BRADFORD (Park Avenue) suffered a second defeat in two games under new manager Danny Whitaker yesterday, slipping to a 3-0 defeat at Northern Premier League Premier Division leaders Radcliffe.

And with relegation rivals Marske United claiming back-to-back wins, Avenue suddenly find themselves four points off safety, less than two weeks after climbing out of the drop zone with a brilliant 4-3 win at Macclesfield FC.

There was rarely much chance of a second away win in a row for Avenue at Radcliffe though, with Josh Hancock heading home via the crossbar to put the hosts in front after only five minutes in this Boxing Day encounter.

Myles La Bastide almost equalised soon after, chipping an effort on to the post, but the offside flag denied him anyway.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Fine margins cost Myles La Bastide an early equaliser, which could have changed the course of the game.Fine margins cost Myles La Bastide an early equaliser, which could have changed the course of the game. (Image: Martin Taylor.)

Nicky Adams had a long-range effort stopped by Avenue’s on-loan keeper Tom Scott, before Edy Maieco almost scored on his first start for the visitors, only to see his shot bravely blocked by Scott Duxbury.

That great defensive work from the Radcliffe defender grew in importance moments later, when Jordan Hulme doubled the home side’s lead.

Luca Navarro cut the ball back from the right, allowing Hulme to gleefully tap the ball into an empty net.

Anthony Dudley crashed a volley over the crossbar as Radcliffe looked to move out of sight, but Avenue reached the break without suffering any further damage.

Navarro turned his man from Duxbury’s throw-in and fired a low shot just wide of Scott’s goal early in the second half.

The Avenue keeper was called into action soon after to make a good save from Rick Smith’s header, following a corner by Adams.

Brad Jackson, who had set up Hancock’s opener, was the next to try his luck, only to curl an effort just over the crossbar with his left foot from the edge of the box.

He soon got over that disappointment by setting up Radcliffe’s third goal, killing Avenue off once and for all.

Hancock was the beneficiary once again, heading home from close range following Jackson’s pinpoint clipped ball into him.

Mercifully for Avenue, the Radcliffe onslaught slowed down following that third goal, though Will Lancaster was forced into a superb last-ditch interception to prevent the hosts from scoring a fourth.

Whitaker will look for his first win in charge on New Year’s Day, when his Avenue side host Guiseley at Horsfall.

He will be joined in the dugout, as he was for the first time yesterday, by the club’s new goalkeeper coach Dean Baker.

Avenue have been searching for a new incumbent for that role since Danny King’s departure earlier this month, though Jack Seery had been fulfilling it temporarily for the last couple of weeks.

Baker comes in at Horsfall having previously coached at Bolton Wanderers, Prescot Cables, St Helens Town, Lower Breck and Macclesfield FC.

After the move to bring him in was confirmed, Baker took to X (formerly Twitter) to say: "Can't wait to get going now, looking forward to the challenge ahead @BPAFCOfficial."

Despite only having a short spell at Horsfall, Seery penned a heartfelt message upon his departure.

On X, he wrote: "A short but enjoyable time supporting (sporting director and interim head coach) Tom McStravick at @BPAFCOfficial during some tough times for all associated with the club.

"Good luck to Danny, his staff, the players and the fans.

"Hopefully 2024 brings some more positives for the club just like the win at Macclesfield."