BRADFORD (Park Avenue) came agonisingly close to a first win under new manager Danny Whitaker yesterday, but instead left Morpeth Town empty-handed after late, late heartbreak.

Chinedu Osadebe had put the visitors ahead with a fine goal on the half-hour mark, and they were still in the lead with five minutes to go.

But Andrew Johnson levelled for the mid-table hosts, before Nic Bollado broke Avenue hearts with Town’s winner in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time.

Lewis Hey should have scored for the away side two minutes in after latching on to a Morpeth mistake in defence, but he could only fire a shot straight at opposition keeper Dan Lowson.

That was their biggest opportunity in the opening 30 minutes, but an insipid Town were causing them few problems, and after creating several half-chances, Avenue finally took the lead with a real moment of class.

Lucas Odunston drove through the Morpeth midfield superbly before releasing Osadebe down the left.

The wideman cut inside a couple of defenders before finishing expertly, marking Avenue’s first goal under Whitaker since he took over on December 20.

That stirred Morpeth to life, and they came inches away from equalising when Will Jenkins bent in an effort that crashed away off the far post.

Avenue survived that scare, meaning they led at the break, but they missed a golden opportunity to go further in front early in the second half.

On-loan duo Bosembo Namputu and Justin Iwobi combined, with the former setting the latter free one-on-one with Lowson.

But the young forward panicked and blazed his shot over the bar.

Avenue came again, with Hey’s free-kick going over the wall but over the bar, and Namputu striking an effort straight at Lowson.

Morpeth defender Chris Reid just cleared the crossbar with a dipping effort, but the visitors hit straight back, with Lowson making a fine save to deny Jordan Preston.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jordan Preston (left) came close to giving Avenue the two-goal cushion they so desperately needed.Jordan Preston (left) came close to giving Avenue the two-goal cushion they so desperately needed. (Image: John Rhodes.)

Avenue’s on-loan keeper Tom Scott made great saves to keep out Johnson and Josh Robson, with those efforts sandwiching a Preston strike which flashed past the far post.

The Morpeth pair combined for their late equaliser though, with Johnson slotting home from Robson’s cutback.

Both sides pushed to win the game, and while Ballado drilled a shot just wide for the hosts, Avenue’s on-loan defender Ted Lavelle also cracked an effort inches off target.

But Bollado broke Avenue hearts, as his last-gasp rising drive beat Scott and found the net to condemn the visitors to a fourth defeat from four under Whitaker.

They now sit five points from safety ahead of next Saturday’s home game against 16th-placed FC United of Manchester.