Five-star Avenue hammer sorry Trinity
After enduring a winless January, Bradford Park Avenue returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a 5-0 rout of Gainsborough Trinity.
Mark Bower shuffled the pack for the visit of 19th-placed Gainsborough Trinity, with on-loan midfielder Dan Pybus making his first start at the Horsfall Stadium and fellow loan recruit Frank Mulhern being named a substitute. Wayne Brooksby returned from a hamstring injury to reclaim his spot on the right-hand side of midfield, and Nicky Clee switched to left-back in a surprising change.
The hosts took an early lead via the returning Brooksby, who rifled into the top corner after pouncing on a Clee corner that had rebounded off the post.
Avenue took advantage of the early momentum, piling forward in droves as they hunted for a second. Nicky Wroe and Clee both saw long-range piledrivers deflected wide, and Shane Killock almost weighed in with a rare goal but volleyed over from just inside the box.
Brooksby looked extremely lively in his first outing since the defeat to York and stung the palms of Henrich Ravas with a powerful drive in the early stages.
The dominant home side soon found a way past Ravas again, with Adam Boyes providing one of his most unique finishes of the season to double Avenue’s lead. His perfectly executed cushioned volley allowed him to continue his rich vein of goalscoring form.
The Trinity goalkeeper was called into action shortly after conceding, as Ryan Toulson’s cross was headed back across goal by Boyes and into the path of Oli Johnson. However, the forward couldn’t direct his low drive past Rivas who made an impressive save.
Boyes came agonisingly close to netting again when he raced through to latch on to a through-ball, but saw his deft touch parried wide.
The visitors’ best chance of the first-half came when Shane Clarke struck goal wards from distance, but the midfielder’s effort fizzed wide of the post.
Pybus certainly made an impression on his debut following a loan move from Bradford City, and almost marked his arrival with a goal but saw his strike blocked on the line despite rounding a stranded Rivas.
Trinity threatened through Liam King late on, but the half-time whistle blew with Avenue firmly in the driving seat.
The hosts made a dream start to the second-half despite the visitors ringing the changes with a double substitution at the interval, as Boyes dispossessed Nathan Stainfield before coolly dispatching past Rivas.
Somewhat surprisingly given the comfortable nature of the lead, Mark Bower’s side continued to pile pressure on their opponents and Johnson forced another vital stop from Rivas after latching on to a Pybus flick.
Pybus then well and truly introduced himself to the Avenue faithful with a marauding run down the left, with the youngster evading the challenges of several players and covering an impressive distance before striking the post and allowing Brooksby to poke home the rebound.
Former Avenue favourite Craig King hammered an effort against the post as Trinity began to appear desperate, but the visitors couldn’t find a way past an Avenue defence that seemed impenetrable.
Avenue then entered dreamland as Johnson cut-in from the left before drifting back out wide and hammering a left-footed strike across goal and into the bottom corner.
The struggling visitors rarely threatened in the latter stages, and Avenue saw the game out in relatively comfortable fashion. It could have even been six when Clee darted into the box but saw his teasing delivery fly across the box without receiving the elusive finishing touch.
Another former Avenue player, Tom Davie, headed goal wards with two minutes remaining on the clock but Steve Drench held comfortably before the curtain was drawn on a mesmerising performance.
Mark Bower gave a special mention to those that worked on the pitch prior to the game in his post-match interview, stating that the Horsfall surface was in “great condition” in spite of heavy downpours. He also hailed the impact of debutants Dan Pybus and Frank Mulhern and referenced another new arrival in Adam Smith when discussing the “bench full of quality” at his disposal.
Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Toulson, Clee, Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Brooksby (Smith 68’), Pybus (Vidal 73’), Boyes (Mulhern 71’), Johnson, Spencer.
Unused substitutes: Hill, Nowakowski.
Gainsborough Trinity: Ravas, Vann (Stainfield 45’), Davie, Richards (Bateson 45’), Beatson, Jacklin, C. King, Clarke (Russell 60’), Jarman, Horsfield, L. King.
Unused substiutes: Wells, Simmons.
Booked: Brooksby, Mulhern (Avenue), C. King, Bateson, Jarman (Trinity).
Referee: Alex Kirkley