Horsfall College Of Sport Announces New Partnership With SCL Education Group

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Horsfall College of Sport, the academy arm of Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC is teaming up with SCL Education Group to deliver a training and education programme for 16-18 year olds, offering them a stepping stone into a career in football, and in further education.

The programme will support students in developing valuable life skills, as they gain key qualifications alongside relevant work experience and an excellent full-time football training programme from Bradford (Park Avenue).

All educational aspects of the programme will be fully managed by SCL, a leading independent provider of education through sport. SCL are approved to deliver qualifications with over 15 years’ experience in delivering a range of forward-thinking and successful sports programmes for young adults.

Horsfall College of Sport is the new name adopted by Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC for its academy which, has been based at Grange Technology College for the last two years and will move to Horsfall Stadium from September 2018. The college provides opportunities for 16 – 18 year olds to gain an academic qualification whilst developing their technical and personal skills. Although only two years old the college has had four scholars involved in the first team this pre-season with Matthew Rowntree becoming the first scholar to score in a first team fixture. All coaches, led by Alex Meechan, are fully qualified with ‘A’ licensed UEFA badges and offer a strong training programme to develop each individual’s technical ability. The college also offers a fully fitted medical room under the management of our Head of Medicine Tally Clayton.

Couple this with a support network from SCL consisting of tutors, curriculum managers, quality assessors and operations support, it’s a programme that’s hard to rival.

CEO Rob Stanley stated, “Partnering with a company of SCL’s standing is a strong move for the club and college. Their expertise in their field will enable the club to concentrate on providing quality coaching sessions in order to develop both the individual technically and personally. This is an exciting time for the college and we are looking forward to working closely with SCL to develop the college and courses we offer”

Students will benefit from:
Full-time education and training programme
Daily training from highly qualified FA coaches
Guidance on individual football fitness
Nutritional advice
Regular appraisal to monitor development both on and off the pitch
Proven progression routes

Graduates of the programme will have the opportunity to progress onto fantastic exit routes, including professional or semi-professional football, further education, scholarships abroad, training or employment.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Programme or know someone who would like to apply, please contact:


Nowakowski Salvages Draw Against Hatters

A late equaliser from substitute Adam Nowakowski salvaged a point for Bradford (Park Avenue) after Matty Warburton’s moment of magic had given Stockport County the lead.

Stockport supporters travelled in their numbers and were treated to a first-half display full of attacking intent from their side.

This didn’t faze Bradford, who did excellently to nullify the threat of the visitors’ attacking contingent.

Sam Minihan proved dangerous down the right flank, particularly in the first-half, and he found Jake Kirby with a cross after a marauding run. Kirby swivelled and shot but was denied by Steven Drench.

Former Bradford loanee Frank Mulhern was named in Stockport’s staring eleven on his return to the Horsfall, but he was forced off with an injury after just nine minutes following a collision with Shane Killock.

Minihan continued to threaten, skipping past Nicky Clee and pulling back to Matty Warburton, whose shot was deflected wide by Conor Branson.

Bradford did have opportunites of their own but didn’t trouble Ben Hinchliffe and failed to register a shot on target in the entirety of the first-half. A speculative effort from Ben McKenna flew wide and Oli Johnson miscued a cross after advancing into the 18-yard box.

The Hatters looked certain to break the deadlock when Kirby latched on to a perfectly weighted pass from Conor Dimaio, but he saw his powerful strike palmed wide by Drench.

Nicky Clee felled Kirby inside the 18-yard box to give Warburton the chance to convert from 12-yards, but Drench dived to his left and held the tame effort.

HALF-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-0 Stockport County

Defensive lynchpin Luca Havern did excellently to thwart Minihan after the break, steering his cross behind for a corner as Sam Walker lurked.

Bradford registered their first shot on target in the 52nd minute, but Chris Dawson’s audacious volley was held by Hinchliffe.

Branson then had to be alert to prevent a Kirby cross reaching Dimaio, who had advanced into dangerous territory and was preparing to shoot.

