A YOUNG and resilient Bradford (Park Avenue) side bowed out of the West Riding County Cup against Brighouse Town last night, losing the game on penalties.

An early goal from Zak Kersey saw hosts Bradford take the lead against last season's finalists, but Alex Hall's second-half goal levelled the game, and ensured it eventually went the distance.

Avenue struggled in the shootout, while Brighouse were nerveless, the visitors winning it 4-1 to progress into the third round.

Avenue were led by scholarship head coach Patrick McGuire last night, who also works as the first team manager for Thackley, but his young academy side came up just short against Vill Powell's Northern Premier League East Division outfit.

Just two first team players were involved for Bradford, in the form of Harrison Hopper and Eddie Church, the latter a former Brighouse star.

Despite the defeat, McGuire had plenty to be proud of, saying afterwards: “It's mixed emotions after that.

"Obviously we're really disappointed to come away losing on penalties, more so than anything else it means they’re not going to get another go in the next round.

"But the flip side of that is that I could not be prouder of everyone involved tonight.

“Harrison and Eddie did a great job, both showing great attitudes and working hard for the team, and aside from those two it was a mixture of 16 to 18 year olds, four or five of them only turning 16 in the last six months.

"For them to compete and battle, to get up with the pace of the game, the physicality of the game. Brighouse are a strong team, I thought they applied themselves absolutely superbly.

“We would’ve liked to have been a bit better on the ball in the second half, but a bit of fatigue crept in.

"We were hanging on to the lead a little bit, but the lads dug in, gritted their teeth and rolled their sleeves up.

"From the staff and scholarship side of the scene, we couldn’t be prouder of the lads.”

Brighouse edged the opening exchanges, with young Avenue keeper Liam Hall collecting a dangerous free-kick before Laurence Sorhaindo sliced an effort wide of the target.

But Bradford's youngsters were eager to show what they were capable of, and just 12 minutes in, they did so.

Some nice footwork saw 18-year-old Kersey weave his way into space, before firing the ball past the outstretched Jamie Hassall to gift the hosts an early lead.

Hall has found himself involved in the first team set up this season despite his tender years, and showed his maturity with a strong stop to deny Brighouse an immediate response.

Brighouse were keen to find a way past Hall before half-time, but the shot-stopper was again on form as he made an acrobatic stop to repel Sam Drake’s effort from just outside the box.

Heading into the second half, it did not take long for Brighouse to pounce on Bradford’s lack of sharpness against more experienced players.

King, who has previously played for Huddersfield Town and Halifax Town, found himself one-on-one with Hall before calmly rounding the goalkeeper and tucking the ball home.

The away side were keen to build on that goal and take the lead, with Sorhaindo having another chance palmed away by Hall, who was doing well to keep the scores level.

Brighouse found a brilliant opening late on but scuffed the eventual shot wide, meaning the game went to penalties.

Avenue had a nightmare start in the shootout, with Corey Gregory and Zeph Thomas both scoring the first two penalties for Brighouse, while Hopper and youngster Josh Coe missed.

Javelle Clarke made it 3-0, before Church netted against his former side.

But his shootout strike proved to be only a consolation, as Myron Gibbons converted his penalty to seal the victory for Brighouse.

Avenue are next in action against Buxton on Saturday in National League North, with that game kicking off at 12:30pm.