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Bradford Park Avenue out to bounce back after Leamington low
Leamington 2 Bradford Park Avenue 0
It was a dismal day for Avenue as they slipped to an opening-day defeat at Leamington following a tame display.
Bradford have set themselves a target of at least a play-off finish but will have to improve on this showing.
Fortunately, they have a quick chance to make amends in their first home game of the season tomorrow night against newly-promoted North Ferriby United.
The East Yorkshire side have their tails up after they registered a 3-1 win over Gloucester City in their first game.
Avenue’s challenge at the New Windmill never got out of second gear. They were pressured by Leamington from the first whistle.
The hosts could have opened the scoring several times before Bradford debutant Jason St Juste fouled Matt Dodd inside the area in the 16th minute. Dodd picked himself up and sent Avenue keeper John Lamb the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
Avenue tried to get back into the game but Ross Daly’s header from Nicky Boshell’s cross was right at keeper Tony Breeden.
It was Breeden who then provided the opening for number two three minutes later as his long goal-kick found Stefan Moore, the former Aston Villa striker lobbing the stranded Lamb.
Dodd and Lee Chilton went close to adding further strikes before Avenue had a late first-half chance when Paul Walker picked up St Juste’s through ball but the winger’s low shot was saved.
They also had a strong penalty shout when Richard Marshall was felled.
Daly and Luke Dean made way for Tom Corner and Charlie Clamp at the break as Avenue boss John Deacey sought to freshen things up.
Leamington were still the better side though and they continued to be the most creative throughout the second half.
The five Avenue players who were missing due to injury and suspension will also be sidelined tomorrow night.
The midfield is badly hit, with skipper Nathan Hotte (second of a four-game ban) and Jordan Deacey (double fracture of the arm) both out.
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