FC United of Manchester 5, Bradford Park Avenue 2
A three-goal salvo in the last 11 minutes handed FC United a handsome victory over a stunned Avenue side.
John Deacey’s men had matched their hosts for most of the game but fell apart after conceding a late penalty.
The defeat dropped Avenue from second to sixth in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division table, one place below FC United who leapfrogged them on goal difference.
But they have not lost too much ground because the top seven clubs are separated by just three points.
Avenue lost striker Aiden Savory to what looked like a hamstring injury early on and also had a strong penalty claim waved away when Nicky Boshell went through and seemed to be impeded by two home defenders.
United took the lead midway through the first half when Lee Neville headed in following a corner but Avenue responded in the 36th minute. Michael Duckworth, who had replaced Savory, raced into the home area and dispossessed a defender before slotting in.
The home side still led at the interval though after Avenue were guilty of questionable defending at another set-piece. Again the delivery from the corner was allowed to reach an unmarked FC man, this time Adam Jones heading in.
Avenue got back on terms just after the hour mark when Richard Marshall netted a superb strike after a move that had stemmed from a throw-in.
The Bradford club almost snatched the lead in the 71st minute but midfielder Rob O’Brien’s shot on the turn was tipped for a corner. Then it all went wrong.
Michael Norton broke into the Avenue area but was in a wide position at an acute angle to the goal when Alex Noteman, who had also come off the bench following an injury to Matty Plummer, took him down. Stephen Torpey netted from the spot.
Two minutes later Michael Carr produced a wonder strike to make it 4-3 and in the penultimate minute, following a sweeping passing move, Matthew Wolfenden wrapped up the scoring.
There was further injury woe for Avenue boss Deacey as James Knowles, who had returned to the starting line-up as skipper, limped out of central defence before the end of the game.