Gaffers Notes: Bradford Park Avenue Vs Harrogate Town Saturday 21st April 2018

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The league we are in gets tougher each year though and today’s visitors Harrogate Town are an example of just what we are up against.

They have had a fantastic season and really benefited from turning full time last summer and having the financial clout to sign some excellent players in the close season and to add to that significantly with some quality players as the season has progressed. They have been challenging for top spot all season long and having seen them play a fair few times, I’ve been impressed by the way they play at a high intensity with some very good footballers. They have spent heavily over the past 5 or 6 seasons without much success, but this season they look the real deal and we wish Simon Weaver and his team well for whatever remains of their season. Finally, a big thank you to all our supporters who have backed us this year both home and away. We are not the biggest club in this league, but our supporters make themselves heard especially away from home and I know this is much appreciated by everyone in the dressing room. I hope we can finish on a Saturday with a good result and performance.



Match Report: Brackley Town 0-1 Bradford Park Avenue

Bradford Park Avenue climbed to eighth in the table after becoming the first team in the Vanarama National League North to do the double over high-fliers Brackley Town.

 Ryan Toulson unleashed a left-footed thunderbolt with ten minutes remaining to clinch a 1-0 victory over the promotion-chasing Saints.

Mark Bower made two changes to the side that beat Boston United, dropping Steven Drench to the substitutes bench in place of Ed Hall and fielding Ryan Toulson in central midfield in place of Danny Boshell. Avenue’s substitute bench featured Academy defender Lewis Johnson and young striker Bradley Oliver also travelled with the team.

Avenue flew out of the blocks and had a several opportunities to open the scoring early on. Toulson blazed over after a neat exchange between Nicky Wroe and Frank Mulhern provided him with the space to let fly.

Adam Boyes wriggled away from his marker in the box, only to fail to generate enough power in his shot to trouble Danny Lewis.

Wroe had no trouble in generating power with an effort of his own shortly after, hammering a volley goal wards before seeing it fly wide.

However, the hosts grew into the game and began asking questions of Avenue’s backline.

James Armson had a golden opportunity to fire Brackley ahead after being teed up by Matt Lowe but blasted over from close-range to the despair of home supporters.

Lowe provided an outlet for the Saints throughout, as did Lee Ndlovu who constantly looked to get in behind using his blistering pace. The forward’s composure, however, was lacking and he fired into the clutches of Hall after rounding Shane Killock.

As the interval approached, there was a lull in entertainment and the only incident of note in the latter stages was a confrontation between several players following a foul on Hall.

Brackley piled the pressure on Avenue after the half-time break, keen to gain the upper hand by striking first. Connor Franklin drilled across the box and his delivery came very close to finding Ndlovu, but Shane Killock hooked over his own crossbar to clear the danger.

Franklin then cut in from the left before pulling the trigger but was thwarted by the outstretched leg of Mark Ross.

Lowe was also denied by excellent Avenue defending, as a Luca Havern block lifted the Saints winger’s effort over the crossbar.

Hall was called into action to tip a powerful Armson volley over the crossbar, stunning Brackley fans behind the goal with his acrobatic stop.

Oli Johnson made his return from a three-match suspension to replace Mulhern as the clock ticked and made an instant impact with a crucial assist.

Wroe picked the substitute out with a diagonal delivery that the forward flicked into the path of an on-rushing Toulson. He darted into the box to latch on to it before hammering home with his left foot to give Mark Bower’s side the lead.

Despite a nervy final few minutes, Avenue held on and secured one of their most impressive wins of the season so far.

Brackley Town: Lewis, Myles, Franklin (Nicholson 74’), Byrne, Graham, Dean (c), Lowe, Armson, Ndlovu (Brown 82’), Williams (Iaciofano 78’), Walker.

Unused substitutes: Streete, Diggin.

Bradford Park Avenue: Hall, Ross, Hill, Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Brooksby (Recizac 90+1’), Toulson, Boyes, Spencer, Mulhern (Johnson 71’).

Unused substitutes: Johnson, Drench, Boshell.

Referee: Rob Massey-Ellis

Attendance: 290


Match Report: Boston United 1-2 Bradford Park Avenue

Boyes brace beats Boston

Adam Boyes notched his 18th league goal of the season with just minutes remaining to make it back-to-back wins for a reinvigorated Bradford Park Avenue.

He had grabbed his 17th in the first-half, cancelling out an early opener from Boston United captain Jordan Keane.

Mark Bower made one change to the side that saw off Leamington last week, drafting in midfielder Danny Boshell to replace Rob Atkinson after the defender was forced off during the victory over the Brakes.

The hosts made a dream start, taking the lead after just three minutes. They were awarded a free-kick in controversial circumstances after Jake Beesley was brought down outside the box, and Ashley Hemming’s delivery was met by the head of captain Jordan Keane. The defender glanced a header beyond the reach of Steven Drench to leave the visitors shell shocked.

