Match Report: Bradford Park Avenue 4 Blyth Spartans 1
Blyth Spartans were victims of their own downfall in a thoroughly entertaining encounter at the Horsfall Stadium. In previous weeks, Mark Bower had previously placed onus on bad luck for some of Avenue’s recent shortcomings, but witnessed his side develop a clinical edge to take advantage of Blyth’s defensive fragilities.
Shane Killock returned to the starting eleven in his first appearance for the club since returning from his loan spell at Boston United, and Wayne Brooksby also returned following injury in place of Javan Vidal. Steven Drench was also re-instated between the sticks, with Ed Hall dropping to the bench.
It took just three minutes for Avenue to open the scoring, as Wayne Brooksby marked his return to action with a goal. The winger capitalised on a mistake by Ryan Hutchinson, who gifted possession away inside his own 12-yard box and allowing Brooksby to convert from close-range.
The visitors caught their first sight of goal via Adam Wrightson, who struck from around 25-yards into the hands of Drench, who wasn’t troubled by the shot that failed to find either side of the experienced ‘keeper.
Killock then came close to scoring on his return to the Horsfall, as his free header from a Nicky Wroe delivery was cleared off the line in dramatic fashion by Sean Reid.
Dale Hopson was brought down in dubious circumstances shortly after, with Blyth players and supporters alike calling for a penalty. Appeals were waved away by the referee, but it almost didn’t matter when Hopson’s blocked effort fell to Jarrett Rivers, who forced a strong palm away from Drench.
Wroe, who dictated proceedings throughout, then picked out Oli Johnson with a sublime switched pass that would have been a certain assist had Johnson been able to control.
Brooksby was causing all sorts of problems on his return, and paved the way for Jamie Spencer to line up an acrobatic effort when he nutmegged Robbie Dale, but the less said about the young midfielder’s overhead kick, the better.
Another Blyth mistake at the back almost allowed Brooksby to double his tally with half-time looming, as a lack of communication placed him in a one-on-one scenario, but his audacious volleyed effort flew wide.
The lead was soon doubled, however, as Johnson was on-hand to steer home a Brooksby cross at the back post to send Mark Bower’s side into the half-time interval with a 2-0 lead.
Avenue were clearly in no mood to halt the onslaught of goals, and netted two more in the opening two minutes of the second-half.
Jamie Spencer was rewarded for his recent impressive form, as he netted his first goal for the club with a placed finish from a cut-back from Boyes.
Boyes then weighed in himself, rounding a stranded Jameson to coolly convert Avenue’s fourth of a game in which they had demonstrated their ability to compete with the most dangerous sides the league has to offer.
Blyth soon had a consolation goal, as Robbie Dale’s free-kick found the bottom corner on his second attempt, after Spencer was penalised for closing down prematurely and subsequently forcing a re-take.
Both sides had half-chances in the latter stages of the game, but Avenue’s defence held down the fort to see out the game and secure a vital three points.
Referee: Simon Mather
Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Ross, Kelly, Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Brooksby, Spencer, Boyes, Johnson (Lyn 90’), Clee (Nowakowski 75’).
Unused subs: Vidal, Hall, Hill.
Blyth Spartans: Jameson, Cartwright, Watson (Rutherford 60’), Reid, Buddle (Atkinson 51’), Hutchinson, Rivers, McTiernan, Wrightson, Hopson (Maguire 55), Dale (c).
Unused subs: Mullen, Liddle.