A DEPLETED Bradford (Park Avenue) side suffered a heartbreaking and controversial exit from the FA Cup last night, losing 3-1 at home to Blyth Spartans after extra time in a second qualifying round replay.

Naming just four substitutes as a result of seven players being unavailable due to injuries and suspensions, a couple of key decisions went against Avenue after Brad Dockerty had given them an early lead, and goals after 110 and 118 minutes eventually saw them knocked out.

Avenue had scored late on to earn an excellent 1-1 draw in the original tie on Saturday, and they carried that positivity into the early stages of last night's encounter.

A neat lay-off from Chinedu Osadebe for Dockerty saw him fire a great strike beyond Alex Mitchell to give Avenue the lead after only 10 minutes, but Blyth responded instantly to level through Will McGowan, who steered his shot beyond George Sykes-Kenworthy and into the net.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Chinedu Osadebe provided the assist for Avenue to open the scoring against Blyth.Chinedu Osadebe provided the assist for Avenue to open the scoring against Blyth. (Image: John Rhodes.)

The rest of the first half was fairly quiet, with Blyth having a few half-chances, but there was controversy just after the break, when Avenue’s Luca Havern appeared to be brought down as he tried to turn home Will Longbottom’s free-kick, but the referee waved away the protests.

Mitchell then got down low to deny Longbottom, before his stunning stop kept out Jordan Preston’s header with 10 minutes left.

Sykes-Kenworthy made a couple of brilliant saves either side of the break in extra-time, but after a seemingly blatant foul on Brad Dockerty was not given, JJ Hooper turned a cross in off the post to put Blyth ahead.

And a mix-up at the back saw Cedric Main put the ball into the unguarded net to seal victory for the visitors in the dying seconds.

After the game, Avenue boss Mark Bower said he was immensely proud of his side for putting "everything into it", but that they had maybe lacked a little quality in the final third to get the job done.

In an interview posted on the club’s social media channels, he added: “I think we were rather unfortunate with a few things that have gone against us.

“We should have had a penalty on Saturday, and we should have had one tonight.

“Luca’s got the wrong side of their defender and he looks like he’s got an attempt at goal, but their lad slips and you can see him pull Luca’s arm as he’s about to get on the end of Will’s cross.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Will Longbottom's free-kick was only not turned home because of a foul, insisted Avenue boss Mark Bower.Will Longbottom's free-kick was only not turned home because of a foul, insisted Avenue boss Mark Bower. (Image: John Rhodes.)

“On another day we get a penalty for that, so we feel a little hard done by there.

“And the killer goal is their second goal in extra-time, Brad turns their lad, who clearly checks him, blocks him off and trips him. It’s a foul.

“I spoke to the referee after the game and he told me because he’d not given one just before that, he didn’t think he could give that as a foul.

“I’m not sure why. If you think you’ve got one wrong, you can’t even it up by getting another one wrong.

“It should have been a free-kick all day long and we’ve fallen unlucky with that.”