Vanarama National League North: Bradford Park Avenue 2 Altrincham 1

BRADFORD Park Avenue fell over the line against ten-man basement outfit Altrincham as they toiled to their latest win in Vanarama National League North.

They needed a tap-in from experienced defender Matt Hill ten minutes from time to snatch all three points, but the only detail that counts is that it was Avenue’s 11th league win of the season.

Mark Bower’s men now have a six-point cushion over the clubs in the drop zone with just seven games remaining.

Bower said: “That was a big win, a massive three points, and at this stage of the season that’s all that matters.

“We made it more difficult for ourselves than we needed to but we got the win.

"They went down to ten men early in the second half but it’s always hard to play against ten.

“It’s always tough playing a side bottom of the league because they are battling for anything they get, but I thought that we played well and created chances but not enough to make it a comfortable win.

“We took the lead with a wonderful goal started by Jake Hibbs. It was a great break by him and a superb through ball into Oli Johnson’s path.

"Jake has got that vision in him because he can play in midfield as well. It was a perfect through ball and Oli still had a lot to do but you always thought from that position that he’d put it away.”

It was Hibbs' last game of his loan spell before returning to FC Halifax Town, and it was a stunning send off as his run from right back took him to the edge of the centre circle, amd the defence-splitting through ball gave the alert Johnson every chance of opening the scoring.

With just a little over quarter of an hour on the clock, Avenue looked set to romp to a big win as the Robins’ main weapon appeared to be the long ball.

The only player causing Avenue any problems at all was Elliot Newby, another player making his final appearance on loan.

He produced a sublime piece of skill just before the half-hour as he chest trapped a raking long ball from Sam Patterson and stepped inside before sending a low drive into the corner of Jon Worsnop’s net from the edge of the area.

Unfortunately it was Newby who saw red just two minutes into the second half for an alleged elbow on Avenue winger Wayne Brooksby.

Alti began to run the clock down from that minute on.

Their time-wasting tactics frustrated the home side and almost paid off, but ten minutes from time Johnson sent in a header that saw Robins’ former Avenue keeper Tim Deasey clatter into his post as he tried to claw it out.

The ball came back off the woodwork and Hill side-footed in on the half-volley from three yards.