Vanarama National League North: Bradford Park Avenue 4 Blyth Spartans 1

BRADFORD Park Avenue won an entertaining game to stun third-placed Blyth Spartans in Vanarama National League North.

The north-east outfit had a nightmare start in the early kick-off at a sunny Horsfall Stadium, and never recovered.

Avenue are now back up to tenth, and manager Mark Bower was delighted with his side’s display.

He said: “It’s a great result and a deserved one because we played as well as we had done at Harrogate and at home to Salford last week.

“This time we got the rewards for our efforts and we could have won it by more really because we continued to create chances.

"We’ve taken four points from three very tough games and it could have been nine given the way we’re playing.”

After battling for a point from a 1-1 draw at then-leaders Harrogate Town, Avenue hosted new leaders Salford City last weekend, and the visitors were delighted to escape with all three points from a 2-1 win after snatching two late goals.

Spartans were not as lucky as title rivals as Avenue ripped them apart and had four different scorers.

The first was Wayne Brooksby, slotting in from eight yards after hesitation from Spartans centre back Ryan Hutchinson.

Avenue could have had three inside ten minutes as Brooksby nodded home in the fourth minute, only to be flagged offside, and a Shane Killock header from a ninth-minute corner was cleared off the line.

The visitors finally found a gear, however, and began to compete in what became an end-to-end game.

Avenue had to wait until stoppage time in the first half to double their lead, Oli Johnson sliding in at the back post to convert Brooksby’s inviting ball through the six-yard box.

Blyth had already made their first change before Avenue stretched their lead to 3-0.

A through ball was chased down by Adam Boyes and, after beating Spartans’ beleaguered keeper Peter Jameson to it, he laid it off to Jamie Spencer, who rifled in his first goal for the club.

Boyes rolled the fourth one in, after again beating Jameson to a through ball.

Spartans had switched to a back three by then after sending forwards on from the bench to have five attackers in front of two holding midfielders.

They did grab a goal but it was a mere consolation.

Avenue conceded a free-kick right on the edge of the area, and Blyth skipper Robbie Dale got a second chance.

His first effort rebounded off the wall but Spencer had encroached before it was taken.

Dale fired the re-take low and it beat Steve Drench after passing under the wall.

Bower added: “It was disappointing not to keep a clean sheet and a little frustrating because young Jamie hardly came forward at the free-kick. That might have tempered the win a bit but it was still a victory that we could all enjoy.

“Killock had a great game on his return from his loan spell, but you couldn’t single anyone out because it was a great performance across the board, especially as I had only 13 fit players this morning.

“They have all played really well, Adam (Nowakowski) would have been nowhere near the bench if we had more bodies but he’s come on and done a great job for us, Nicky (Clee) has been sick all week and hadn’t trained, and the two centre backs had never played alongside each other before.

“It was a great team performance given the circumstances, so the win does lift spirits.”