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Super subs inspire ten-man Bradford Park Avenue to amazing comeback
Bradford Park Avenue 3 Oxford City 3
Ten-man Bradford Park Avenue mounted a superb second-half comeback to stun visitors Oxford City and earn what looked like an impossible point from this six-goal thriller.
Avenue were the better side in the early stages but found themselves 2-0 down before Adam Clayton was dismissed in the 29th minute.
The centre back had won one tackle in the centre circle and was lunging in to try to get the loose ball under control when Oxford’s Calum McNish crumpled under the challenge and Clayton was given a red card.
Oxford were already in the driving seat by then. They had broken the deadlock in the 19th minute when Tom Winters, who tormented Avenue’s defence all afternoon, crossed for Mike Symonds to head home.
The visitors doubled their lead via the same combination just five minutes later, again from a rapid counter-attack.
Symonds made the break and his low centre was slotted in by Winters.
Winters claimed the assist for Oxford’s third goal when his cross was met by Jamie Cook’s close-range header.
Bradford looked to be down and out but boss John Deacey made two attack-minded changes at the interval.
On-loan Bantam Louie Swain came on for Tom Corner and forward Nicky Boshell replaced left back Jason St Juste as Avenue switched to a flat back three.
The substitutions had an immediate effect, with the hosts creating two clear chances in the opening minutes of the second period.
The comeback began when Swain showed good skills and determination before drilling a low ball into the near post that Boshell fired into the roof of the net.
It gathered pace midway through the second half, with Alex Davidson somehow sneaking the ball into the net through Oxford keeper Mark Scott’s legs.
The fightback was completed in the first of four minutes of stoppage time when Steve Mallory powered in a close-range header following a corner forced by Paul Walker.
Deacey was relieved but far from happy. He said: “Once again we’ve been a disgrace for at least half of the game.
“What rescued it was some guts from the manager at half-time so I’m taking the credit for this one.
“I thought it was fitting that Mallory got the leveller because he was our best player in the second half but Swain and Boshell made a hell of a difference and that brought the best out of players like Walker, Alex David-son and Richard Marshall.”
* Nine-man FC Halifax Town lost 3-1 at Salisbury in the Skrill Conference Premier as poor discipline again proved their undoing.
Kevin Holsgrove and Josh Wilson were sent off in the first half, which saw Town trailing to an Elliot Frear strike.
Further goals from Luke Ruddick and Ben Wright sealed the points before a Glenn Wilson own goal provided scant consolation.
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