SPENNYMOOR Town 2-2 Bradford (Park Avenue)

LAST December, Bradford (Park Avenue) were handed the worst Christmas present possible, an uncompetitive 3-0 drubbing. It was their 15th defeat in a bitterly disappointing  start to the season.

Almost a year later, Mark Bower and his men visited the same location but left in much merrier spirits. 

Over 1,000 people attended 2019’s  pre-festive fixture at Spennymoor Town. Mark Anderson collected a brace and Rob Ramshaw jumped on the scoresheet.

There was none of the raucous atmosphere that is usually associated with Brewery Field in this Covid world we find ourselves in. 

Although news of a potential vaccine, and areas in Tier 2 being allowed to admit fans back into grounds post-lockdown, show things might be starting to slowly return.

Bradford travelled to the North East for the second time in five days. Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Darlington was the perfect away-day display.

So much so that only one change was made - veteran Nicky Clee added experience in place of youngster Omar Sanyang.

Town’s line-up included three ex-Horsfall recruits. Extraordinarily, the two who started, Jamie Spencer and Ben McKenna, were outshone by a past loanee netting from the bench. 

Ryan Hall, who made 10 appearances in green and white last term, took his equaliser well, volleying past Dan Atkinson from Isaac Marriott’s poor headed clearance.
Seventy minutes earlier, the visitors took the lead for the fourth away game in a row. Lewis Knight the man of the moment, rounding Dale Eve like a prolific striker would.

The second goal  from the speedy winger, acting as the lone frontman, was even more impressive. He raced down the left before cutting inside and finishing in the opposing corner.

Knight has now bagged five goals in eight starts, and people say Avenue still need a striker!

Marriott and Brad Dockerty’s wait to open their accounts continues, frustratingly. 
The pair put in unbelievable shifts.

From eight yards out, Marriott should have buried Harry Boyes’ pull back. Clee pinged Dockerty out, and the wide man almost scored an audacious shot which brushed the far post.

Ramshaw was the hosts’ key man. The number 10 was always hovering in between midfield and defence. His finishing was off point though, spurning a rebound metres out after Glen Taylor’s header bashed the crossbar.

Tyler Forbes was also an outlet. How the right back did not connect with Mulhern’s saved swirling blast is a mystery to me. 

It came in a period where Avenue had hardly been threatened. Luca Havern and Mark Ross stood tall for the majority of the game. The latter was delighted with former club Chorley’s FA Cup exploits on the bus home.

Spennymoor’s talisman was up to his routine tricks in front of goal but it was an incident he was involved in off the ball which turned the match on its head.

Player-coach Ryan Toulson had been yellow carded for a rash challenge on Ramshaw 120 seconds in. And referee Paul Brown went full red when he witnessed a kick out at Taylor.

A couple of minutes later, the number nine grabbed the Moors’ second and his sixth in seven league games. 

Scott McLean’s cross from the left was met by a glancing nod Atkinson should have done better with, getting a glove on the effort before it went over the line.

In what was a tense ending, 10-man Park Avenue managed to hang on to stay ninth on 12 points from their 10 Vanarama National League North games.


Avenue: Atkinson 5, Windass 6, Ross 7, Havern (C) 6, Boyes 6, Clee 7, Toulson 4, Marriott 6, Hibbs 6, Knight 9 (Ibrian 90’), Dockerty 7 (Sanyang 82’). Subs not used: Huffer, Downing, Hussain.

Red card: Toulson.

Yellow cards: Toulson.

Goals: Knight 8, 80.

Spennymoor: Eve 6, Forbes 6, Buddle 6, Curtis (C) 5, Blakeman 5 (Hall 67’), Moke 6 (Mulhern 56’), McKenna 5 (Thompson 67’), Spencer 5, Taylor 7, Ramshaw 6, McLean 6. Subs not used: Anderson, Magnay.

Yellow cards: Taylor.

Goals: Hall 78, Taylor 84.

Man of the match: Knight.