The energetic Jamie Spencer looked to rally Bradford, darting forward and shooting but watching the effort cannon off the back of Jordan Keane before being cleared.

Ben McKenna provided an outlet for the hosts throughout but really hit his stride in the final fifteen minutes. His teasing delivery found Jake Beesley, but the forward sent a glancing header wide.

With twelve minutes remaining, the Hatters took the lead as Warburton found the top corner with a sensational strike from distance.

Bradford responded by piling bodies forward, and deployed the towering Adam Nowakowski as a makeshift striker. The decision was rewarded when Nowakowski put the hosts back on level terms, steering home after meeting a Beesley delivery from the left.

FULL-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-1 Stockport County

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Ross, Clee, Branson, Killock (c), Havern, McKenna, Dawson (Wroe 53′), Beesley, Johnson (Knight 58′), Spencer (Nowakowski 71′).

Unused substitutes: Atkinson, Boshell.

Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Minihan, Askew, Keane, Smalley, Walker, Dimaio (Mantack 75′), Turnbull (c), Mulhern (Bell 9′), Warburton, Kirby (Stephenson 63′).

Unused substitutes: Cowan, Ormson.

Attendance: 825

Referee: James Bell

Match Preview: Bradford (Park Avenue) Vs. Stockport County

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Bradford (Park Avenue) welcome a side that carry a lot of expectation on their shoulders to the Horsfall Stadium this afternoon as Stockport County provide the opposition. 

Boasting a squad brimming with talent, the Hatters are among the favourites to gain promotion this season after losing narrowly to Chorley in the elimination round of last season’s play-offs.

They kick-started their 2018/19 campaign in style, convincingly disposing of F.C United of Manchester on the opening day with an emphatic 5-1 win. A defeat to York City followed, but Jim Gannon’s side put Southport to the sword after a late winner from former Republic of Ireland under-21 international Conor Dimaio. Guiseley visited Edgeley Park on Tuesday, holding the Hatters to a 1-1 draw.

County triumphed on their last visit to the Horsfall back in March 2018, as a crowd of 1,044 watched midfielder James Ball claim a 3-2 win for the visitors with a stoppage-time volley.

Today’s opponents will be keen to start showing consistency as they look to establish themselves as front-runners in the promotion race, but will be facing a confident Bradford.

The hosts have won three of their opening four games, and are yet to concede at the Horsfall Stadium following 1-0 wins over Brackley Town and Spennymoor Town at their West Yorkshire home.

There are several ex-Hatters in the Bradford squad, including Mark Ross, Gianluca Havern, Danny Boshell, Ben McKenna and Oli Johnson.


The Gaffer:

Jim Gannon

Gannon is currently enjoying his third spell as Stockport manager, having previously taken the reigns between 2005 and 2009, and 2011 and 2013. He led the Hatters to promotion from League Two via the play-offs in 2008 and kept the club afloat in League One despite a ten-point deduction. Gannon has experience of managing in the Championship following a spell in charge of Peterborough United in 2010, and has also managed Dundalk, Motherwell, Port Vale and Northwich Victoria. As a player, he made over 350 appearances for Stockport and also played in Yorkshire with Sheffield United and Halifax Town.

One To Watch:

Frank Mulhern

Bradford supporters are already aware of the talent possessed by 21-year-old Mulhern, who helped fire the club into to the play-offs during a loan spell at the Horsfall Stadium last season. A pacey and powerful forward, he can also operate on the wing and was utilised in both positions by Mark Bower during his time in Bradford. He dropped into non-league football with Guiseley after leaving Huddersfield Town, who swooped for him after his shock departure from Leeds United. After finding first-team opportunities at Nethermoor limited, he spent time on loan at Harrogate Town and Alfreton Town before joining Bradford on a temporary basis in February 2018. The former Republic of Ireland youth international was quickly off the mark for his new club, netting Stockport’s first in a 5-1 drubbing of F.C United of Manchester on the opening day.

