Pre-season friendly: Bradford Park Avenue 2 Altrincham 4

BRADFORD Park Avenue saved their worst pre-season performance for their last game as they slumped to a heavy home defeat against Altrincham.

The Robins were relegated from Avenue’s division last season but have recruited well in the summer and looked strong against their Vanarama National League North hosts.

They had former Park Avenue keeper Tim Deasey in goal, while the home side had former Robins Luca Havern and Nicky Clee in their starting line-up.

There was a dream start for Avenue as Wayne Brooksby broke the deadlock inside the first minute.

It was an error from Alti centre back Tom Hannigan that allowed Brooksby to nip in, giving Deasey no chance.

A mistake at the other end let the Robins back into the game, however, as they netted from the penalty spot minutes before the interval.

James Knowles fouled John Johnson, and Jake Moult stepped up to drill his spot kick straight down the middle, Avenue keeper Steve Drench diving to his left-hand side.

Deasey made way at half-time, along with Hannigan, as Atrincham made a double substitution, and replacement keeper Tony Thompson presented Avenue with another early goal.

Thompson claimed a cross but spilled the ball as he ran into one of his own defenders and Adam Boyes, who slotted in.

The keeper claimed he had been impeded but that was more of a ploy to save face.

With Avenue 2-1 up, Altrincham finally clicked into gear and they turned the game with three goals in an 11-minute spell.

Johnson lashed in the equaliser from close range after the Avenue defence failed to deal with a low ball into Drench’s near post.

Drench could only parry James Poole’s 57th-minute shot from the edge of the area, and John Disney pounced to net the rebound.

The Robins’ fourth was a superb finish, a mid-air volley from substitute Josh Amis after a burst of pace and a great ball into the area from Tomoli Omotola.

Avenue boss Mark Bower couldn’t take any positives from the game, saying: “I thought we were poor in terms of our play and our decision- making.

“We need to be better in possession and when we’re looking to win the ball back because in this game we made bad decisions in all areas of the pitch.

"We didn’t even score goals - we were gifted them and still didn’t compete, but it’s better coming this week than next when the league games start.

"We have got this week to work with the players on the training ground, and after what I saw in this game we definitely do need to work on certain things.

“I knew Altrincham would give us a good test - the kind of test we will be facing in our league from next Saturday, because they are a good side so it’s a good thing that we took the game.”

The result, which was Avenue’s first defeat since returning from the close season, should have given the players a gentle reminder that the real work is yet to begin.