Boston United 2 Bradford (Park Avenue) 1

MARCUS Law got the reaction he demanded from his Bradford (Park Avenue) players following a poor midweek display but, despite a good performance from his side, they slipped to a narrow defeat at the Jakemans Stadium against Boston United.

Avenue remain second from bottom in the Vanarama National North with just five points from 10 games, but they frustrated the Pilgrims for long periods and were only undone by a rapid fire brace midway through the second half.

The visitors, who had named just three substitutes for the game, suffered a blow in the goalless first half as they lost Lewis Knight to injury around the half-hour mark. He had taken two heavy knocks in quick succession and despite treatment on the pitch Knight had to give way minutes later. He was replaced by Jaheim Headley, who had lost his place in the starting line-up to Elliot Holmes.

Avenue could count themselves unlucky not to be in front at the interval after having the better of the few chances in the first 45 minutes. Alex Hurst had broken through the home side’s defence but his shot was at Pilgrims’ keeper Pete Crook.

The best chance of the first half, for either side, came in the 34th minute when Avenue broke down the left flank and Riccardo Calder’s ball in found Ryan Cresswell but he failed to get decent purchase on his shot.

Former Boston and Rotherham United centre back Cresswell was up front for the vistors while Boston had former Park Avenue and Bradford

City centre back Simon Ainge leading their line as the two experienced defenders have been deployed in the opposition area late in their careers.

Ainge had efforts either side of the break but neither threatened Avenue keeper Jack Bennett’s goal. United’s manager Craig Elliott had made a double substitution ten minutes into the second half as they struggled to find a way past the visitors’ stoic defence.

But the stoicism didn’t last long as Avenue switched off at two crucial moments, firstly just as the Pilgrims boss was about to substitute Brad Abbott. Before the board went up the visitors’ defence failed to clear a cross and Abbott pounced to stab the ball past Bennett.

Just two minutes later Jordan Thewlis, who had come onto the field in Craig Elliott’s double throw of the dice, went on a slalom run through the Avenue defence before dispatching a low shot past the diving Bennett.

Avenue showed some backbone and they hit back with a little over five minutes remaining. Calder delivered an excellent ball over the home defence and, after Myron Gibbons had touched it on, Brad Dockerty tucked it around Crook and into the net.

The goal boosted Avenue and they had the Pilgrims on the rack in the last few minutes but couldn’t manufacture an equaliser.

Law said: “The players gave us absolutely everything and they carried out instructions.

“Putting the result to one side it was an encouraging performance. But we made errors at key times, lapses of concentration within two or three minutes of each other and that’s hurt us.”