BRADFORD (Park Avenue) 0-0 Chorley

Keeping clean sheets is the backbone of any successful team. They say the best defence usually wins the league, obviously that statement does not apply to Bradford (Park Avenue) considering their targets in this rebuild season, but nevertheless the original point remains valid.

The Horsfall team managed to secure their second shutout on the bounce in a stalemate against Chorley. You have to go back over a year to find the last time that happened during Marcus Law's dire spell at the helm.

The return of both Luca Havern and Mark Ross from those consecutive playoff finishes are a big reason for the improvement at the back after conceding 80 goals in that forgettable 2019/20 curtailed campaign.

Ross was appearing against a side who he is severely fond of after spending seven years over two periods at Victory Park. The memories of Chorley's relegation last term must still be raw.

The right back was his consistent self on this windy occasion which the visitors must come away from feeling like they deserved more.

Primarily down to a penalty Connor Hall failed to put past the all-action Dan Atkinson. The Avenue number one misjudged the bounce of the ball and cleaned out the striker to leave referee Aaron Bannister with no choice but to point to the spot.

Not only did Atkinson redeem himself, he managed to spread himself big to block the rebound too.

This after he was booked for charging out and chopping down Hall who was heading towards the hosts' box earlier in the piece. Despite, the cries for him to see red, the stopper survived which turned out to be a huge blessing.

The two incidents occurred after the break following what was a fairly equal opening half considering the circumstances in the home side's team selection.

It was revealed at the eleventh-hour that man of the moment Oli Johnson was unfit to feature while 37-year-old Nicky Clee was part of the much-needed rotation from Tuesday's solid win at Hereford.

Jamie Lyons almost grabbed his opportunity of a starting birth with both hands. The forward's toe-poked effort was well tipped round the post by Matt Urwin.

The energetic Isaac Marriott and Harry Cardwell could also have converted. The Avenue midfielder's sensational run past two resulted in an Urwin save, and Atkinson palmed away the number nine's header.

With striker Adam Nowakowski failing to appear post half time, Bradford lost their flow and were lacklustre as the Magpies took control of the game.

Mark Bower was keen to halt his side's set piece problem, and from the series of crosses Chorley put in, a combination of poor finishing and good defending, led to danger being averted.

A backs to the wall display was portrayed in the end from a mismatch Avenue team who nearly stole all three points at the death. Harry Boyes' deflected strike fell just wide and substitute Matty Downing spurred his finish from the resultant corner.

Park Avenue face more playoff contenders on Monday night in the form of Boston United. Can their bruised squad go again and capture another credible result?


AVENUE: Atkinson 8, Ross 7, Lund 8, Havern (C) 8, Boyes 7, Toulson 6, Hibbs 7, Marriott 7, Windass 6 (Downing 80'), Nowakowski 6 (Knight 45'), Lyons 6 (Clee 52'). Subs not used: Fawcett.

CHORLEY: Urwin 8, Birch 6, Halls 7, Leather (C) 6, Baines 6, Walker 6, Newby 7 (Conn-Clarke 64'), Calverley 6, Shenton 6 (Reilly 72'), Cardwell 7, Hall 6. Subs not used: Smith, Garratt, Marah.