Admission Prices:

Adults: £12

Concessions: £9

Students: £7

Under-16s: £2

Drench: We’re Looking Forward To Another Tough Game

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Bradford (Park Avenue) goalkeeper Steven Drench has claimed that he and his teammates are relishing the prospect of another tough game ahead of Stockport County’s visit tomorrow.

The experienced stopper has kept clean sheets in both of the club’s home wins so far, and was particularly impressive on Tuesday night as he proved to be a thorn in the side of Spennymoor Town’s attacking contingent.

Speaking after the 1-0 victory over the Moors, Drench discussed the the importance of the win, the competitive nature of the division and the upcoming test against Stockport.

“We came unstuck against Leamington on Saturday, so we wanted to put in a performance against Spennymoor and we have done,” explained the goalkeeper.

“We started the season by playing against sides that we’d like to think will be up there at the end of the season, but Leamington was a tough place to go as well. People assume, because of where they finished last season, that we had a right to go there and win but no team does. 

“Anyone can beat anybody in this league and some of the results have showed that. With the exception of Chorley, no team has set the world alight and it just shows how tight the league will be this season.

It’s still early days and a lot of teams are still sussing out their best eleven. It’s a case of feeling each other out, but we’ve won three of our first four games and we’d have taken that if it was offered to us at the start of the season. We’re looking forward to another tough game on Saturday.”

Bradford face Stockport County at the Horsfall Stadium tomorrow, with the action kicking off at 3pm. Admission is priced at just £12 for adults, £9 for concessions, £7 for students and £2 for under-16s.

Stockport County Match Arrangements

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A decision has been taken to make the match fully segregated but will not be all ticket as per previous games over the last few seasons.

With full segregation in place, Avenue fans will only be able to enter the ground on the day of the match via the Cemetery Road turnstiles. We are also encouraging home fans not to use Park Road car park, as that is where visiting Stockport County supporters will be directed to.

The club will be implementing additional facilities to accommodate the Stockport supporters. There will be a separate beer tent, burger van, as well as portable toilets, located at the Park Road end of the ground. The club will also be running a card payment only turnstile to try and ease congestion around the turnstiles.

Home supporters will, as usual, have access to the clubhouse and in-house cafe, and will be able to view the match from the main stand, one half of the pavilion side, and the stand behind the goal.

Fans are asked to arrive at the ground early to avoid queues, and take up their position in plenty of time with seating especially limited.

The Dolan Effect: A Thank You Following Terry Dolan’s Departure

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Following the conclusion of a memorable 2017/18 campaign, Director of Football Terry Dolan left the club.

An extremely well-respected and successful footballing figure, Terry returned the club he represented as a player as a director in 2015 before being appointed as Director of Football in 2016.

He took on the role in order to help rebuild the pyramid within the club, as well as developing a community-led academy. During his time at the club, he also worked closely with first-team managers to produce teams that Bradford (Park Avenue) could be proud of, and that would attract supporters.

The move to bring Terry back to the club was a logical one; it was made out of common sense. He brought a wealth of experience of football to the Horsfall, following a distinguished career of playing and managing at a high level. His professional playing career began with Bradford (Park Avenue), who he represented until Huddersfield Town swooped in 1970. Terry played in all four divisions for the Terriers before going on to enjoy a successful five-year spell with Bradford City. He also represented Rochdale and Brackley Town as a player and spent time with Harrogate Town and Thackley as a player-coach before eventually stepping into senior management. As a manager, he took the reigns at Bradford City, Rochdale, Hull City, York City and Guiseley before working with the St Vincent and Grenadines national team as a consultant and with Notts County as Head of Recruitment.

One of Terry’s most challenging tasks when appointed was establishing an academy that would serve both the club and the local community. Perhaps unsurprisingly considering his credentials and experience, he was pivotal in ensuring that the academy was successfully set-up. Now known as the Horsfall College of Sport, it provides opportunities in football for young people in Bradford as well as helping them develop academically. Recently, young midfielder Matthew Rowntree became the first scholar to score for the first-team and the College’s success will always serve as a reminder of Terry’s contribution to the club.

