Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-2 Yorkshire Amateur

A DISMAL first half showing put a huge downer on what should have been a day of celebration at the Horsfall Stadium.

Avenue debuting their new 3G pitch was supposed to be a showpiece event. Bradford City and Huddersfield Town were the teams brandished about pre-pandemic as the perfect opponents for friendlies to open the facility.

However, with no crowd available and the clock ticking until the 2020/21 season commences, in the end, Bradford were just desperate to get a reasonable test, and by gosh did they get one.

Three leagues below, Northern Counties East League Premier Division side Yorkshire Amateur stepped forward and grasped their chance to cause an upset with both hands.

It was a thrilling end-to-end first quarter in which the visitors were the ones who provided the cutting edge. Something Avenue are still desperately searching for.

A few minutes in, Lewis Knight was put through over the top but was denied by the superb palm of Brad Dixon.

A Dixon mistake was almost the source of Avenue breaking the deadlock. The Yorkshire keeper produced a poor clearance which fell to Knight who put it on a plate for Oli Johnson to finish.

Although, the experienced striker faulted, firing it straight at a defender. This gave the away side inspiration to have a go themselves, and on the break, they found themselves in an identical scenario. Roy Fogarty made no mistake though as he placed Luke Sharry’s pass into the empty net.

No blame can be thrown at the young Bradford trialist stopper for that goal, however his efforts can be questioned for Amateurs’ second four minutes later. Stephen Crawford shot towards his near post where he was nowhere to be seen.

Park Avenue’s makeshift defence caused them problems throughout. The back five seemed to lack awareness and pace, with Yorkshire getting in behind, time after time.

The absences of goalkeeper Dan Atkinson and captain Nicky Clee really effected Bradford’s ability to be bullish and fight fire with fire.

Isaac Marriott was the only player grabbing this game by the scuff of the neck. Firstly, setting Johnson’s deflected strike up before breaking through the lines himself and blazing over.

It could only get better for Mark Bower’s men after the break. Brad Dockerty’s introduction presented an outlet that simply was not there in the opening period.

The trialist keeper more than redeemed himself with a string of fantastic saves to keep his team in the game and impress his potential watchful boss.

Once again, from the bench, Jamie Lyons showed he has all the ability to be Avenue’s secret weapon this term. The 18-year-old also halved the deficit from the spot, bagging his third goal of pre-season, after a trialist was brought down.

Overall, the home team flattered to deceive, and the need for reinforcements, before October 3, is blatantly obvious.

The drizzle which followed the final whistle represented Avenue’s performance on the night as they never quite got going against their lower league opposition.

Bradford (Park Avenue): Trialist, Ross, Downing, Marriott, Havern, Lund, Knight (Lyons 62’), Hibbs (Trialist 65’), Johnson (Trialist 38’), Toulson (Trialists 65’), Trialist (Dockerty 45’)

Yorkshire Amateur: Dixon (Trennery 45’), Smith, Henry, Sharry (Blakey 45’), Dempsey (Killock 45’), Beaston, Priestley, Moke, Fogarty (Trialist 45’), Crawford (Dean 45’), Stewart