Harrogate Town 1 Bradford Park Avenue 1

A late equaliser from Paul Walker earned Avenue a draw from a close Conference North derby in which both teams finished with ten men.

Harrogate Town remain closer to the play-off zone than 11th-placed Bradford but a point apiece from Saturday’s clash was a fair outcome. What probably wasn’t fair was that both sides were reduced in numbers.

Bradford centre back James Knowles and Town midfielder Adam Bolder were involved in a confrontation. The incident followed a crunching tackle which did not result in a free-kick but turned unnecessarily ugly and both were dismissed.

Avenue were 1-0 down at the time after Ashley Worsfold had broken the deadlock in the 27th minute.

The visitors had done well in the opening stages so Town’s strike came as a blow and it stemmed from a mistake.

Adam Clayton stooped to head the ball back to his keeper John Lamb but failed to get enough power on it. Worsfold nipped in and chipped the onrushing Lamb.

Earlier, a free-kick from former Avenue man Steve Mallory had led to Town’s first chance but home skipper Shane Killock’s header grazed the bar.

Bradford created the better of the first-half openings though, with Richard Marshall firing a shot just over, substitute Chib Chilaka going close more than once and Jordan Deacey seeing a shot saved just into stoppage time.

The second half saw Avenue dominate the match stats but struggle to find the equaliser.

Walker fired into the side-netting following a Deacey corner and when Danny Glover played Chilaka in his shot was well saved by the home keeper. Avenue were denied again when a Deacey corner dropped into a packed area and two shots were blocked.

Avenue maintained the pressure on the home defence and their persistence paid off ten minutes from time. Another good passing move involving Deacey and Walker ended with the latter sending in a cross directed at Chilaka but the ball appeared to sail straight in.

Avenue’s press officer Lewis Sale said: “Harrogate almost went 2-1 up near the end but we also had late attempts on goal. In truth both sides could have won it.

“It was a close game but a good one. It was disappointing to concede the way we did and another blow when Nathan Hotte had to come off so early on. He had a knee problem but went out with the physio for a fitness test before the game and was passed fit but he had to come off after just eight minutes.

“That was a big moment in the game and another one was the double sending off but I felt we settled quickest after that. A point was the least we deserved from it but it really could have gone either way.”