Vanarama National League North: Brackley Town 0 Bradford Park Avenue 1

BRADFORD Park Avenue are back to within two points of the play-off places in Vanarama National League North after a narrow victory at third-placed Brackley Town last night.

The unlikely goal hero was Ryan Toulson after the player-coach began the game in a midfield role.

Toulson, whose more regular position is at right back, was lurking on the edge of the area just before he broke the deadlock in the 80th minute.

His midfield partner Nicky Wroe played the ball into the area and as Oli Johnson back-headed it on, Toulson raced in to meet it and slammed it past home keeper Danny Lewis.

Johnson had returned to the squad following a three-match suspension and came on from the bench to replace Frank Mulhern just nine minutes before claiming the assist.

There were few clear-cut chances for either side in the goalless first half of what was a very tight game but the home side would have taken the lead in the 68th minute had it not been for Yorkshire keeper Ed Hall.

Hall, who played his second game for the Yorkshire ‘international’ side last Sunday, was alert and agile as he tipped a volley from James Armson onto his crossbar.

Delighted Avenue manager Mark Bower said: “It’s great to come to a place like this and get the win. They are not third in the league and going to Wembley in the FA Trophy final for nothing.

“Were we the better side? Probably not as I thought they had a lot of the ball and created pressure but we defended really, really well.

"I thought both teams deserved a lot of credit for playing some half-decent stuff on probably the worst pitch I have seen at this level.

“I thought it was horrendous, verging on dangerous. For us it’s a great win, but possibly a little too late to get us in that top seven.

"However, the lads have shown the desire and have found that bit of form and are playing with that bit of swagger again.”

The win took Avenue above rivals York City on goal difference, having played the same number of games.

But Bower’s men have played more games than the clubs already in the play-off places.