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Bradford Park Avenue do the business to earn fourth-round place
Carlton Town 1, Bradford Park Avenue 3
Bradford Park Avenue fired themselves into tomorrow's FA Cup fourth qualifying round with a business-like performance in Nottingham.
Carlton Town may have been from two steps lower on the football pyramid but they had home advantage and nothing to lose against their Blue Square Bet North Division visitors.
But Avenue took everything in their stride and ran out comfortable winners, despite conceding a penalty.
Alex Davidson put Avenue’s first chance over the bar but, with Paul Walker in excellent form, the visitors were looking dangerous and continued to create chances.
Walker fed Tom Greaves but his shot on the turn and Danny Holland’s follow-up header failed to find the target.
Former Avenue man Rubens Wiggins-Thomas provided Carlton’s first opening by putting Ian Brown through but visiting keeper Tim Deasy made a good save.
The tie burst into life in a hectic seven-minute spell around the half-hour mark.
Avenue’s probing finally led to a breakthrough with Martin Drury and Walker combining on the left flank, and the latter cutting inside before drilling in a low shot.
The visitors were soon pegged back after Deasy had a rush of blood. He hauled Wiggins-Thomas to the ground inside the area and home skipper Matt Varley sent the resulting penalty straight down the middle as the keeper gambled on a dive.
Minutes later, Avenue regained the lead from a move started by Michael Duckworth. He ghosted past three opponents in midfield and threaded a pass to Davidson, who found Greaves.
The striker’s shot crashed down off the underside of the bar but the assistant referee was well placed and he signalled that it had crossed the line.
Avenue continued to pile the pressure on and a Holland header clipped the post.
Greaves forced another good save out of the home keeper, and when a Davidson shot came back off the bar Greaves’ follow-up header was cleared off the line.
Half-time gave both sides chance to catch their breath but the break also took a little something away from the contest, making the second half seem dour by comparison.
There were half-chances for Avenue while they remained solid at the back. James Knowles and Nathan Hotte formed a formidable centre-back pairing.
The visitors did put the gloss on their win with a third goal in the 76th minute. Marshall found himself in space in a central area just outside the area and he picked out the bottom corner with a well-placed shot.