Bradford Park Avenue 6, Worcester City 1
Bradford Park Avenue put their recent Conference North woes behind them as they spanked Worcester City with six of the best at a wet and windy Horsfall Stadium.
John Deacey was back from his short holiday and took his place alongside Mark Hume in the dugout.
It was a delayed start to the new year after their New Year’s Day home fixture was postponed but it was the best start to 2014 the management duo could have wished for.
Yet the early signs were not good as the visitors took a tenth-minute lead. It was particularly worrying for Avenue as it came from nothing and owed much to poor defending.
Worcester made a break down the right and a cross caught the home defence out, allowing Ethan Moore to nip in and beat home keeper John Lamb from close range.
But Avenue did not dwell on that setback and it took them just three minutes to create an equaliser.
A quick counter-attack saw Paul Beesley’s through-ball pick out Nathan Hotte and the skipper, who had found space in the visitors’ area, laid the ball square for Nicky Boshell to slide in from close range.
The home side were almost in front in the blink of an eye as, in their next attack, Jordan Deacey laid the ball off to Paul Walker, whose well-struck angled shot came off the far post and ran towards the corner flag.
Worcester keeper Jose Veiga was in action soon after, saving a 25-yard Boshell free-kick that cleared the wall and dipped towards goal. Veiga came to his side’s rescue again to deny Hotte but Beesley’s next effort was high over the target.
The visitors should have gone back in front in the 38th minute but Moore somehow turned the ball over the bar under pressure from Avenue defender Chris Howarth.
Just a minute later it was Avenue who were 2-1 ahead. Alex Davidson skipped around a defender in the area and stood the ball up to the far post, where Jordan Deacey arrived to nod in.
Avenue stretched their lead with just over two minutes to go until half-time. It was another good passing move, despite the difficult surface, and Davidson threaded the final ball through for Beesley to stab home.
Worcester threatened at the start of the second half but Avenue dug in and wrestled back the initiative, with their fourth goal stemming from a corner just after the hour mark which was converted by Adam Clayton’s downward header.
The second-bottom visitors’ manager immediately responded with a double substitution but it was too little too late.
A superb slalom run from Deacey led to Avenue’s fifth goal. He controlled a cross from Hotte and turned to torment the Worcester defence until he was brought down by a combination of two defenders and the keeper. Boshell fired in the resulting penalty.
Avenue boss Deacey then made changes of his own and sent on new signing Ross Gardner for his debut, Davidson making way – and with his first touch the new boy netted Avenue’s sixth goal with a low, angled shot from the corner of the six-yard box.
Deacey said: “I thought it was an excellent win and I could pick all of the players out for special praise after that performance.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day and we’re not getting carried away but it was nice for the fans of the club to see a home victory like that.
“Beesley got another goal (his second in four since signing) and the young lad (Gardner) came on to mark his debut with a well-taken goal, so all of that is promising.
“But I thought we started both halves very badly. We went a goal down in the first half and let them get at us after half-time.
“We know there are things we have to improve but let’s hope it’s a case of new year, new start and we can build on this result.”