AVENUE 0 CITY 2

JAMIE Walker lifted the trophy in a huddle of claret and amber shirts in the centre circle.

The Scot, captain for the second half, did the honours as Richie Smallwood – like most of those who played the first 45 minutes – had already gone home.

Retaining the Tom Banks memorial trophy is a long way off Smallwood, or whoever, hoisting League Two silverware 10 months from now.

That is the dream that every fan harbours but enough hung around at the Horsfall Stadium to enjoy City’s opening pre-season success.

Even in the low-key surroundings of friendly number one, you could feel the anticipation that is building for the battles ahead. The supporters enjoyed the chance to finally put faces to names after a summer of reading about one signing after another.

“They came out in great numbers and everybody is excited with what is ahead of us,” said Mark Hughes, who was happy to see his 22 players on duty come through unscathed.

“It was nice to get some game time. That’s what we all need now.

“We had a decent week of training and topped it off with 45 minutes for everybody.

“I was pleased with some of the stuff. It broke down on some occasions but you expect that at this time of the season.

“When you come back from a break straight into pre-season, the ball work is sometimes a little bit erratic because your timing is off a little bit. I used to find it difficult.

“But the lads have come back and look in good shape and that timing will come.”

City settled matters with a goal in each half from their two different line-ups.

Harry Chapman got the opener with a belting strike before Kian Harratt just about claimed a scruffy second which was bundled over the line from close range.

Such has been the turnover since last season that only 11 of the 25 City players in the travelling squad had been involved in the corresponding trip a year ago.

Liam Ridehalgh and Levi Sutton were there but not ready to play after their recent surgery.

They were joined watching on the sidelines by Luke Hendrie, recovering from a tight calf, and Timi Odusina.

Hughes held back the most recent of the 12 additions to put him through the bleep tests that the rest of the squad had done earlier in the week.

Once again, there was no trialist in sight – unlike the 14 names that ran from A to N on the Bradford (Park Avenue) team sheet.

Mark Bower had to cobble a team together on the back of just two training sessions. The second of those on Wednesday night had also claimed new striker Jacob Blyth who tweaked his calf.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Centre half Matty Platt keeps a tight grip on an Avenue trialistCentre half Matty Platt keeps a tight grip on an Avenue trialist

City dominated possession as expected but for all their disruption, the home side kept their discipline to ensure there was no repeat of last year’s 5-0 outcome.

Andy Cook, looking far leaner than he finished the last campaign, put an early header over. But the biggest cheer in the opening quarter was for Harry Lewis coolly playing keepy-uppy 30 yards from his goal.

Chapman was a prominent figure popping up all over whenever City pushed forward. After one shot over, he set up Kian Scales with an outside-of-the-boot cross but the midfielder missed the target.

The breakthrough came after 34 minutes and was worth the wait.

Chapman collected the ball 25 yards out, saw the space open up and took it with a rising drive into the top corner.

“We were right behind it and as soon as he hit the ball we knew it was only going in one place,” said an admiring Hughes.

City’s second, just after the hour, was not as pleasing on the eye but Harratt was not complaining.

Reece Staunton, who replaced Matty Foulds at left back during the team switch, did the hard work to drill in a low cross.

Harratt then made enough of a nuisance of himself as Avenue failed to clear, eventually being credited with the final touch as it bounced past former Bantam George Sykes-Kenworthy in goal.

Sykes-Kenworthy saved from Jake Young and Abo Eisa, relishing his longest outing in City colours after so much injury frustration, had a late attempt blocked on the line.

But there were enough positives to start with. Matty Platt looked solid and uncompromising at the back, Romoney Crichlow calm and confident as his replacement. Ryan East kept the ball and used it well, Walker showed promising glimpses and Emmanuel Osadebe made a couple of darting runs.

As Hughes suggested, plenty to look forward to.

CITY: Lewis, Threlkeld, Platt, Songo’o, Foulds, Chapman, Smallwood, Scales, Gilliead, Angol, Cook.

Second half: Doyle, Cousin-Dawson, Kelleher, Crichlow, Staunton, Eisa, East, Osadebe, Walker, Harratt, Young. Subs (not used): Wood, Pointon, Richardson.

AVENUE: Sykes-Kenworthy, Trialist, Trialist, Hopper, Havern, Spencer, Trialist, Richman, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist. Subs: Odunston, Hall, Trialist, Fielding, Trialist x 7.