Vanarama National League North: Bradford Park Avenue 3 Tamworth 4

IT turned out to be a seven-goal thriller that could have gone either way but that looked unlikely as Tamworth opened up a 4-1 lead in this Vanarama National League North clash with less than 15 minutes remaining.

The Lambs had had the rub of the green for 80 minutes but Avenue put in a storming finish and were almost rewarded.

The home side scored twice, once from the penalty spot, and Tamworth’s attacking midfielder Callum Powell picked up two yellow cards in stoppage time as he was forced into defensive duties and proved that he wasn’t up to the task.

However, despite the visitors ending with ten men, they held on for a win that they just about deserved.

That wasn’t a view shared by Avenue manager Mark Bower, however, who said: “It’s very disappointing not to get something out of that game.

“I think we were fortunate to get the win at their place and they have been very fortunate to get the win here.

"I don’t think their performance warranted a four-goal return, and for me that was the only reason we lost the game.

“Their first goal takes a big deflection over Drenchy (keeper Steve Drench) and the second one, the referee lets them take the free-kick and then whistles but then allows play to continue. We’d stopped - perhaps we shouldn’t have!

“Their fourth goal was another massive deflection. The shot came in from outside the area and hits one of their players. There’s nothing you can do about those.”

Andy Morrell’s Lambs broke the deadlock after just 69 seconds when Connor Taylor netted on the follow up to Darryl Knight’s shot.

Avenue responded with a good spell, and Oli Johnson restored parity in the ninth minute when he slotted in from an angle to complete a good move.

The visitors led by the break after Powell hit a low shot that dipped as it beat Drench to nestle just inside the Avenue keeper’s left-hand post.

Home striker Adam Boyes came agonisingly close to a second equaliser minutes into the second half but Avenue were soon 3-1 down as Aman Verma judged the flight of a long free-kick better than Drench and glanced a header in with the keeper nowhere near the ball.

The Lambs’ fourth was a speculative effort from distance by recent signing Zack Kotwica which flew to Drench’s left, after the deflection, as he dived to his right.

Bower made changes and sent Adam Nowakowski on from the bench, and two minutes later he headed home a free-kick.

With ten minutes remaining, Avenue were awarded a penalty after Lambs substitute Drew Ricketts had handled the ball.

Johnson confidently blasted the ball in, despite Tamworth keeper Shaun Rowley’s antics and his movement before the ball was struck.

Bower added: “We conceded poor goals, which hasn’t been like us in this run we’ve had.

“Also there were key moments in the game that went against us like Boyesy being through one on one when it was still only 2-1, and the late free-kicks that could easily have brought us another goal.

“The ball dropping to the wrong player or taking a bobble just as someone is about to strike, just bad luck really.

"We had Mark Ross missing from our back four, which has been immense in our run of four straight wins, because of illness.

"But even if he’d been there, those wicked deflections would still have happened.

“If we’d been offered 12 points from the last five games we’d have snatched it, and that’s what we’ve got so we’ve got to be happy.

"It’s about how we react now, how we come back from this and get another little run going.”