EASTER has proved to be a blank holiday for Bradford Park Avenue as goals either side of the half-time break sentenced them to a 2-0 defeat at Chorley – their second loss of the weekend.

The Magpies were just one place and one point better off than Mark Bower’s men going into this Vanarama National North clash, but goals from Marcus Carver and Jason Walker opened the gap to four points as Avenue’s play-off hopes were dealt another blow.

Chorley were on the attack from the start and Avenue keeper Steve Drench parried away an early effort from Alex Newby.

The visitors’ first real attempt came midway through the first half from a free kick. Adam Smith was fouled and Frank Mulhern’s set-piece delivery was saved by Matt Urwin.

Avenue defender Luca Havern was a busy man as the hosts piled on the pressure. The centre back made two blocks to thwart Carver and escaped a strong penalty shout from the home side for alleged handball two minutes before half-time.

With Bower looking towards the break to re-group, his side were finally undone as Carver tucked the ball home from Newby’s cross.

It was a strange afternoon for Avenue’s Smith as he was named on the substitute’s bench but started after Javan Vidal dropped out following the warm-up.

Smith was himself replaced at half-time with Ryan Toulson taking over.

Just five minutes into the second period Walker headed past Drench after being picked out in space by Andy Teague.

Teague, the Magpies’ skipper, and Wayne Brooksby were spoken to be the referee after clashing minutes later. Drench was forced to palm a Walker shot away before Avenue substitute Adam Boyes was involved in a couple of efforts.

There was an Avenue debut for Antoine Remi-Recizac when he replaced Danny Boshell late on and he and Nicky Wroe both had late shots blocked.

Boss Bower said: “We’re very disappointed to lose the game and with the goals we’ve conceded.

“I thought they started better than us but after that first ten or 15 minutes, when we’d got used to their system I thought we did alright. Then we conceded just at the wrong time after being caught in possession when they countered.

“The first goal was always going to be key in a game like this and obviously coming when it did it changes the team talk at half time. Then we conceded a second just after half time and we’ve got a mountain to climb then against a Chorley side with one of the best defensive records in the division.

“It was a close game and I didn’t think there was much in until that first goal but as I said that first goal was always going to be a big factor in a game in very difficult conditions.”