BRADFORD (Park Avenue) grabbed a vital first home win of the season last night, coming from behind to beat Blyth Spartans 2-1.

They were hovering precariously above the National League North relegation zone heading into the game, and had suffered a 5-1 defeat at Kidderminster Harriers just over 48 hours earlier.

But stunning second half strikes from captain Luca Havern and striker Luke Rawson helped them to a vital three points.

After a quiet start, Blyth fired a half-chance over the crossbar on 20 minutes.

Moments later, Brad Dockerty had the opportunity to put the hosts in front, but saw his strike saved by visiting keeper Alex Mitchell.

Akeel Francis crashed an effort high and wide, before Mitch Lund hit the post, as Avenue started to turn the screw.

Francis cracked a shot inches past the far post, but then it was Blyth’s turn to go close, with veteran Robbie Dale hitting the crossbar with a free-kick.

Connor Thomson went close on a couple of occasions for the visitors, and they finally made that late first half burst count a minute before the break.

Great work from Dan Maguire ended up with him squaring the ball for JJ O’Donnell to tap home into an empty net.

In injury-time, Francis produced a weak effort when in behind, before Johnny Saltmer made a good save from Dale to stop Blyth from doubling their advantage.

Former Bradford City winger Dylan Mottley-Henry had the first real chance of the second half for the hosts, but he headed the ball just wide.

Saltmer then made a good save at the near post to deny Thomson and that proved vital, when Havern smashed a fine effort home on 66 minutes to equalise.

Maguire almost scored with a cheeky backheel, but was denied by Saltmer, before Sean Reid headed over from a corner.

But Avenue were creating chances themselves.

Dockerty fired over from outside the box, before Rawson produced an absolute rocket to give the hosts the lead with 15 minutes to go.

Isaac Marriott’s half-volley was brilliantly tipped over by Mitchell, before new loan signing Ollie Arblaster was only denied by a brave Blyth block.

The visitors produced one last push in stoppage time, with Saltmer beating away Michael Liddle’s effort.

And there was huge controversy seconds before the final whistle.

Dale’s cross was directed goalwards, and the Blyth players were convinced it had crossed the line.

But crucially, the officials disagreed, meaning Avenue could celebrate a hard-fought three points.

After the game, Avenue boss Mark Bower said: “I thought we were the better team and I think we deserved the win.

“They had their little spells in the game, and threw bodies forward at the end trying to get the equaliser.

“But I thought on the whole we controlled large spells and had the better chances.”