Rollercoaster season full of peaks and troughs for Bradford Park Avenue (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Rollercoaster season full of peaks and troughs for Bradford Park Avenue
Bradford Park Avenue finished a creditable tenth in their second season in the Conference North but the campaign gave the supporters much more of a rocky ride than their first one back in the sixth tier of English football.
Avenue claimed seventh spot in the previous campaign, just two places outside the play-offs.
It was largely steady progress that season whereas this term featured more peaks and troughs.
They began badly with back-to-back defeats, losing at Leamington on the opening day and then 4-0 at home to newcomers North Ferriby United.
John Deacey’s side stabilised with three consecutive draws but it was not until the second month of the campaign that they claimed their first victory.
Avenue triumphed 2-1 at Worcester City with goals from Paul Walker and Steve Mallory.
Having discovered the winning formula, they racked up victories against AFC Telford United, who went on to lift the title, neighbours Guiseley and the highly-fancied Boston United in a five-game run.
They knocked Guiseley out of the FA Cup at the second qualifying round stage to finish off a glorious September, which brought Deacey the manager of the month award.
That was very much the highlight of the season for Bradford. They took 13 points from 15 in the midst of that spell but that number then proved to be unlucky.
Avenue’s long unbeaten run ground to a halt after 13 games in all competitions with an exit to local rivals Harrogate Town in the West Riding County Cup and heavy back-to-back defeats in the league followed.
It was not a good Christmas period for the club. A run of six straight defeats was followed by a postponement on New Year’s Day.
Bradford’s potentially luc-rative home game against Stockport County was shelved because of a waterlogged pitch.
Avenue endured four more postponements in early February as the wet winter took its toll.
It was March before their season got back on track and a four-game unbeaten run lifted them back up towards mid-table.
A win at Brackley Town and a home draw against Harrogate were the stand-out results in that much-needed mini-revival.
A 4-1 loss at former boss Lee Sinnott’s Altrincham ended the run and it was followed by the chastening experience of a 5-0 home defeat as promotion-chasing Brackley got their revenge.
Those two defeats saw the pessimistic doom mongers crawling back out of the woodwork and mentioning the R-word.
Realistically, there was little chance of relegation and three wins lifted Avenue back into the top ten.
Despite ending the campaign with two draws, they held on to that place.
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