Everyone associated with Bradford (Park Avenue) wishes Terry all the best and he is always welcome at the Horsfall Stadium.

Thank you, Terry!

Bradford Edge Past Moors

Bradford (Park Avenue) produced the perfect response to Saturday’s humbling with a hard-fought win over promotion-chasing Spennymoor Town.

The Moors invested heavily in their squad over the summer and handed starts to former Bradford duo Rob Atkinson and Adam Boyes. However, it was their former employers that demonstrated a clinical edge and wrapped up a third win in four games.

The visitors dominated possession in the opening exchanges, and almost opened the scoring early on when Shane Henry latched on to a stray pass from Jake Beesley before sending a shot wide.

Despite spraying the ball around with relative comfort for large portions of the opening twenty minutes, Spennymoor never really troubled Steven Drench and resorted to audacious strikes from distance that the goalkeeper held.

Glen Taylor came closest, combining well with Rob Ramshaw but seeing his shot blocked by Luca Havern with Drench beaten.

Oli Johnson began to open the game up as his incisive runs down the left flank stretched the Spennymoor defence. He raced to the byline after skipping past Callum Williams but Ben McKenna couldn’t convert after connecting with the cross.

McKenna then turned provider with a teasing delivery from the right that found Beesley, but the forward flicked wide under pressure from Atkinson.

The hosts then won a free-kick barely an inch into the Moors’ half when Henry felled Chris Dawson. From the set-piece, the ball was worked out to the left where Johnson drilled a cross in from and picked out McKenna, who steered past Matthew Gould.

As momentum began to shift in the hosts’ favour, Gould became busier as shots rained down on the former Stourbridge stopper, who was a thorn in Bradford’s side during the FA Trophy clashes with his former employers last season.

A powerful drive from Conor Branson was palmed away by Gould whilst at full stretch and a cross from Johnson was deflected wide as Beesley arrived at the back post, ready to pounce.

Bradford were dealt a blow with seven minutes of the first-half remaining as Danny Lowe was forced off with an injury. The experienced Nicky Clee, however, had deputised at left-back on numerous occasions before and slotted in well as Lowe’s replacement.

Former Bradford marksman Boyes had the ball in the back of the net in the 41st minute and wheeled away to celebrate after meeting a Jamie Chandler cross and flicking past Drench. Luckily for the hosts, he had strayed offside and was penalised.

HALF-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Spennymoor Town

Boyes slipped in behind the Bradford backline early on in the second-half, but fired straight into the clutches of Drench after escaping his marker.

Pressure began to mount on the hosts, with Moors manager Jason Ainsley’s half-time team talk clearly paying dividends.

The slicker Spennymoor side that had emerged after the interval went close again as Boyes cut back to Mark Anderson but could only watch as he lost his balance and passed the ball wide.

Taylor forced Drench to beat away a low-drilled effort from the right-hand side of the box and the goalkeeper then did to superbly to thwart Atkinson, palming away a header powered towards him after the defender connected with Anderson’s corner delivery.

The referee was forced to dismiss appeals for a Moors penalty in the 72nd minute after Taylor and Shane Killock collided in the box, with the former convinced he had been bundled over.

Jamie Spencer had provided a much-needed injection of energy upon his return to the starting eleven, and he was crucial as Bradford looked to relieve the intense pressure they were under in the late stages. The midfielder wriggled away from Chandler and almost found the bottom corner with an effort that flew narrowly wide before turning provider for McKenna, who rattled the post.

The hosts hammered the woodwork once again barely a minute later as Branson struck goal wards but was denied by the post.

Spencer flicked the ball into the path of Beesley with a clever header but James Curtis was on-hand to sweep up and hook away from danger.

Former Bradford loanee Jake Hibbs was introduced in the final ten minutes and almost made an instant impact, unleashing a venomous strike from distance that Drench had to be alert to get down to and hold.

The visitors piled bodies forward as the full-time whistle approached but shot themselves in the foot on numerous occasions by giving away cheap free-kicks with niggly fouls, stifling their own attacks.

