Buildbase FA Trophy third qualifying round replay: Stourbridge 2 Bradford Park Avenue 1

THE hoped-for long run in the Buildbase FA Trophy that Bradford Park Avenue manager Mark Bower desired was not forthcoming as his side suffered a third qualifying round replay defeat last night to a side below them on the non-league ladder.

Bower had issued enough warnings to his players that Stourbridge, who are one step below on the football pyramid but are pushing for promotion from the Evo-Stik League Premier Division, would cause Avenue problems, and the Midlands outfit were probably the favourites having taken the tie back the War Memorial Athletic Ground.

And the Glassboys made the most of home advantage following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Horsfall Stadium as Avenue were once again off the boil.

Bower was succinct in his opening appraisal, saying: “We deserved to lose.”

“It was a disappointing performance – they dominated for 35 minutes while we took time to get going.

"We conceded a poor goal and never looked like creating enough to trouble them. It was a big opportunity missed.”

The Glassboys certainly had the better of the chances in the goalless first half, with Avenue keeper Steve Drench forced to parry a superb free-kick from Luke Benbow and then make an excellent save to deny Leon Broadhurst on the follow-up.

Bradford had half-chances either side of the break but Stourbridge finally broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half.

Once again it was Kyle Perry who caused the damage.

The Glassboys’ big striker had put them in front in the initial meeting at Horsfall and he got on the end of a long throw-in to beat Drench, although it may go down as an own goal after deflecting off an Avenue defender.

The home side doubled their lead in the 68th minute when Luke Shearer raced into the area and dispatched a shot past Drench.

Avenue pulled a goal back when Adam Boyes forced the ball past keeper Matt Gould.

The visitors mustered a spell of pressure but the equaliser, which wouldn’t have been deserved, remained elusive.

In fact, it was the home side that came closest to scoring as Perry was denied by the post in the penultimate minute.

Bower added: “We didn’t make good decisions on the ball. That’s two poor performances in three days but I won’t allow us to drop off.

“I hope that this hurts and refocuses a few minds because it needs to going into the next few league games.”

Thackley are in knockout action tonight as they host Swallownest in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Cup.

The Premier Division Dennyboys will welcome the Sheffield-based Division One outfit, who are newcomers to the league, in what is the first meeting of the clubs.