THE fixture had been billed as a Bradford City XI to warn fans at Horsfall that Avenue would not be facing any of the more established names.

But the line-up sent out for the annual Tom Banks trophy was sprinkled with enough senior experience – to start with anyway – to add some gravitas to the evening.

It’s a sign of the growing size of Michael Collins’ squad that the likes of Nathaniel Knight-Percival and Shay McCartan were pressed into duty.

Throw in Tyrell Robinson topping up his match minutes after his cameo run-out against Sheffield United and Omari Patrick and there were some familiar faces with a point to prove.

Robinson had City’s first shot of anger straight at Steven Drench before McCartan bent a free-kick narrowly over.

Mark Bower’s Avenue team sheet was littered with trialists – at least eight at the last count – as opposed to City’s two.

Luca Colville is becoming a regular face in the pre-season midfield while the keeper, Russian Nikita Khaikin, was the mystery man in goal for the second half of the Blades game.

And former Huddersfield youngster Colville certainly did his chances no harm with a sensational long-range strike.

It was one of the Avenue “unknowns” who broke the deadlock midway through the first half, bundling the ball home at the far post after Ryan Toulson had floated in the cross.

Kai Bruenker turned his man neatly to set up McCartan but the Irishman dragged a shot past the post. The German then saw his own header from Ellis Hudson’s cross saved by Drench.

Hudson, playing at left back, was enjoying plenty of the ball as City chased an equaliser. Patrick was not far away with a curler on the turn – but then got completely underneath McCartan’s square pass and skied his next attempt.

Avenue’s frontline of trialists weren’t the biggest but they knocked it around well and Khaikin saved with his legs at the near post – his last action before making way for George Sykes-Kenworthy at the break.

Bruenker threw himself about but the finish wasn’t there and he planted a free header wide from McCartan’s corner soon after the restart.

Ben McKenna was far more accurate with a teasing cross-shot that brought a fine one-handed save from Sykes-Kenworthy to turn it round the post.

Lanky target man Tom Clare saw his first action as City rang the changes.

But by the mid-point of the half, neither team bore much resemblance to the original line-ups.

Colville was one of the survivors – and justified his presence with an absolute rocket to level after 70 minutes.

His left-footed screamer from 35 yards flew into the top corner.

Having taken the plaudits, he was soon heading for the bench to a well-earned ovation for providing the highlight of the night.

And City came back to take the win in the last minute when Clare showed a cool head to slide home from 10 yards. An impressive way for the former Barnsley man to open his account.

AVENUE: Drench, Toulson, Lowe, Wroe, Killock, Havern, McKenna, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Clee. Subs: Johnson, Boshell, Nowakowski, Spencer, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist.

CITY: Khaikin, Devine, Knight-Percival, Isherwood, Hudson, Patrick, Gunner, Colville, Bruenker, McCartan, Robinson. Subs: Hefele, Peters, Powell, Staunton, Milambo, Farrar, Basic, Adams, Clare, Prata, Sykes-Kenworthy.