BRADFORD (Park Avenue) 1-2 AFC Telford United

BEFORE this past week, Bradford were in sensational form going forward. Six goals in their previous two games was quite the achievement.

However, during that run five different names from all around the pitch appeared on the scoresheet, covering the lack of power upfront which has existed since August 2019.

Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Southport and Saturday's 2-1 beating by AFC Telford United, stripped away any false hope Mark Bower may have had of not needing to recruit a striker.

£1-a-week Horsfall favourite Adam Nowakowski has been the fall guy this term, making do in his unfavoured position. Early misses in both games, especially most recently against Telford where he headed weakly from six yards out, have cost his side.

Ion Ibrian could be the answer. But the Moldovan struggled to get into the game on debut with his 35 minute display from the bench.

A man who has had better luck over these last seven days is Dom McHale. The nomadic left winger has joined teammate Jason Oswell as the Lillywhites top marksman this term after bagging three goals in as many games.

Two of those came against Park Avenue. The first, a wonderful strike from the edge of the box past the stranded Dan Atkinson into the bottom right corner, while the second was almost identical to shatter Avenue hearts.

Telford made the 80-mile journey in high spirits sitting in the playoffs thanks to gaining 11 points from their nine games thus far. Their confidence was clear from the start, dominating possession and making the hosts chase shadows.

McHale produced an early warning sign when good football had enable him an effort on goal which flew over.

Isaac Marriott turned a golden opportunity inside the area around the post with Nowakowski in space begging for the assist.

The response from both goals saw Lewis Knight make Russell Griffiths work with a curled free kick, and the in-form McHale being denied a hat-trick by Atkinson's shin.

What nearly turned out to be the game changer occurred minutes after Gavin Cowan's team pocketed the winner.

Andy Bond had picked up a silly booking in the first half by stupidly blocking Atkinson's kick from his gloves.

The midfielder's second yellow was clear as day too. He hurled into Marriott leaving referee David McNamara with no other choice than to send him to the changing rooms.

Other than Brad Dockerty sparking into life and providing Knight's scrappy third of the season, Bradford wasted their man advantage.

Bower revealed post-match further bad news that each of his three substitutes were forced through knocks, meaning reliable defenders Luca Havern and Mark Ross, and Nowakowski could all be doubts for the mid-week trip to Darlington.

It was a sweet 100th game for United boss Cowan, while Bower will be licking his wounds after back-to-back defeats leave his team languishing in 16th.


Avenue: Atkinson 6, Ross 6 (Sanyang 86'), Lund 5, Havern (C) 5 (Ibrian 55'), Boyes 5, Clee 6, Marriott 6, Hibbs 5, Knight 6, Nowakowski 4 (Toulson 45'), Dockerty 5. Subs not used: Windass, Downing.

Goals: Knight 68.

AFC Telford United: Griffiths 6, Vaughan 6, Streete 7, Lilly 6, Jones 6, Byrne 6 (Davies 45'), Walker (C) 7, Bond 4, Hardy 7 (White 81'), Oswell 7, McHale 9. Subs not used: Bower, Williams, Barnes-Homer.

Bookings: McHale, Bond. Red card: Bond.

Goals: McHale 26, 47.

Man of the match: McHale.