Eastwood Town 3, Avenue 0

It was heartbreak for Avenue last night as they failed in their attempt to bounce back into the UniBond Premier Division at the first time of asking.

Deep into Nottinghamshire they faced Eastwood Town, who had ended the regular Division One season just one place above their Bradford rivals.

Eastwood gained home adv-antage for the play-off semi-final because of that and they progressed in front of their own fans.

The match was won, and lost, in the opening 16 minutes as Eastwood rattled in two goals while Avenue, agonisingly, missed two glorious openings.

The nervous energy generated by the one-off, winner-takes-all game boiled over early in the second half and the referee had to book three players after restoring order.

Town's Paul Mitchell fired the home side in front with a well-struck shot from inside the area in only the second minute.

Kevin Sanasy fired over from point-blank range following a Chris Clarke header and Mark Wilson shot wide of a gaping target as Avenue pushed for an equaliser.

Town snatched another goal out of the blue just after the quarter-hour mark.

Peter Knox got a touch on the ball to round Avenue keeper Jon Worsnop before stroking the ball home.

The goal, against the run of play, appeared to knock the stuffing out of Avenue and they could not recover.

Gary Breech, one of the three players to be shown a yellow card in the 49th minute incident - along with Mitchell and Avenue's Neil Grayston - netted Town's third following a 74th-minute corner.

There were late half chances for the visitors but nothing for their contingent in the 355-strong crowd, which was at least a third, to cheer on a disappointing night.

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