On Wednesday 19th September Bradford’s youngsters took on Harworth Colliery in their FA Youth Cup 1st qualifying round fixture. It was a great occasion with a record crowd down for an academy game and a real buzz around the Horsfall despite the bitterly cold weather.
Park Avenue started well with an early chance for Leahy forcing the Harworth keeper to a finger tip save. Harworth continued to look shakey at the back with a number of chances falling Park Av’s way. However, against the run of play Harworth took the lead. An Avenue hand ball on the edge of the box gave Harworth a free kick which deflected off the wall and into the net. It was 1-0 Harworth. This goal seemed to spring Harworth into life and they came at Park Avenue. Some good defending by both wingbacks kept Avenue in the game and just before half time Avenue found their equaliser. It was the first time Park Avenue strung a number of passes together down the right hand side and it opened up the Harworth defence. A great ball into the box by Conlon was tapped in by Bailey at the back post. The half ended at one a piece in a game Avenue should really have taken hold of. After half time Avenue started to settle and were rewarded with a goal. A free kick from the half way line lifted high into the box by Rowntree was met by Whitrick and headed over the keeper. However, it wasn’t long before Avenue squandered their lead. A soft free kick was given at the edge of the box. Harworth’s players straight strike went straight over Widdop’s head and it was 2-2. The game then started to get away from Park Avenue with a catalogue of individual errors arising. The turning point came when Widdop’s error left a tap in for the Harworth striker. 3-2 to the visitors with Avenue looking unable to reply. Chances for Ali, T.Ali and Rowntree were not converted and it looked like the game was just going to fizzle out. The final blow came when another silly free kick was given away on the edge of the box and was once again converted by Harworth. Avenue substitutes Mayfield, Ikram and Panwar added fresh legs and Avenue kept creating chances but with no final product. A frustrating game all round as Bradford’s youngsters failed to perform on the day, on this occasion. Nerves seem to get the better of the lads on the night as they were miles off the performance they produced at Staveley. This now means its time for them to focus on the U19 and College league as well as the local Pat Rice trophy.
Next game is down at The Horsfall on Monday 24th September verses Huddersfield YMCA.