Hemmings caused problems again with a cross shortly after, but his lofted delivery was headed clear by Matt Hill after the winger had escaped the challenge of Frank Mulhern.

Beesley advanced into the box before cutting-back to Brad Abbott but his through ball missed its target and rolled to Drench.

Gianluca Havern and Shane Killock were proving difficult opposition for Boston’s pacey frontline and the latter made an excellent sliding challenge to thwart James Clifton, who opened to shoot after cutting-in from the right.

Avenue did begin to knock on the door as the half progressed and Boyes rattled the crossbar with a thunderous effort from just outside the box.

Boston continued to enjoy opportunities despite Avenue’s testing of Willis and nearly doubled their lead when Beesley drew a fantastic save from Drench with a well-struck half-volley.

However, it was Avenue that found a way through when Boyes powered home a header from a Ross delivery to draw level.

The visitors almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time, as both Boyes and Jamie Spencer saw efforts blocked by Keane on the edge of the box.

HALF-TIME: Boston United 1-1 Bradford Park Avenue

The Pilgrims enjoyed a prolonged spell of pressure after the interval but failed to find a way past the in-form Drench.

An interchange between Andi Thanoj and Hemmings opened space for the latter to shoot but the winger blazed over with a wild effort.

It was soon Avenue’s turn to regain a grip on the game, as they began to enjoy more time on the front foot.

Boyes drilled across goal in search of Spencer, but ex-Avenue man Ryan Qualter hooked behind before the young midfielder could pounce.

Mulhern skipped past Ben Middleton before checking back but his cross looped over the head of a lurking Boyes.

With the tie poised at 1-1, the final few minutes were set to be entertaining. They certainly lived up to expectations, and Mark Bower’s men would have been forgiven for thinking luck simply wasn’t on their side after seeing three shots hooked away on the line.

Two came from substitute Antoine Remi Recizac, who caused problems following his introduction with some impressive movement and skill. After his second was blocked on the goal line, the ball fell to Mulhern whose effort was also denied by a last-ditch clearance.

The resilient visitors were eventually rewarded for their pressure, taking the lead in the 90th minute when Boyes steered past Willis after the ball fell to the clinical finisher in the box.

FULL-TIME: Boston United 1-2 Bradford Park Avenue

 Boston United: Willis, Middleton, Brogan, Thanoj, Keane (c), Qualter, Clifton (McGuire 77’), Abbott (Tshimanga 83’), Thompson, Beesley (Smith 67’), Hemmings.

Unused substitutes: Stewart, Wafula.

 Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Ross, Hill, Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Brooksby (Recizac 75’), Boshell, Boyes, Spencer, Mulhern (Toulson 90+2’).

Unused substitutes: Hall, Knight.

Referee: Sam Mulhall


Match Preview: Boston United Vs Bradford Park Avenue Saturday 14th April 2018

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Avenue head to the Jakemans Stadium on Saturday in search of their first away win since December 2017. Adam Boyes, Nicky Clee and Lee Knight all weighed in with goals as Mark Bower’s side swept Southport aside two days before Christmas, but only three points have been chalked up on the road since that win.

Boston held Spennymoor Town to a 0-0 draw at Harrogate Towns CNG Stadium on Tuesday night, days after securing an impressive away win at Darlington thanks to goals from Ashley Hemmings and on-loan Guiseley forward Reece Thompson.

The Pilgrims lie 12th in the table, one point adrift of Avenue with one game in-hand. Avenue did, however, come out on top in the last meeting between the sides. Boston took the lead at the Horsfall Stadium back in September, but Mark Ross drew level before Adam Boyes clinched the three points with a second-half winner.

Saturday’s opponents have overseen a managerial switch since their last meeting with Avenue, replacing Adam Murray with Craig Elliott.

The game may also see Avenue fans greeted by some familiar faces in the Boston squad. Experienced goalkeeper Jon Stewart represented Avenue during the 2015-16 season and joined the Pilgrims in January to provide competition for first-choice stopper George Willis, a one-time Avenue loanee. Centre-back Ryan Qualter is another to have turned out at the Horsfall Stadium and was also reunited with former Shaw Lane boss Elliott in January.


 THE GAFFER: Craig Elliott

Elliott took charge of the Pilgrims in November 2017, gaining the attention of the Boston board after guiding Shaw Lane to three promotions in four seasons. He also managed Ossett Town and Glasshoughton Welfare before taking over at the Jakemans Stadium.


Stephen Brogan

 Versatile 29-year old Brogan joined the Pilgrims in December having left National League North strugglers North Ferriby United. He brings a wealth of experience to Boston’s side, having played regularly in the Football League for Rotherham United before dropping into non-league. A left-sided player who is comfortable in both defence and midfield, he began his career with the Millers and attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur due to his impressive displays in the 2007-08 season. However, a double leg fracture in 2008 halted his progress. Brogan spent time on loan with Stalybridge Celtic in 2011 and proved to be a hit with fans but couldn’t earn a new deal with the Millers and was eventually released. He eventually joined Celtic on a permanent deal after struggling to settle at Alfreton Town, who he joined following his Rotherham release. Brogan went on to play alongside current Avenue boss Mark Bower at Guiseley, where he also teamed with former Lions Steven Drench, Danny Boshell and Wayne Brooksby. His stint at Nethermoor was short-lived, as it wasn’t long before Forest Green Rovers of non-league football’s highest tier swooped. During his time with Rovers, he earned a call-up to the England C squad and picked up two caps. After leaving Forest Green in 2014, he went on to represent Southport, Gainsborough Trinity and North Ferriby as well as enjoying a third spell at Stalybridge.

