Bradford Park Avenue 1 FC Halifax Town 3

BRADFORD Park Avenue remain just above the National North relegation zone after defeat in a local derby with FC Halifax Town which was marred by crowd trouble.

The game was an absorbing contest and one without a malicious challenge, although both sides ended the afternoon with ten men.

Yet the game was overshadowed by a large group of supporters being ejected after scuffles before kick-off, although they remained in the area which led to fights outside the ground after the final whistle.

For the genuine supporters of these two clubs – long-term West Yorkshire rivals separated by just six miles – it was the last thing that anyone wanted to see.

Relegation-threatened Avenue played well but the promotion-chasing Shaymen ran out deserved winners, although they will know that they were in a game and that the margin of victory was flattering.

Avenue enjoyed the better of the few chances in a goalless first half and took the lead after 64 minutes when Oli Johnson lobbed the ball over Halifax goalkeeper Sam Johnson from an acute angle.

But the home side's lead lasted just six minutes as Richard Peniket latched on to a loose ball in the six-yard box and drilled a low shot across goalkeeper Jon Worsnop.

The two scorers were then the two players shown red cards. Johnson was dismissed in the 79th minute for a second bookable offence and Peniket was sent off in the closing stages after appearing to catch home skipper Ryan Toulson with an elbow.

The Shaymen had just taken lead before Peniket's dismissal as substitute Tom Denton converted a Matty Brown cross, nodding past Worsnop as the ball bounced up.

Fifth-placed Halifax made sure of the three points in added time. Avenue were pushing for an equaliser when Town opponent Matty Kosylo broke clear from the halfway line and rounded Worsnop before slotting home.

Avenue boss Mark Bower was happy with the effort and commitment from his side but far from satisfied with the officiating.

He said: "We gifted them an equaliser and then the sending off made it difficult for us. But how their second goal was allowed to stand totally escapes me.

"There was a clear foul on James Knowles as the cross was played in. He was being held down like something you'd see in a wrestling ring.

"I thought the referee was very poor for both sides. He has sent players off and on his last visit here, he denied us a clear penalty for a worse offence. I thought that the game was too big for him and some of the decisions were shocking.

"Obviously, after allowing Halifax back in it, we were pushing up looking for an equaliser when their lad breaks for the third, so it looks one-sided."