A LATE equaliser from Luca Havern rescued a 1-1 draw for Bradford (Park Avenue) against Alfreton Town – but more importantly it lifted them up one place to fourth in the National North.

Park Avenue were trailing to Billy Heath’s Reds, but a storming finish from the home side almost led to them claiming a maximum three points. Had they managed to convert one of their late chances Avenue would have ended the day in joint third.

It may have been a chance to go level on points with third-placed Brackley Town but the hard earned draw was a positive, and it keeps Mark Bower's men in the thick of the battle for a play-off finish.

The visitors had the better of the few half-chances there were in a first half that lacked any real quality.

Heath’s side’s had three glimpses of goal – a shot from Dec Bacon that was blocked by Danny Lowe with the Avenue defender being flattened by the drive; a back post header from Josh Clackstone that looped over; and a low 25-yard shot from Jordan Sinnott that zipped just past the base of Charlie Andrew’s post.

Avenue had mounted some good attacks and were much improved after the interval but their best football came after they went a goal down. The Reds took the lead in the 76th minute through substitute Reece Styche.

Styche had replaced Sinnott eight minutes earlier and when a long throw-in caused the Avenue defence all kinds of problems Styche acrobatically hooked the ball past Andrew from close range.

From then on it was one-way traffic as Avenue had Alfreton defending deep and relying on the counter-attack. They had two half-hearted penalty appeals on those breakaways but both were instantly dismissed by referee Nat Cox.

Avenue finally got the reward for their concerted pressure following an 86th minute set piece.

After a dipping shot from Avenue’s newest recruit, on loan 17-year-old Hull City Academy striker Keane Lewis-Potter, could only be parried by visitors’ keeper Sam Ramsbottom it led to another long throw-in.

Nicky Clee hurled the ball in and, although it was half cleared, Danny Lowe broke and put in a cross that Jake Beesley helped on before Avenue centre back Havern laced a knee-high half volley past Rambottom.

Avenue manager Bower was satisfied with a point.

He said: “I thought the lads showed great character with that late comeback after going behind and once we had scored there was only one team that would have won it.

“I’d like to thank all of the volunteers that came down to the ground from mid morning onwards to put the sprinklers out so that we could water the pitch. The pitch is very uneven and bobbly and it’s even worse when it’s dry and that doesn’t suit our game.

“They are a good side and are on a good run – you can tell that from the quality they had on the bench.

"We knew that it was going to be a difficult game but I though we handled it well and if some of the big refereeing decisions had gone our way I think we would have won it.”