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Bradford Park Avenue show determination to bounce back
Bradford Park Avenue 3, Gloucester City 1
Ten-man Bradford Park Avenue did not hold on to their lead against Gloucester City – they increased it.
A storming display saw John Deacey’s men romp to a home Conference North win despite having Richard Marshall dismissed on the hour mark.
It was a significant show of strength and determination after back-to-back games against Conference Premier high-fliers Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup.
Far from being drained and low on confidence following their 2-1 extra-time defeat in Tuesday’s replay, Avenue were once again on top form.
Ironically, the full-time Harriers suffered a blow to their push for promotion to the Football League as they were beaten at Barnet.
Avenue boss Deacey said: “We were magnificent. That is the best result of the season so far.
“It was a big win in terms of needing to get straight back into it after two tough games and that very long night.
“Considering we played half an hour with ten men and had to make changes because of injuries, it was a very satisfying win.
“I thought it could have been a red card because of where Richard’s foot caught their lad, but we will look at the video before deciding if we appeal it or not.”
Avenue stamped their mark on the game from the early stages with their trademark crisp pass-and-move football.
They should have taken the lead in the 18th minute when a typical passage of play produced a great chance.
Nathan Hotte was involved in the build-up and was on the end of the move but, after rounding visiting keeper Mike Green, he was robbed by an excellent tackle.
The Avenue skipper soon atoned as he opened the scoring with a low drive in the next minute.
Gloucester were gifted a way back into the game when they were awarded a penalty on the half-hour mark. A shot hit the arm of a defender, who appeared to be protecting his face, and Darren Edwards fired the spot-kick home.
The hosts got their lead back before the interval when visitors’ skipper went from hero to villain. Matt Coupe had been the defender who expertly stole the ball off Hotte but his 42nd-minute challenge on Jordan Deacey earned him a yellow card.
The resulting free-kick was played wide, the subsequent cross was missed by two defenders, played back across the goal by Nicky Boshell and poked in at the far post by James Knowles.
There was some reshuffling after Marshall’s dismissal but Avenue remained positive and stuck to their attacking instinct.
It paid off when Davidson took a through-ball just outside the area, stepped inside and drilled a low shot into the net.
Weather permitting, Avenue are due back in action tomorrow night with a home tie against Harrogate Town in the West Riding County Cup.
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