Vanarama National League North: AFC Telford United 1 Bradford Park Avenue 3
A WAYNE Brooksby hat-trick gave Bradford Park Avenue a confidence- boosting, much-needed win at Vanarama National League North relegation rivals AFC Telford United.
Mark Bower’s men headed to the New Bucks Head just one point above the drop zone but now have a four-point cushion after a deserved victory.
It came on the back of three consecutive defeats but Brooksby’s treble put them level on points with the Bucks.
It was always going to be a difficult game against a Telford side battling to keep their own hopes of safety alive but Avenue approached it well.
They were on top in the first half, and the slender lead they took in to the break was a fair reflection of the opening 45 minutes.
The visitors broke the deadlock ten minutes before the interval though a deflected shot as Brooksby’s strike clipped Luke Higham before beating home keeper Callum Burton.
Avenue had two efforts cleared off the line and had a strong penalty appeal before they opened the scoring.
A James Knowles header midway through the first half, from the game’s first corner, and a mishit Gavin Rothery shot were scrambled away either side of Adam Nowakowski appearing to be hauled down in the area as he looked to reach Rothery’s flick on.
The Bucks’ experienced striker Lee Hughes had been a threat to Avenue’s defence from the moment he put an early half-chance into the side- netting.
Just after half-time, Hughes sent in a back header that brought the best out of Avenue keeper Jon Worsnop, who reacted quickly to tip it onto the bar and over.
The former West Brom, Oldham and Coventry City forward had shots blocked by Nowakowski and Knowles as Telford enjoyed a spell on the front foot, while the main men for Avenue were Brooksby and midfielder Nicky Wroe.
The latter was pulling the strings, while Brooksby was a thorn in the side for the Bucks before and after they drew level.
It was Hughes who netted a 70th-minute penalty to level the scores, stepping up after he had been impeded in the area.
That only appeared to galvanise Avenue, however, and Bower’s changes from the bench helped to get them over the line.
Substitutes Chris Sharp and Aiden Chippendale both claimed assists.
Brooksby found the top corner after Sharpe had helped on Wroe’s 79th- minute corner and Chippendale won possession back to set up the third in the last minute.