REFEREE Darren Rogers was at the centre of controversy as Bradford (Park Avenue) nearly produced an unlikely comeback at Hereford, eventually falling to a 3-2 defeat.

The Bulls seemed to be in complete control - leading by three goals - at half-time thanks to Luke Haines, Harry Pinchard and Ryan McLean.

But Hereford seemed to lose the plot in the second half after McLean was sent off after just two minutes of it and then Rogers awarded Avenue a bitterly contested penalty.

The spot kick was awarded after a corner flicked off a low Hereford arm and Brad Dockerty stepped up to make no mistake rifling the ball home.

Minutes earlier, Adam Nowakowski had given Avenue a precious lifeline when Hereford’s defence switched off and left him unmarked outside the box. With seemingly all the time in the world he was able to pick his spot and score.

Had Avenue taken a golden opportunity in the first half when Mark Ross headed a set-piece back across the box where Mitch Lund was waiting unmarked but sent his volley over, the scores would have been all square at 3-3.

It wasn’t just Lund who squandered an opportunity.

Hereford’s keeper goalkeeper Brandon Hall was forced into action to deny Nicky Clee’s direct free-kick a few moments later.

All this happened while Avenue were just one goal down courtesy of Haines, whose looping header found the net.

Having missed two great chances to draw level, Avenue went two behind in the 39th minute when a ball into the box was headed down to Pinchard who scored.

And less than five minutes later it was three when McLean was played through by Andre Wright.

Afterwards, Avenue boss Mark Bower said he thought the team were unlucky in the first half: “I though we played quite well but somehow we found ourselves three goals down.

“We were a little bit unfortunate with the first goal - the lad scored with his shoulder - but the second two were sloppy. We got caught out. They were poor goals to give away.”

Bower said Avenue were in the ascendancy in the second half.

Of the refereeing he said: “He gave us two decisions which were correct decisions, then proceeded to give us absolutely nothing.

“Six minutes added (time) is an insult to people who have paid to come and watch. The ball spent so much time out of play I was expecting 10 minutes.”

Guiseley drew 2-2 with Curzon Ashton to move just two points from safety at the bottom, while Farsley Celtic's 1-0 loss to Chester means they are only four points above the drop.