Vanarama National League North: Bradford Park Avenue 0 Gloucester City 1

A STRIKE ten minutes into the second half settled a poor game in favour of visitors Gloucester City as Mark Bower’s 20th Vanarama National League North game in charge of Bradford Park Avenue ended in a tame home defeat.

The former City skipper has led Avenue out of the drop zone but his side failed to improve on their position against mid-table Tigers.

Avenue had new signings Jake Hibbs and Gavin Rothery, both on loan from league rivals, on the bench as both made debuts in the second half.

The home side had begun well but they were slow out of the blocks after the interval, and Rothery, who joined from Gainsborough Trinity on Friday, was introduced for the last 30 minutes while Hibbs got just 13 minutes as he joined his former FC Halifax Town team-mate Nicky Wroe in central midfield.

The changes were needed after Gloucester striker Zack Kotwica was presented with the simple task of picking his spot from six yards.

The visitors were in the ascendancy at the time and the chance was created by a determined run and superb cut back by Luke Thomas.

The Tigers’ experienced keeper Jasbir Singh was tested in the 67th minute but ensured his side stayed in front with an excellent double save, parrying Emile Sinclair’s shot and then reacying superbly to stop Oli Johnson's follow up.

Wroe came close with an audacious chip from 40 yards which dropped just over the bar but had Singh back pedalling, and the visiting keeper made a smart save late on as Sinclair sent in a shot on the turn from just outside the area.

Avenue made a strong appeal for a penalty in the last minute for an alleged handball but the referee waved it away.

There were five minutes of added time - most of which was because Gloucester midfielder Darren Mullings suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder in the 85th minute – but Avenue couldn’t equalise.

That left Bower deflated, and he said: “I was disappointed with the result but more disappointed by the performance.

“Gloucester showed a lot more desire and determination in the first 20 minutes of the second half, and it was that spell that ultimately cost us.

"We’ve got an important period coming up with five games in 15 days, so there are a lot of points to be won or lost.

“It’s all about how we react to this result now.”