Bradford Park Avenue 1, Colwyn Bay 2
Bradford Park Avenue put everything into their home game against Colwyn Bay but were still second best against the Welsh outfit.
Frank Sinclair’s outfit are a tough side to beat and had the edge over their hosts on the day.
In fact, the scoreline perhaps did Avenue a favour in that it failed to reflect the visitors’ second-half dominance.
Horsfall boss John Deacey pulled no punches as he said: “They (Colwyn) wanted it more and were keener and sharper.
“They were quicker to everything all over the pitch and used the ball intelligently.
“We did okay at times and having to make an early change didn’t help, but that’s not an excuse. They got the win they deserved and we have to do better on Wednesday (at home to Workington).”
Avenue created the first real opening with a superb passing move in the 13th minute but Paul Beesley’s shot was weak.
Bay goalkeeper Chris Sanna almost made a hash of it but he recovered to gather the ball before Jordan Deacey could pounce.
The visitors were forced into a substitution even earlier than Avenue’s when Tom Smyth replaced Mike Lea in a rejigged back four.
Smyth proved to be something of a secret weapon and caused problems for Avenue’s defence midway through the first half with two huge throw-ins.
Colwyn did break the deadlock before the half-hour mark when Jamie Ellison lashed in a half-volley.
The danger came from a quick break down the right and although the resulting cross was too deep, the ball was worked back in for Ellison to rifle home.
The home side were reshuffling their line-up soon after as Nicky Boshell pulled up and made way for Chris Howarth.
Just minutes later, the home side levelled with a goal out of the blue. A counter-attack did not look too threatening but the ball was worked to Beesley and his low shot spun off the inside of the base of the post.
A covering defender slid in to scoop the ball away but it had already crossed the line.
The first half ended with honours even and neither side could complain. Avenue then began the second period well and forced an early corner from which Ryan Qualter headed just over.
But the visitors were soon back on top and although it took them until the 74th minute to fashion their winner, Marc Williams netting a stooping back-post header across keeper John Lamb, they could have had more goals to show for their efforts.
Deacey said: “Nicky came off with a recurrence of the injury he got on Monday against Vauxhall Motors. He told us it was fine but it obviously wasn’t.”