Lancaster City 4, Avenue 3

Avenue finished with ten men and no points, despite coming from behind three times in this roses clash at Lancaster's Giant Axe ground.

Striker Ben Jones maintained his goal-a-game ratio but skipper Ross Clegg trudged off four minutes from time after picking up a second yellow card. He had been handed the armband after club captain Graham Allen was released.

The former Football League defender lost his battle to shake off a nagging, career-threatening injury. His departure and the continued absence of the injured Matt Daly left Avenue under-strength at the heart of their defence.

It was the other end that dominated early proceedings, Jones and new strike partner Paul Gedman again proving a handful. Both went close before the home side sprung into action to take a 15th-minute lead.

A Ryan-Zico Black free-kick to the far post led to a scramble and Danny Meadowcroft put through his own goal.

Avenue's first equaliser came from a similar route, a 28th-minute free-kick by Adam Morning being headed in by Chris Gaghan.

There were several more chances at either end but the fact that it was an entertainment extravaganza will have done nothing for the state of mind of either manager.

The Lancastrians led at the break after Meadowcroft and Andy Barlow hesitated four minutes before the interval, Dave Foster racing through to seize the initiative and fire in City's second.

In the third minute of the second period Avenue were level again, Jones lashing in from the corner of the area. Yet having conceded an own goal and been guilty of a defensive lapse, Bradford then gifted their hosts another goal.

Keeper Jon Worsnop sent a clearance straight to City striker Foster, who controlled the ball and raced into the area. His progress was curtailed illegally by Worsnop, who was shown a yellow card before Black fired in the resulting penalty.

One ray of light for Avenue came with the introduction off the bench of Mike Moseley, the striker who has been sidelined since the opening day of the season through injury.

It took him two minutes to open his account, putting Avenue back on terms for the third time. It was not quite the equal of Jones' goal of the game but it was a firm strike from 15 yards after some very nifty footwork.

With 15 minutes remaining, Black got on the end of a left-wing cross to nod home Lancaster's winner. Bradford had a late chance to steal a point when Gedman went close with a header but it would only have papered over the cracks.