BRADFORD (Park Avenue) beat National League North promotion rivals Chester 2-0 as a lightening quick start set Avenue on their way to their first victory of 2019.

Striker Jake Beesley bundled the ball into the net after just 25 seconds as the Blues defence switched off. Lewis Knight had burst down the right flank and dribbled his way onto the area along the whitewash before chipping a ball to the far post.

The Chester back line and keeper Grant Shenton remonstrated with the referee and his assistant but both the officials were well-placed and the goal stood. The visitors almost had a third-minute equaliser as their former Guiseley man Anthony Dudley got the ball with his back to goal and his shot on the turn was deflected just wide of the base of the post.

Dudley, who had two spells on loan with the Lions while he was a Bury player, had an even better chance just before the quarter-hour mark. The forward was in the clear after slipping the offside trap but, with only Charlie Andrew to beat, the young keeper made a stunning reaction save from point-blank range.

Beesley doubled the home side’s lead after racing away in the 35th minute. A good through ball and Beesley’s burst of speed took him into the area. Shenton came off his line to meet him and blocked the striker’s initial effort but the ball broke and he poked it in past a covering defender.

There were two more openings for Avenue before the break and in the first part of the second half but Chester asserted some late pressure. Avenue substitute Romoney Crichlow-Noble made some timely clearances and interventions while Jamie Spencer headed off the line to deny Chester centre back Danny Livesey converting a corner.

Avenue manager Mark Bower was happy to bank his first win of the year, in the club’s only home game of February. He said: “We’re delighted with the win and I think it was a well-deserved one.

“The early goal gave everyone a lift and it was perfect for our game plan. I don’t know what the Chester defenders were complaining about, they might have thought the ball had gone out of play but you play to the whistle.

“It’s been a long time since our last win, at Guiseley, but I don’t think that we’ve got the rewards we deserved since then. Apart from the games at Stockport and Brackley where we were poor, the others were all close games.

“We had an experienced back four but the rest of the team was very young and inexperienced but we were delighted with the way they saw the game out. The second half was mainly a non-event but the players showed the right qualities and attitude and we didn’t give Chester many opportunities.

"We looked comfortable right up until the end when they went more attacking and threw bodies forward. There were a few chances for them then but we dealt with it very well.”