Valiant Villagers stun Avenue
Rock-bottom North Ferriby United stunned Bradford Park Avenue with a 1-0 victory at the Horsfall Stadium.
Mark Bower shuffled the pack despite a respectable draw with Salford City on Tuesday, re-instating Ryan Toulson, Dany Pybus and Jamie Spencer to the starting eleven. On-loan Guiseley forward Frank Mulhern was handed his first start, whilst Matt Hill and Adam Nowakowski dropped to the bench. Veteran midfielder Danny Boshell was withdrawn from the squad altogether, as was Javan Vidal due to injury.
Avenue were on the front foot from the first whistle and dominated possession during the early stages but failed to muster an effort on goal as the Ferriby backline held strong. Jordan Cooke made a vital interception after a through ball from Oli Johnson almost allowed Pybus to race through on goal.
It was the young midfielder on loan from Bradford City that was the first to pull the trigger, but he saw his effort deflected wide before it could reach Ross Durrant.
The visitors then took a shock lead with 19 minutes on the clock as Lewis Collins darted into the box and drilled his effort past Steven Drench.
Avenue’s frustrations were intensified shortly after conceding, as Frank Mulhern saw a close-range effort blocked and Jamie Spencer was booked for a late and unnecessary challenge.
The hosts finally tested Durrant after thirty minutes of trying to do so, as Pybus forced a strong palm away from the ‘keeper after Johnson had threaded through to the young loanee.
Frank Mulhern was then hauled down in the box after a wrestle with the Ferriby centre-backs but saw his appeals for a penalty dismissed by the referee.
The robust forward almost weighed in with an assist shortly after, as he powered past Koyo Keyi before Adam Boyes failed to steer his cushioned volley on target.
Boyes then had another opportunity to equalise after a marauding run from Johnson allowed him to find Mulhern in the box. The Irish striker teed him up before Boyes’ shot was deflected wide.
HALF-TIME: Bradford Park Avenue 0-1 North Ferriby United
Avenue carved open the Ferriby defence twice within the opening five minutes of the second-half, as Mulhern blasted wide after rounding Cooke and Durrant before Nicky Clee forced a good save from the Villagers’ stopper two minutes later.
Luca Havern then got on the end of a deep cross but could only head into the clutches of a grateful Durrant.
Avenue continued to be let down by their final ball, but Adam Smith provided some quality in the final third following his introduction. He turned Cooke inside-out on the left before crossing to Rob Atkinson, who headed wide.
The Villagers continued to pose a threat on the break and Joe Walker was thwarted by a poor touch that allowed Drench to dive at his feet after the substitute had raced through.
Bobby Johnson then stung the palms of Drench with a powerful drive from distance that was originally spilled by the ‘keeper before being scooped up.
Avenue piled forward in droves as the clock ticked but couldn’t find a way past Durrant, and Ferriby even came close to extending their lead in stoppage time when Drench made a fantastic stop to deny Collins.
FULL-TIME: Bradford Park Avenue 0-1 North Ferriby United
Avenue visit Brackley Town next week, with the action kicking-off at 3pm.
Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Toulson (Hill 76’), Clee, Wroe (c), Atkinson, Havern, Mulhern (Nowakowski 68’), Pybus (Smith 59’), Boyes, Johnson, Spencer.
Unused substitutes: Hall, Killock.
North Ferriby United: Durrant, Cooke, Keyi, Johnson, Piercy, Mail, Deacey (Dunkley 56’), Forrester (Walker 56’, replaced by Clappison 82’), Harrison, Collins, Lofts.
Unused substitutes: Exall.
Referee: Adam Herczog