skimmed the far post.
The visitors’ captain James Knowles came agonisingly close to adding another goal to his earlier opener for the Avenue. A corner delivered by Deacey was met by the swooping captain, but, Kitscha did well to deny the centre back.
With six minutes remaining, the Avenue regained their three goal cushion. A quick free kick from Knowles spotted the run of Davidson, and his deep cross was struck into the roof of the net by winger Matty James.
FULL TIME: HISTON FC 1-4 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
Histon FC: Kitscha, Mills (Ivey-Ward 81), Hawkins, Stevenson (c), Gayle (Roberts 26), Fitzsimmons, Taaffe, Freeman, Tolley, Dowie, Hoban (Waters 59).
Subs not used: Uttridge, Ahmed, Ivey-Ward
Scorer: Waters (67)
Bradford (Park Avenue): Deasy, Duckworth, Drury (Garner 44), Marshall, Knowles, Hotte, James, Davidson, Holland (Greaves 82), Deacey, Walker (Corner 65).
Subs not used: O’Brien, Howe.
Scorers: Knowles (5), Duckworth (7), Davidson (18), James (84)