Tamworth 0 Bradford Park Avenue 1

MARK Bower’s first full season in charge of Bradford Park Avenue got off to a dream start with an away win on the opening day of the National North league season.

It was a hard-earned victory thanks to Adam Boyes’ goal seven minutes into stoppage time. That sparked euphoria from the travelling green army and brought relief to the Avenue dugout and players.

The win also gave Avenue something they had to wait 16 games for last term – their first three-point maximum.

But they will have to play just as well if they are to get anything from their first home game of the season when they face Southport at Horsfall Stadium tomorrow night.

Boyes was one of four players in the Avenue starting line-up at the Lamb Ground making their competitive debuts after Bower’s summer recruitment.

The striker joined former Tamworth defender Javan Vidal, Luca Havern and keeper Steve Drench in making his bow.

Boyes was the match-winner but all of the new men made their mark, with Drench making an excellent save early on. Just over ten minutes had been played when the keeper palmed Darryl Knight’s low shot around his post.

The Lambs also had a big penalty appeal turned down in the early stages, after the ball reared up to hit the arm of player assistant-manager Danny Boshell.

Drench was back in the spotlight when he made an unbelievable stop to deny Knight in the 27th minute and, although the Lambs had the ball in the net shortly after, Luke Jones was deemed offside.

It was Bradford who came closest to breaking the deadlock however as Boyes sent in a low drive from distance that struck the base of the post in first half stoppage-time.

The second half was interrupted by two long stoppages – the first in the 69th minute when a melee culminated in Danny Boshell and his younger brother Nicky both being yellow carded along with the Lambs’ Aman Verna.

A minimum four minutes of added time was signalled but they ended up playing ten after another ill-disciplined incident. Substitute Jamie Spencer, making his full debut as an Avenue player following some appearances on loan from Huddersfield Town last season, was grabbed around the throat.

He was yellow carded along with the home side’s Ellis Deeney before order was restored and a free-kick awarded to the Lambs. Just two minutes later, Boyes was on hand to lash a shot in off the post as the ball pinged around in the home side’s area.

Tomorrow night's visitors Southport were relegated last season, but showed no signs of that dejection as they opened their campaign with a 4-0 win over Boston United.

The Pilgrims were put to the sword as the Yellows won both haves 2-0, with Stephan Schumacher, Liam Martin, Curtis Jones and man of the match Gary Roberts all on target.