Buildbase FA Trophy: Bradford Park Avenue 1 Stourbridge 1

BRADFORD Park Avenue and Stourbridge will convene again tomorrow night for a Buildbase FA Trophy third qualifying round replay after they couldn’t be separated in the initial meeting at a wintry Horsfall Stadium.

Having taken the tie back to the War Memorial Athletic Ground, the Glassboys, from a division below Vanarama National League North Park Avenue, may be seen as favourites to progress.

But Avenue boss Mark Bower doesn’t see it that way, saying: “We knew they were a good side and, having seen them this close up and in a tight game, it’s easy to see why they are doing well in their league and have beaten sides from leagues above in cup competitions, but we’ll go there with confidence.

“They are well organised and good at what they do. You can see how they upset opponents and how they get results because of the way they play.

"Hopefully it won’t be as windy and as cold down there for the replay and both sides can play some football.

“The conditions here were absolutely horrendous for this game and that affected the quality. Maybe the replay will be a better game, and the draw for the next round will already have been made so we’ll know what’s in store for the winner.”

The club had staff and volunteers at the ground working on the pitch yesterday morning of the game after a light snowfall overnight but had confirmed by mid-morning that the game would go ahead.

Avenue striker Oli Johnson almost gave the home side a tenth-minute lead with a back-post header after a slick through ball from Nicky Wroe had sent Adam Boyes into space.

Boyes delivered an excellent cross and Johnson planted his header downwards but the Glassboys’ keeper Matt Gould made a brilliant save, leaning back to claw the ball away.

It was the visitors who broke the deadlock just after the half-hour after a shot from Luke Shearer had been deflected wide.

The flag-kick was sent in by right winger Tom Tonks, and Stourbridge’s big striker Kyle Perry’s close-range header gave Steve Drench no chance.

Avenue carved out a chance to level the tie six minutes into the second half through good work from midfielder Jamie Spencer.

His pace took him past players on the left and he picked out Matt Hill in space in the area, but the former Premier League left back was denied by Gould.

It was a strike by Nicky Clee that got Avenue level just before the hour.

Johnson had sent in a shot that Gould did well to get a hand to, but the ball looped up and dropped for Clee, who drilled it in off a defender on the line.

There were chances for both sides during a second half that was far more entertaining than the first 45 minutes.

The best one fell to Avenue striker Boyes in the last minute but he fired over from the edge of the six-yard box.

Bower added: “It was a difficult game but I thought we added to our own problems by being sloppy in possession.

“We were better in the second half than we’d been in the first but 1-0 down and against that wind, it was always going to be hard to get back into it. We did get ourselves back in and we did have chances.

“Oli’s early header and Matt Hill’s shot were well saved by their keeper, who made a lot more good saves in the game.

"Adam had a great chance to win it but we’ll take the replay and if we’re at our best we know we can win it, but we have to be our best.”