BRADFORD (Park Avenue) secured a huge three points with 10-men yesterday, bundling in a last-minute winner to beat Kettering Town 2-1.

Avenue fielded two new signings in Sam Fielding and Harrison Hopper as the game kicked off under leaden skies.

The Poppies were in disarray after the resignation of manager Paul Cox, who quit to take over at Vanarama National League North rivals Boston United.

Kettering’s academy director Luke Graham and technical director Alan Doyle stepped in at the last minute to lead the team.

Unsurprisingly, it was Avenue who settled quickly and they were rewarded with the first clear opportunity when Akeem Hinds lofted a dangerous cross into the box with just fine minutes gone.

Kettering eventually posed some threat as Alex Brown fed Callum Powell on 17 minutes – but the cross from the left was cleared. The ball was in the home net on 19 minutes as a defender inadvertently headed a long throw into his own net - but the Assistant flagged for a foul.

The Poppies redoubled their efforts. Connor Kennedy hooked a shot well over the bar as a free kick was headed on to him.

Sam Fielding fired a shot wide, while skipper Luca Havern met a long free kick only to shoot wide. Oli Johnson’s cross was well defended and cleared by the Kettering defence. Soon after, Brad Dockerty created space for himself but the shot was wide.

With the seconds ticking down to half-time, Avenue found the breakthrough.

Some neat interplay involving Oli Johnson on the left set up Simon Richman for a left foot shot which he swept past keeper Rhys Davies at the right post.

Kettering made an immediate substitution at the start of the half with Rhys Sharpe replacing Kevin Joshua and the formation was changed.

For while it looked as though the changes had done the trick with the Poppies pressing for an equaliser.

Brad Dockerty had two chances but his first shot drifted wide and another effort was over the bar.

Things took a bizarre turn in the final quarter of an hour. Avenue suffered two red cards in the 74th and 78th minutes. First up Simon Richman was given his marching orders for two yellow cards in the 70th and 74th minutes and on 78 minutes coach Ryan Toulson was sent off.

This inspired Kettering as they went looking for an equaliser and, sure enough, it came in the 87th minute when Decarrey Sheriff converted a low cross.

The Poppies must have though fortune had smiled but Avenue rode their luck too.

In the fifth minute of extra time Kettering conceded a corner on the right.

Nicky Clee took an in swinging corner and Luke Rawson got the ball past Davies for a winner that had looked highly unlikely for much of the second half.