Last-gasp penalty save clinches victory for Bradford Park Avenue (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Last-gasp penalty save clinches victory for Bradford Park Avenue
Bradford Park Avenue 2 Boston United 1
A penalty save deep into injury time from Tim Deasy saw Avenue gain revenge on Boston United.
The last time the clubs met was when the Pilgrims won promotion to the Conference North with an extra-time play-off final victory at Horsfall Stadium in 2010.
This time it was Avenue celebrating after Deasy saved Mark Newsham’s penalty five minutes into stoppage time to put them level on points with Boston.
After Richard Marshall was guilty of a rash challenge with a high foot in the box, Newsham’s effort from 12 yards was the last kick of the match before the referee blew the final whistle.
He struck the spot-kick well to the bottom left of Deasy but the keeper dived to parry and before he – or the Boston attackers – could pounce on the rebound the game was over.
Bradford boss John Deacey was delighted with the outcome.
He said: “I thought it was a good performance overall. We have to stop giving the ball away in certain areas of the pitch and we allowed Boston to dominate a 20-minute period at the start of the second half but we had a few man-of-the-match candidates.
“Matty James got us back in front after coming on as a substitute and that was just as well because I was thinking of subbing him.
“He had been rubbish but he took his goal really well and I hope that gives him the confidence he needs now.”
The home side grabbed the only goal of the fist half in the 35th minute when Danny Holland’s header from a free-kick was parried but, as the ball bounced back out off the line, Nathan Hotte netted from point-blank range.
Boston levelled just before the hour-mark when they had numbers forward for a quick break. Deasy was out swiftly to block an effort from Newsome on the edge of his area but the loose ball spun to Mark Jones, who drilled into the empty net from 19 yards.
The finish that James produced for the winner was superb. He picked up a through-ball from Paul Walker, outstripped his marker with a burst of pace and clipped a low shot that nutmegged Pilgrims’ keeper Dan Haystead.
Avenue defended their narrow lead manfully until Marshall’s late aberration which gifted the visitors the chance to snatch a draw.
Deacey had a special mention for his keeper Deasy.
The boss said: “He was magnificent. He made two good saves in the first half and two early in the second when we were under pressure. He saved the best for last though!”