Vanarama National League North: Bradford Park Avenue 3 FC United of Manchester 0

IT WAS a game being billed as a clash of the strugglers but Bradford Park Avenue won the Roses derby against visitors FC United of Manchester at a canter.

It gave Mark Bower’s side their second victory of the new season and they are now on the same points as newcomers Blyth Spartans, who are just inside the top half of the early Vanarama National League North table.

Avenue have a glut of injuries and defender Javan Vidal serving a three- game suspension, so they could name only four substitutes.

One of them was former FC United centre back James Knowles, while former Avenue favourite Tom Greaves was on the visitors’ bench.

FC United could have done with Knowles, especially in the early stages as their defence was all over the place.

Avenue could have scored in the first minute but didn’t have long to wait as Adam Boyes broke the deadlock in the 17th minute.

Oli Johnson deserved a lot of the credit as it was his great run and cross that presented Boyes with the opportunity, and the striker timed his leap to perfection and nodded in at the far post from close range.

With Vidal and Knowles out of the starting line-up, there was a start for player-coach Ryan Toulson, and the right back’s long throw-ins posed another threat to the visitors’ shaky looking backline.

The first period ended with Avenue still holding their slender lead, but a second-half brace from Wayne Brooksby made it a comfortable victory.

Ten minutes after the interval, it was 2-0 and ten minutes later it was game over.

Great play between Johnson and Toulson led to a corner, and when the flag-kick was delivered, Brooksby fired a low, angled drive past FC United’s overworked keeper Lloyd Allinson.

It was a shot from Boyes, parried by Allinson, which gifted Brooksby his second goal as he pounced to lash the loose ball in from point-blank range.

Bower was delighted with his team’s performance, saying: “It’s easy to underestimate FC United because of their position but they are a good side, so this was a very good win for us.

“They have just had a very difficult start, like we have, and have already played a lot of the top sides, but I thought we worked hard, did the basics well and forced them into errors that we then made the most of.

“It was an important win as well because the pressure was beginning to build after three defeats on the trot.

"This win will give the confidence back to the lads as we go into next weekend’s bank holiday, when there are a lot of points on offer in a short space of time.

“And after conceding ten goals over the last three games, it was very pleasing to get a clean sheet.”