BARELY 48 hours after their backs to the wall victory over Chester, Bradford (Park Avenue) came back down to earth with a bump after losing 4-2 to Gateshead at Horsfall.

Avenue boss Mark Bower had warned before the game that Gateshead were the best team they'd played all season, and this National League North clash certainly looked to be a mismatch when the North-East visitors raced into a 3-0 lead after 34 minutes.

But Bradford roared out of the blocks at the start of the second half, and quickfire goals from Brad Dockerty and Frankie Maguire saw them pull it back to 3-2 after 51 minutes.

Any hopes of a comeback were quickly extinguished when Gateshead grabbed their fourth just before the hour mark through Cedwyn Scott.

The visitors made a lightning start when Paul Blackett cracked a right-footed effort across Avenue defender Mark Ross and goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy and into the far corner.

Former Bradford City winger Dylan Mottley-Henry almost equalised for Avenue after a great break down the right, but his shot was charged down by Heed stopper Jacob Chapman.

That miss proved costly when ex-Newcastle United striker Adam Campbell doubled the away side's advantage after half an hour.

Moments later, it was three, as the impressive Blackett helped himself to a second goal.

Dockerty came on for Oli Johnson at the break, and the in-form winger's presence on the field seemed to give beleaguered Avenue a lift.

Within two minutes of his introduction, he was found by Luke Rawson, and gleefully cracked the ball home.

Moments later, and it really was game on.

Gateshead tried to play the ball out from the back, but Chapman was caught in possession.

He was duly punished by Avenue's teenage loanee Maguire, who bundled home his first goal for the club practically on the goal-line.

Greg Olley forced a fine reflex save from Sykes-Kenworthy as Gateshead attempted to restore their two-goal advantage.

And they did so on 57 minutes when Scott, who had recently been introduced for Blackett, found the net from close range.

With Avenue floored by that quick response, Gateshead dominated the closing stages, with Macaulay Langstaff hitting the bar with a cross, before striking an effort off the post after Scott's shot was blocked.

Campbell was also denied at the near post by Sykes-Kenworthy before Olley's late free-kick came back off the post.

Mottley-Henry did fashion a chance before the end for Avenue when he cut in from the left, but he fired his effort straight at Chapman, while Clee's free-kick deep into injury-time was well saved by the keeper.

After the game, Bower conceded: "I thought the best team won.

"They were very good for large spells of the game, and we found it difficult to live with them at times.

"I think when they got the fourth, it really killed the game."

He added: "It's been a tough weekend for us, playing a full-time team, and it being our second game in three days.

"We were carrying a few tired legs in the game, and they really exploited that, and credit to them, they're a really good team."

It is the FA Trophy fourth round this weekend, and with Avenue already knocked out of the competition, it means they are not back in action until they visit Southport next Tuesday for a league encounter.