Brooksby delivers goods with a double.
A brace from substitute Wayne Brooksby and a cool finish from Oli Johnson rounded 2017 off with a resounding victory over mid-table Curzon Ashton.
Mark Bower kept faith in his in-form side, naming an unchanged starting eleven and bench for a clash with Curzon that promised to be challenging one.
Avenue started the game on the front foot, spraying the ball around with comfort and seemingly resuming business after Saturday’s resounding victory over Southport.
Mark Ross played a neatly lofted ball down the right flank with Jamie Spencer advancing, and the young midfielder was unlucky to see the ball just outrun him and roll out of play.
It was the visitors, however, that caught the first glimpse of goal, with Niall Cummins pulling the trigger from close-range only to see Steven Drench comfortably hold the effort.
Avenue were then dealt a blow as Nicky Clee fell victim to a horrific challenge from Jordan Wright, who will have considered himself extremely lucky to have remained on the pitch. The in-form winger was stretchered off, and veteran midfielder Danny Boshell entered in his place.
Soon after, a long punt fell at the feet of Luca Havern, who just couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and enable himself to test Cameron Mason in the Curzon goal.
Both sides showed promise as the first-half wore on, and Ryan Brooke saw his effort fizz wide of the post after meeting a drilled delivery from the right.
Boshell had made an unexpected entry to the fray after injury to Clee, but gave an assured display in the centre of midfield. He threaded through to Javan Vidal, whose cut-back fell short of reaching the substitute and denied him an opportunity to pull the trigger.
Excitement seemed to dwindle as the half entered its latter stages, and the opening 45 minutes came to a close having yielded no goals.
Drench nearly weighed in with a surprise assist early in the second-half, as his chipped ball over the top of the Curzon defence was latched on to by Johnson, who was unfortunate to see his shot blocked by Jonathan Hunt.
Drench, seemingly discontent with his role as a shot stopper, launched a punt to the feet of Johnson again shortly after. However, the forward skewed his effort wide under pressure from defenders.
Adam Boyes was also denied as he bared down on goal, as he blasted a shot wide of the post after a knock-down from Vidal.
Despite enjoying a series of chances, Curzon remained very much in the game. Ross was forced to hook a Baillie drive clear after the full-back found space inside the box, minutes after Shane Killock had been called into action to block a Matthew Regan piledriver.
Sam Madeley came on in the 77th minute for the tiring Brooke, and made an instant impact barely a minute after entering the fray. He floated in an inch-perfect cross from the right, only for the unmarked Niall Cummins to head over from close-range.
Mark Bower claimed there was ‘no way to describe the last ten minutes’ in his post-match interview, and this was a sentiment echoed by all who watched the game.
Wayne Brooksby had replaced Jamie Spencer in the 69th minute, and proved to be an inspired substitution. He cut in from the right before driving towards the box and unleashing a ferocious strike past Mason to give Avenue the lead.
Jubilation soon turned to despair, however, as Cummins arrived unmarked at the back-post before bundling home to draw level for Curzon.
Although Bower had lamented the lapse in concentration that led to the equaliser, he couldn’t help but express his joy at the response from Avenue.
With just a minute of normal time remaining, Brooksby popped up again to prod home with the ball zipping around the box after Boyes had struck the crossbar.
The home side had learnt their lesson from minutes prior, and maintained their focus after Brooksby had doubled his tally.
Johnson danced his way past two defenders before finding the bottom corner with a composed finish, putting the game beyond Curzon, who could barely believe what had transpired in the closing minutes.
Avenue have it all to do again on New Years’ Day, as they travel to the Tameside to face Curzon in an instant reverse.
Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Ross, Hill, Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Vidal (Nowakowski 77’), Spencer (Brooksby 69’), Boyes, Johnson, Clee (Boshell 14’).
Unused substitutes: Knight, Hall.
Curzon Ashton: Mason, Baillie, Wright, Hunt (c), Shaw (Rowney 51’), Stott, Brooke (Madeley 77’), Regan, Cummins, Clark (Marshall 81’), Guest.
Unused substitutes: Wharton, Thornley.