FULL-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Spennymoor Town

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Ross, Lowe (Clee 38′), Branson, Killock (c), Havern, McKenna, Dawson (Wroe 64′), Beesley, Johnson (Nowakowski 90+3′), Spencer.

Unused substitutes: Boshell, Knight.

Spennymoor Town: Gould, Williams, Brogan, Chandler, Atkinson, Curtis (c), Boyes (Foley 79′), Henry (Hibbs 81′), Taylor, Anderson (Johnson 69′), Ramshaw.

Unused substitutes: Thackray, Elliott.

Referee: Barry Lamb

Attendance: 392

Report: Tom Coates


Match Preview: Bradford (Park Avenue) Vs. Spennymoor Town

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Bradford return to the Horsfall Stadium after two away trips to host the side that they pipped to the post in last season’s race for the final play-off spot. 

Spennymoor Town crumbled as the finishing line approached in the 2017/18 season, allowing Mark Bower’s side to secure a 7th-placed finish on the final day in dramatic fashion.

The Moors, however, have invested heavily in their squad over the summer and are among the favourites for promotion this season.

Jason Ainsley’s side are yet to succumb to a defeat and will be hoping that their record remains unblemished after tonight’s fixture. Despite avoiding defeat against Chester, Darlington and Altrincham, Spennymoor failed to clinch victory in all three ties and find themselves two points adrift of their opponents for the evening, who sit in 6th despite losing to Leamington in their previous fixture.

Bradford will be keen to make the Horsfall Stadium a fortress this season after celebrating victory there on the opening day, and welcome sides to their West Yorkshire home in quick succession with Stockport County awaiting after tonight’s visit from Spennymoor.

Tonight’s hosts last welcomed the Moors to the Horsfall in January, and suffered a 2-1 defeat despite Nicky Clee’s second-half strike sparking hope of a comeback.

Two members of Bradford’s 2017/18 squad could feature for the opposition, with Rob Atkinson and Adam Boyes now plying their trade in County Durham. Former Bradford loanee Jake Hibbs also joined the Moors during the summer and could line-up against his former employers.

The signing of former Leeds United forward Lewis Knight was announced today and he could be in line for a debut after receiving international clearance.


The Gaffer:

Jason Ainsley

48-year-old Ainsley has been in charge at The Brewery Field since 2007, where he took the reigns after bringing his playing career to an end and enjoying a spell as Assistant Manager. He has delivered four promotions, five league titles, two domestic cups and lifted the FA Vase as manager in 2013. As a player, he captained Spennymoor and also represented the likes of Hartlepool United, Blyth Spartans and Barrow. The former midfielder also played in Singapore and Australia. The 2018/19 season marks his 12th in charge of the Moors, making him one of the longest-serving bosses in the country.

One To Watch:

Glen Taylor

The robust 28-year-old forward has already notched two goals this season, including a crucial equaliser in a 4-4 draw with Altrincham. Taylor has proven himself to be a prolific marksman, surpassing the 20-goal mark last season having netted 19 in the 2016/17 campaign. A former FA Vase winner with Whitley Bay, he scored over 100 goals during his spell with Ashington and spent time with Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy in the summer of 2017.


Adults: £12

Concessions: £9

Students: £7

Under-18s: £2


Bradford Sign Lewis Knight

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Bradford (Park Avenue) have completed the signing of forward Lewis Knight after the 19-year-old was granted international clearance.

Knight joins having featured as a trialist throughout pre-season, making an instant impact with a goal against Silsden on his first outing in a Bradford shirt. He continued to impress manager Mark Bower in a series of friendlies, earning a contract with the club and becoming the eighth new addition to the squad.

He is a product of Leeds United’s academy and featured regularly for the club’s under-18 and under-23 sides as a scholar before being released in 2017.

Following his Elland Road exit, the forward moved to the USA to study at Marshall University and was prolific for the University’s football team in the Conference USA league.

