Avenue slip to 7th after defeat to Moors
A 79th minute strike from the returning Nicky Clee proved to be nothing more than a consolation, as Avenue suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of play-off rivals Spennymoor Town.
Avenue were without ever-present defender Shane Killock after he sustained a back injury on New Years’ Day, with the versatile Adam Nowakowski replacing him in the heart of defence.
The opening stages suffered from a distinct lack of quality all around, but the hosts’ first-half display was poor, even by admittance of manager Mark Bower.
They were punished for a slow start in the 14th minute, when David Foley pounced on a rebound after Mark Anderson had struck the post to edge Spennymoor ahead.
Avenue then squandered a golden opportunity to level proceedings when the ball fell kindly for Oli Johnson in the box. However, the usually clinical forward blasted over from close-range, uncharacteristically of a player who has notched 13 goals already this term.
Moors midfielder Shane Henry looked to test Steven Drench at every opportunity throughout the game, and he saw a left-footed volley fizz barely an inch wide of the post.
Mark Bower’s team talk seemed to rejuvenate Avenue, and the home side emerged a much slicker outfit in the second-half.
Some champagne football allowed Jamie Spencer to dart into the box soon after the restart, before the young midfielder teed up Wayne Brooksby. His floated cross came agonisingly close to meeting the head of an on-rushing Adam Boyes.
As the half progressed, the Yorkshire side began asking more questions of a Moors defence that had been sturdy throughout the encounter. The introduction of Clee seemed to be the spark they needed to begin to take the game to Spennymoor, and the midfielder drew a foul from Matthew Dixon barely five minutes after his arrival by turning the full-back inside out.
Soon after, Clee arrived at the back-post to meet a Vidal cross, only to see his header loop into the grateful clutches of Shane Bland.
Despite seeming the most likely to score, the hosts conceded a second when Chris Mason stooped low to power home a header past a helpless Drench from a whipped delivery.
Avenue began to pile forward in droves after shipping a second, and eventually broke down the Moors backline in similar fashion to how the opposition netted their first. Spencer saw his effort denied, before the ball broke kindly for Clee who made no mistake in steering home.
The hosts continued to knock on the door in the latter stages, with Brooksby and Javan Vidal both rifling shots towards Bland.
However, the visitors held on and left Yorkshire with three points in the bag and their grip on 4th place strengthened
Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Ross, Hill, Wroe (c) (Vidal 75’), Nowakowski, Havern, Brooksby, Boshell, Boyes (Clee 65’), Johnson, Spencer.
Unused substitutes: Toulson, Hall, Knight.
Spennymoor Town: Bland, Dixon, Mason, Chandler, Chantler, Curtis, Ramshaw, Henry, Taylor, Anderson (Hall 90+4’), Foley (Johnson 73’).
Unused substitutes: Porter, Fewster, Tait.
Referee: Garreth Rhodes