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Bradford Park Avenue can't recover from early setbacks
Stockport County 4, Bradford Park Avenue 1
Bradford Park Avenue’s woes continued as they lost the battle of the former Football League clubs at Edgeley Park in the Conference North.
Stockport County were below their visitors in the table but lifted their game for Avenue’s visit and, although the scoreline flattered them, they were the better side.
The County squad is packed with quality, having a sprinkling of players with Football League experience mixed with a handful of people who know all about the higher levels of the non-league game.
They broke the deadlock in just the third minute with a well-crafted goal. Home skipper Phil Jeavons created the opening but it was a superb shot from Liam Dickinson that found the bottom corner of John Lamb’s net.
Another excellent finish saw them 2-0 up after just 18 minutes. This time the through ball was provided by Nicky Platt, and Reece Turner deftly lifted the ball over Lamb.
Bradford did begin to get into the game after that and a Richard Marshall shot was deflected for a corner from which Stockport escaped a strong penalty appeal for handball.
When Alex Davidson was brought down just outside the area, Marshall took the resulting free-kick. His effort flew over the wall but there was no dip on it so it didn’t trouble the home keeper.
Lamb was forced into a fine double save to keep County down to two. The keeper parried Turner’s shot and then recovered in a flash to save Ian Howard’s follow-up effort.
Avenue got back into the game on the stroke of half-time when Paul Beesley poached his first goal for the club. Marshall’s shot was parried but Beesley was at the far post to slot in.
Bradford’s assistant manager Mark Hume made one change at the interval, with Chib Chilaka making way for Chris Howarth, and his side began the second half really well.
But after Avenue had forced two very good chances soon after the break, County broke against the run of play and Howard’s deflected shot gave them a 3-1 lead.
That was stretched to four when Jeavons netted from the penalty spot soon after, sending Lamb the wrong way.
Avenue will not have time to dwell on the defeat as they head to North Ferriby United on Saturday before the return game against Stockport on New Year’s Day.
Hume will be in charge for at least both of those games with Bradford boss John Deacey still away.
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