After a slow start to the season and early fears of falling through the NLN trapdoor, Bradford (Park Avenue) have shown resilience to drag themselves from the brink.
Avenue had one of the worst possible starts to the season, with fans spending the first two months wondering where the first win was coming from. Losing seven and drawing four left Avenue sitting at the bottom of the table with no end to their dismal run in sight.
To compound matters, they even suffered defeat in the FA Cup second qualifying round against level nine side Ashington AFC away from home.
It looked like their fortunes were not going to change in October as they went down to their heaviest defeat of the season so far, losing 4-1 to Southport but the following weekend the patient Avenue faithful were rewarded with a welcome first win. Curzon Ashton, so often our bogey team, surrendered all three points at Horsfall Stadium. This result sparked a revival with the team going on to win their next two league games and, despite a blip against high-flying Brackley Town, they rounded off the month with a well fought victory over Gloucester City. This excellent month propelled Avenue up the table and out of the drop zone for the first time in the season.
November didn’t start well. The team kicked off with back-to-back defeats. A creditable draw at Alfreton was followed by a disappointing exit from the FA Trophy at the hands of local rivals Farsley Celtic. Hope was restored at the end of the month with wins against newly promoted Banbury and long-established NLN side Boston.
This put them in good stead for December and Avenue duly went on to win their opening two games. The determination and resilience shown by the players in the match at Buxton will live long in the memories of those fortunate enough to witness it. Finding themselves a goal down in added time, Avenue conjured two great goals to snatch all three points.
At this halfway point of the season Avenue are sitting in 17th place, four points away from the drop and, for the optimists among us, ten points off the play-off places.
Avenue head into today’s Boxing Day derby against Farsley Celtic buoyed by their recent run of results and determined to take revenge for that defeat in the FA Trophy. The sides resume their rivalry at the Citadel on New Year’s Day.
You can watch all the goals from the first half of the season on our YouTube Channel below.