THE better quality of National League North outfit Bradford Park Avenue eventually told as they beat a determined Albion Sports 3-1 in a tough and no-nonsense derby at Throstle Nest.

The pre-season friendly saw Avenue giving game time to eight trialists, while Albion had three debutants – one of whom was former Avenue player and Silsden manager James Gill.

Gill began at centre back and the 32-year-old’s class and experience were obvious as he marshalled the home side’s defence.

Another of the new men was at the other end of his career as 17-year-old Bradley Emerson played in goal for the Albion Lions.

The young keeper had a tentative start but his confidence grew and he was not at fault for any of the goals.

Avenue took the lead after just 12 minutes when Wayne Brooksby was fouled just outside the area, the Albion defence failed to deal with Nicky Wroe’s low free-kick and Brooksby pounced to rifle in the only goal of the first half.

Gill departed just before the hour mark and it was 2-0 to the visitors soon after as Avenue’s half-time substitute Adam Boyes headed home a cross from one of the trialists.

The Lions halved the deficit when Alex Cusack beat second-half keeper Ed Hall, who replaced Steve Drench.

The visitors restored their two-goal cushion inside that final quarter hour from the penalty spot following a handball.

Nicky Boshell stepped forward and placed his spot-kick just out of the reach of Emerson, who guessed right and got a fingertip to the ball.

Bradford boss Mark Bower said: “It was a hard game so I’m pleased with what we got out of it.

“It was always going to a difficult one to prepare for after last week’s big game, it was back down to earth for us. But the lads did the work and some of them got their first full game in.

“It was difficult because it was a very dry pitch so it was hard to get the ball down and play. At this stage a little bit of rain would help it zip around a bit.

"But we’ll be playing about seven games in August when the pitches will be dry and the ball will stick in the surface so it was great preparation for us.”

His opposite number, Kulwinder Sandhu, said, “We certainly didn’t disgrace ourselves against a very good squad of players.

“I thought we were competitive and gave them a good test. I told the players not to make mistakes in certain areas because a side like Avenue will punish you and unfortunately it happened with the second goal.

“I thought that the third goal, the penalty, was a bit harsh on us because there was a bit of shirt pulling by them in the build up and the officials didn’t spot that.”