Cup competitions swelled Bradford Park Avenue's coffers

Chib Chilaka tries to outrun familiar foes in Kidderminster Harriers defenders last season

Chib Chilaka tries to outrun familiar foes in Kidderminster Harriers defenders last season

First published in Sport by

Bradford Park Avenue may have had a mundane league season as they looked to consolidate their position in Skrill Conference North but once again they went on cup journeys.

Bradford boss John Deacey has always been modest about the cup runs he has led the club on.

He always claims that his club are never going to win the FA Cup or FA Trophy, so his focus is on league progress - but the truth is that Avenue’s exploits in the national competitions have greatly boosted the coffers over recent seasons.

This season was no different as Avenue knocked neighbours Guiseley and Penrith out of the FA Cup on their way to the fourth qualifying round.

Bradford had gone one better by reaching the first-round proper in both of the previous two seasons.

They had ambitions to make a third consecutive appearance on the round-up in the television highlights programmes.

That was until the draw gave them a tie against Kidderminster Harriers, who were second in the Conference Premier at the time.

Deacey spoke of playing “the second best team in non-league football” in the build up to the game.

It was late October, and Avenue held the club knocking on the door of the Football League 1-1 at home but lost 2-1 after extra-time in the replay.

In typical football irony, the clubs were drawn together a month later in the first round of the FA Trophy.

Avenue again had home advantage and they made it pay, exacting revenge over the Harriers with a 2-1 victory.

But football being football, the irony was not over. Avenue were drawn against a resurgent Guiseley in the next round and were sent spinning out by Mark Bower’s men following a 3-0 loss at Nethermoor.

The trail in the West Riding County Cup was a cul-de-sac as they were beaten by Conference North neighbours Harrogate Town in the second round, having received a bye in the first round.

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