He returned to England this year and spoke to us about his delight at joining Bradford (Park Avenue):

“I’m really happy to have joined Bradford (Park Avenue). It’s a great club and I’m really looking forward to being part of a successful season. I’m eager to help the team achieve its goals and learn along the way. I just can’t wait to get playing now.” 

Knight is available for this evening’s clash with Spennymoor Town.

Lewis Knight is now available to sponsor and supporters are able to sponsor either his home or away kit for £60. To download a player kit sponsorship form please click here

Bradford Suffer First Defeat At Hands of Brakes

Leamington condemned Bradford (Park Avenue) to their first defeat of the season despite a late rally from the West Yorkshire side.

The hosts started the game on the front foot, piling a lot of pressure on Leamington as they looked to assert their dominance early on.

Chris Dawson and Jake Beesley had shown signs that an impressive partnership was developing during the win over Blyth Spartans, and they picked up from where they left off against the Brakes.

They combined well to release Beesley in the opening three minutes and the forward won a corner when he was felled by James Mace. Nicky Clee’s delivery found Shane Killock, but the defender’s header was hooked away from danger by Jamie Hood.

Beesley then connected with a free-kick delivery from Nicky Wroe but looped his header over the crossbar.

The on-loan forward was the target of several deliveries and he headed narrowly wide minutes later when he connected with a Ben McKenna cross.

Leamington began to grow into the game as the half wore on and caught their first glimpse of goal when Matt Stenson headed wide after stooping to meet a Joe Clarke cross.

The hosts’ best opportunity came barely a minute later when Stenson rattled the crossbar with a header and Jamie Hood’s follow-up was blocked.

The chances seemed to breathe life into Leamington and the latter stages of the second-half were much more closely-fought.

Connor Taylor found space on the left-hand side of the box but blasted wide despite being in acres of space.

Dawson had an opportunity to open his Bradford account when Ryan Toulson drilled a cross in from the right, but he leaned back and blazed over.

With half-time looming, the brakes found another gear and took the lead with a devastating counter-attack. Toulson challenged Callum Gittings but the deflection was picked up by Stenson, who accelerated and tucked the ball away in the bottom corner.

The hosts started the second-half in similar fashion to how they finished the first and doubled their lead just four minutes after the restart. Shane Killock could only clear a corner as far as Gittings om the edge of the box, who rifled into the bottom corner.

Stenson then made an incisive dart into the box but fired wide under pressure from Luca Havern.

Stenson made his way into the box again moments later and this time, found the target. Drench was helpless as the forward’s well-struck effort flew past him and nestled in the bottom corner.

Adam Nowakowski was introduced on the hour mark and began causing problems instantly. He chased a seemingly lost cause before winning possession and pulling back to Oli Johnson, who delivered for Beesley but watched as the forward flicked wide.

As Bradford looked to defy the odds and overturn the deficit, they piled bodies forward in a desperate search for opportunites. A Beesley header was hooked off the line and McKenna drove an effort into the clutches of Breeden.

The winger then unleashed a curling effort towards goal that flew barely an inch wide of the post.

Nowakowski brought down a lofted pass from Conor Branson magnificently, but lifted a half-volley over the crossbar.

Late drama then ensued as Killock connected with Jamie Spencer’s cross and caused the roof of the net to bulge with a powerful header.

Barely a minute later, McKenna delivered the ball on a plate for Johnson and the striker steered home.

Hope of a comeback, however, was killed when Dwyer converted past Drench with a neat finish after escaping Killock.

Leamington: Breeden (c), English, Bowen, Clarke, Hood, Mace, Dunbar, Gittings, Stenson (Dwyer 75’), Edwards (Magunda 69’), Taylor (Steele 80’).

Unused substitutes: Morris, Obeng.

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Toulson (Johnson 45’), Ross, Wroe (Spencer 58’), Killock (c), Havern, McKenna, Branson, Beesley, Dawson (Nowakowski 61’), Clee.

Unused substitutes: Atkinson, Boshell.

Referee: Scott Simpson