Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Late fade out for understrength Bradford Park Avenue
Matty James returned to Avenue's midfield at Brackley Town but was forced off with an injury. Picture: John Rhodes
Brackley Town 3, Bradford Park Avenue 1
A goalless first half gave Avenue hope of coming away from high-flying Brackley with something but the home side stepped it up after the break to consolidate their third place in Blue Square Bet North.
It was a comfortable victory over an under-strength Avenue, who battled long and hard to make a game of it but could not build on the previous Saturday’s draw against runaway leaders Chester FC.
Matty James returned to midfield in the absence of the suspended Richard Marshall, and he had Avenue’s best chance.
A good move involving Ross Daly, Paul Walker and Alex Davidson almost petered out when the latter scuffed a shot but James seized on the loose ball, only to fire wide.
Jefferson Louis and Tom Winters had seen early efforts for the impressive home side blocked, and Louis headed a later opportunity wide.
Brackley should have taken the lead when Steve Diggin found himself one-on-one with Bradford keeper John Lamb but the shot-stopper made himself big and the shot went wide.
Lamb had to be on his toes when Diggin took a quick free-kick but again the keeper was equal to the effort as he tipped it over his crossbar.
Diggin wasted another chance minutes later when he failed to hit the target.
Avenue’s injury woes continued as James was forced off, with Rob O’Brien coming on from the bench to replace him.
Towards the end of the first period, Avenue could twice have taken a cheeky lead into the break.
A Michael Duckworth free-kick sailed into the arms of the Brackley keeper before Davidson and O’Brien combined well to create an opening for Jordan Deacey, but he failed to connect with a shot.
Avenue had another chance to sneak in front early in the second half but O’Brien put his shot over from the edge of the area.
Brackley eventually made the breakthrough in the 56th minute when a sliding Glenn Walker forced a low Tom Winters pull-back past Lamb.
A Winters cross was again the supply route as Diggin finally got on the scoresheet, and it was a shot from him that Adam Clayton inadvertently deflected past Lamb for Brackley’s third.
The irrepressible Duckworth pulled one back for Bradford in the 82nd minute with a trademark long- range strike.
The defeat dropped Avenue one place to 11th but they are still just inside the top half of the table.