Vanarama National League North: Alfreton Town 1 Bradford Park Avenue 3

AN excellent second-half display overturned Alfreton Town’s single-goal lead and led to Bradford Park Avenue extending their winning run in  Vanarama National League North to four games.

It turned out to be a comfortable victory as a third goal from Mark Bower’s Avenue midway through the second half crushed the spirits of the Reds, with the home side having little to offer in the final 23 minutes.

Alfreton won 2-1 at AFC Telford United the previous Saturday to end a run of four straight league defeats and were looking to build on that with another positive result.

Even though Avenue had a good six-minute spell just before the home side broke the deadlock, Alfreton may have edged the first half.

However, Bower disagreed, saying: “I thought it was even in the first half - we got into good areas but complicated things.

“We told the players at half-time to simplify things and we were completely dominant in the second half.

"Only one team was ever going to win it. The players have set standards that they didn’t live up to in the first half but we went back to basics in the second half.

“In the end, we thoroughly deserved the win.”

The Reds snatched the lead midway through the first half and it looked like an own goal as Mark Ross stuck out a foot as a low ball was drilled into the area.

Tom Platt, who had been involved in the build up, claimed the final touch as he followed in when the ball came back across the six-yard box.

It was a bitter blow to Avenue, who had created their first chance on the quarter-hour when Adam Boyes shot just wide after Wayne Brooksby had controlled a long through ball and played the striker in.

Midfielder Nicky Clee had a couple of attempts, and Alfreton’s Tom Allen escaped a card after a nasty-looking challenge on Brooksby.

Clee picked up a yellow card minutes later, and that had the Park Avenue bench on their feet as they protested about the lack of consistency from the officials.

Parity was restored in the third minute of the second half, and it was Boyes who slotted in.

The chance was created when Jamie Spencer burst through and, although his strong run was ended by a good tackle, the ball broke for the centre forward.

Both keepers were in the action, with Steve Drench making a fine save to deny Marcus Day, while home stopper Chris Elliott made some top saves, and a couple of later efforts were blocked by a combination of the woodwork and some last-ditch defending.

Avenue’s second-half determination was relentless, however, and two goals in an eight-minute spell ensured that the points were secured.

Centre back Shane Killock converted Nicky Wroe’s 59th-minute corner with a powerful downward header, and Oli Johnson ended a superb attack with a close-range shot that gave Elliott no chance.