BRADFORD (Park Avenue) are top of the Vanarama National League North after gaining a point in a 1-1 draw against Curzon Ashton at the Tameside Stadium and, although it might only be a temporary visit to the summit, the table makes for good reading.

Mark Bower’s men were joint top with Chorley but with the Magpies in FA Cup action, Avenue seized their chance to go top. Chorley trail the new leaders by a point, but now have two games in hand on them.

Following their stalemate against Curzon, who are old rivals, Bradford manager Bower was deflated. He said: “Over the course of the game we were the better side and should have won.

“You could see from the way they set up that they would be happy with a draw as they were slowing the game down.

"We had them camped in for the first 20 minutes of the second half, and even into injury time, they were messing with substitutes because they wanted to protect what they had.

"What’s disappointing is that having got ourselves into a winning position, we have given a poor goal away. We’ve gone top of the league but looking around our dressing room you wouldn’t think it.

“I think sometimes you just have to keep expectations in check. We’ve come away from home to a side in the top ten of the league and we’re disappointed to come away with a draw.

“So its mixed emotions really, we’re pleased to get a point but we should have won.

“We got in good areas but we lacked that quality in the last third and that’s fine, because we’re not going to play like we did at York last week or at home against Chorley the week before every time.

“It’s not going to happen with a part time squad at this level of football.”

Avenue suffered an early setback as Oli Johnson lasted just 12 minutes before his recurring knee injury forced him off, Ben McKenna coming off the bench to replace him.

They were soon into their stride though and Lewis Knight and Jake Beesley both brought saves out of home keeper Cam Mason.

Bradford keeper Steve Drench was not untroubled in the goalless first half though and Niall Cummins really should have done better when one on one with him.

The hosts were packing their defence so the visitors were restricted to long range efforts, before a foul on Nicky Clee led to a 64th minute free kick. Knight whipped it in and Beesley thumped a header past Mason.

The lead lasted just four minutes, as Oli Crankshaw netted Curzon’s equaliser after a shot from Ryan Brooke had deflected to him.