Bradford (Park Avenue) started their Skrill North campaign with a disappointing defeat at Leamington.
Five players were missing from the starting line-up due to injury and suspension while debuts were given to Jason St Juste, Luke Dean and Adam Quinn.
In the swirling wind the hosts began the game the better side and it was former Aston Villa striker Stefan Moore who tested Avenue’s John Lamb early on with a low shot which the keeper managed to block.
Leamington no 11 Lee Chilton who was looking lively in the opening stages created space out wide but his shot was way over.
Soon after Brakes striker Ricky Johnson should have opened the scoring. He connected to Moore’s low cross however he could only fire wide of the target.
The pressure finally told as the opener arrived on 16 minutes. Avenue left back St Juste mistimed a challenge on Matt Dodd and referee Michael D’Aguilar made no hesitation in pointing to the spot. From the resulting penalty Dodd fired his kick to the right sending Lamb the wrong way.
Avenue eventually created a good opportunity to score. A Nicky Boshell cross was met by Ross Daly who sent a powerful header at goal but it was straight at keeper Tony Breeden.
The Leamington keeper then launched a quick goal kick up field and with Lamb off his line Moore was able to lob him to increase his sides lead.
The home side went close to adding a third soon after through Dodd who flashed a low shot across goal.
Before the break Chilton tried his luck from distance with a dipping shot that was narrowly over the bar. Again Chilton was unlucky not to add to the score line. A Dodd cross from the right found the winger in a great position however the ball bounced up awkwardly and Chilton could only strike in to the hands of the keeper.
The visitors did have a chance as the half drew to a close. Walker collected a pass from St Juste and he tested Breeden with a strike from just inside the box.
Avenue were unlucky to not to be awarded a penalty when Marshall went down under a challenge from Josh however the referee let play continue.
Half Time: Leamington 2 Bradford (Park Avenue) 0
At half time John Deacey changed things round in the hope that his side could get back into the game. Daly and Dean made way for Corner and Clamp with Marshall dropping back into midfield.
Substitute Corner found himself in the referee’s notebook when he clattered into Breeden early on in the half.
Stefan Moore was unfortunate not to score after he burst through the Avenue defence but he fired narrowly wide of the right hand post with a fierce strike.
Again Chilton threatened the Avenue goal when his dangerous ball into the box had to be cleared off the line from by the returning James Knowles.
Craig Owen was then guilty of missing a golden opportunity to increase his sides lead. Chilton fed Stefan Moore who played in a near post cross to Owen who fired agonisingly wide of the target from close range.
At the other end it was the same story for Avenue’s Boshell. As Davidson ran towards goal he saw his shot deflected into the path of Boshell and the midfielder skied his shot when he should have least tested the keeper.
Boshell was again wasteful later in the half when he blazed a freekick over the bar following a foul on Marshall.
Late on Knowles went close as he hooked a ball into the box which Breeden was forced to claw away to safety.
With only two days to go until the next game manager John Deacey will be looking for a much improved performance against newly promoted North Ferriby United who got themselves off to a fine start by winning 3-1 at home against Gloucester City in their opening fixture.
Full Time: Leamington 2 Bradford (Park Avenue) 0
Tony Breeden, James Mace, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda, Josh Green, Paul McCone, Matt Dodd (Towers 82), Craig Owen (Adkins 71), Stefan Moore, Ricky Johnson (L Moore 78), Lee Chilton
Subs: Lee Moore, Jamie Towers, Sam Adkins, Martyn Naylor, Lewis Fenney
Goals: Dodd (16 pen), S Moore (19)
Bradford (Park Avenue)
John Lamb, Adam Clayton, Jason St Juste (Elam 71), Ross Daly (Corner 46), James Knowles, Adam Quinn, Luke Dean (Clamp 46), Nicky Boshell, Alex Davidson, Richard Marshall, Paul Walker
Sub: Tom Corner, Charlie Clamp, Lee Elam, Danny Forrest, Chris Howarth
Referee: M. D’Aguilar
Photo’s courtesy of “John Rhodes”