BRADFORD (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is adamant his side can not blame the difficult conditions for their 2-2 draw with Halesowen Town in the FA Trophy first round.

Despite taking the lead through a Lewis Knight strike, Avenue found themselves a goal down thanks to Robbie Evans first half finish and a 76th-minute penalty from Ashley Sammons.

However, Bradford responded brilliantly as captain Keith Lowe headed home to force a replay.

Heavy rain overnight meant the Horsfall turf was given an early morning inspection which eventually declared the pitch good enough for the cup tie to take place.

Bower does not want to accept that the result was down to the conditions and believes the weather effected both sides to produce a quality lacking affair.

He said: "It was an awful game, obviously the conditions were really tough, the wind as well doesn’t help the spectacle.

"It (the pitch) had an effect but I am not going to give excuses the team that went out on that pitch were more than capable of doing better.

"It is Christmas in one week and you come across pitches which are difficult to play on, you have to adapt.

"We had some young lads out there today who don’t come across those conditions every week, there players with all due respect are a little bit more used to that."

Bower added: "We started really well on the front foot, dominating the game, deservedly we went in front.

"Then we just switched off a long ball, we were a bit hesitant their lad goes through, shoots and scores.

"Second half we just never got going it took us until the last 15 minutes, the conditions were difficult, but players were miss placing 10-15 yard passes which there is no excuse for.

"As soon as we started moving the ball we caused them problems got the goal and hit the post late on which could have potential nicked it which would have been a bit unfair on them."

Bower is complementary of his skipper's overall performance, utilising his leadership skills to drag his young team from the brink of defeat.

The Bradford boss also revealed Knight will definitely not be fit enough for Tuesday’s replay at the Grove.

He said: "Lowey (Keith Lowe) set the example today to some of the other lads by just doing the simple things, he followed his pass and got into the box and it was a great header.

"He (Knight) felt his hamstring after a backheel, a number of players do their hamstrings when they do them.

"It happens so he has got no chance for Tuesday then we will see how bad it is after that.

"With hamstrings you have got to be really careful and especially with someone with the pace that Lewis has got."