Vanarama National League North: Leamington 2 Bradford Park Avenue 1

BRADFORD Park Avenue’s seven-game unbeaten run was ended by lowly Leamington at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.

Avenue boss Mark Bower had warned his side not to take anything for granted ahead of their trip to the Brakes, who were in the relegation places.

Bower stated that his side needed to be on top form but they were far from their best as Leamington banked their first home victory of the campaign at the sixth attempt.

Avenue started well and snatched an early lead against a nervous side, with a thumping James Knowles header converting Nicky Clee’s seventh- minute corner.

The Brakes battled their way back into the game, however, and when they equalised midway through the first half it was justified.

It stemmed from hesitation between Knowles and fellow defender Graham Kelly, who each thought that the other was going to deal with a through ball, and Knowles reacted a split second too late, Keiran Dunbar snatching possession and rounding Steve Drench before slotting home.

Avenue also started well in the second half and would have gone back in front had it not been for the lightning-fast reactions of home keeper Tony Breeden.

Adam Boyes was through with a sight of goal but Breeden parried his first effort and saved the follow up as the ball fell nicely for the Avenue striker.

Again the home side dragged themselves back into the contest and almost took the lead in the 68th minute.

Drench, who made a handful of saves in the second half, had to be at his best to palm Connor Gudger’s free-kick away.

Two substitutes combined to produce the Brakes’ late winner.

Kurtis Revan came off the bench in the 85th minute and was soon in the action.

Two minutes later, he skipped a challenge and fired in a shot that Drench could only parry, and Ahmed Obeng, who had come on in the 77th minute, tucked the loose ball home.

A disappointed Bower said: “We just didn’t play well - too many players were off the boil.

“I’m the first to praise the players when they do well, and they have been doing well, but today we were below par.

"It was never going to be an easy game. Leamington are a strong side who are always tough to beat.

“What’s important now is how we come back from it because we have a very tough FA Cup tie at Harrogate Town next.”