Ashley Hemmings

 27-year-old winger Ashley Hemmings linked up with the Boston squad in June 2017 after leaving Mansfield Town. A tricky player with an eye for goal, he represented England under-17s whilst in the youth ranks of Wolverhampton Wanderers and enjoyed loan spells with Cheltenham Town, Torquay United and Plymouth Argyle. He made fifty-six appearances in two years at Walsall after departing Molineux, making five appearances on loan at Burton Albion during that time. Hemmings then made eighty appearances for Dagenham & Redbridge during a two-year spell between 2014 and 2016, earning a move to League Two side Mansfield Town where he spent one season. Since arriving at the Jakemans Stadium, he has scored fifteen goals in forty-four outings.

Reece Thompson

 Boston completed somewhat of a coup when they convinced striker Reece Thompson to join the Pilgrims on loan. The dangerous forward was North Ferriby United’s top-scorer in their 2016-17 National League campaign, earning a move to Guiseley in the summer of 2017. He struggled to break into the Lions’ first-team but has found his feet at the Jakemans Stadium. The former Frickley Athletic and York City forward has found the back of the net on nine occasions since arriving and netted in their recent 2-1 win over Darlington at Blackwell Meadows.


Match Report: Bradford Park Avenue 1-0 Leamington

Drench stop puts the brakes on Leamington’s race for survival

Adam Boyes’ early opener gave Bradford Park Avenue maximum points at the expense of strugglers Leamington.

Mark Bower made two changes to the side that lost to Chorley, re-instating Rob Atkinson and Adam Boyes to the starting line-up following injuries in place of Danny Boshell and Adam Smith. Striker Lee Knight was named a substitute after being recalled from his loan spell at Halesowen Town in midweek.

The hosts’ team selection will have raised eyebrows prior to kick-off, with three centre-backs being named in the starting eleven. Atkinson, Luca Havern and Shane Killock all lined-up in the heart of defence, with Mark Ross and Matt Hill operating as wing-backs. Wayne Brooksby took up a more central role than he is used to, playing in front of the midfield pairing of Nicky Wroe and Jamie Spence and in behind the frontline.

Avenue made a dream start, taking the lead before a minute had been played. Jamie Spencer’s long-range piledriver was tipped on to the post by Tony Breeden, but Boyes was alert to the rebound and tucked home.

The Brakes were rallied by the early goal and began pumping balls forward towards the numerous bodies that had piled into the box. Avenue, however, weathered the storm admirably.

The new system was clearly something that was going to take time to get used to and the hosts struggled to find their feet in the aftermath of the opener.

Connor Gudger took two free-kicks in dangerous positions but couldn’t find the target with his dipping efforts.

After enduring a brief spell of Leamington pressure, Avenue began to take control of the game and came close to doubling their advantage on several occasions.

Frank Mulhern latched on to an inch-perfect through ball from Boyes but was thwarted by an equally as impressive sliding challenge from Jamie Hood.

Spencer sprayed the ball wide to Ross, who was racing forward unmarked, but the defender’s chipped effort clipped the crossbar.

The visitors remained very much in contention despite the score line and would have been level had a foul in the box not ruled out Junior English’s header that flew past Drench.

Opportunities fell to both Gudger and Callum Gittings as the first-half approached its end, but neither could maintain their composure and failed to hit the target from inside the 18-yard box.

HALF-TIME: Bradford Park Avenue 1-0 Leamington

 Avenue were given a scare immediately after the restart, as Spencer’s clearance cannoned off Dan Udoh before flying over the crossbar despite briefly seeming like it would nestle in the top corner.

 The visitors were then given a scare of their own as Boyes’ long-range effort left Breeden stranded before striking the post.

Leamington dominated possession in the early stages of the first-half but only carved out one clear-cut opportunity. Udoh rounded Atkinson before squaring to Matt Dodd, who stretched but failed to make a connection.

This was until Jack Edwards was wrestled to the ground in the box by Mark Ross, giving Dodd the chance to convert from 12-yards. His spot-kick, however, was saved and held by Drench to the relief of Avenue players, staff and supporters.

Substitute Liam Canavan had an opportunity to salvage a point for the Brakes late on but fired a free-kick into to the face of Havern who deflected the ball behind.

He then headed into the grateful clutches of Drench after Udoh had flicked the ball towards him in the box.

Avenue have faced criticism for their inability to hold out in the late stages of games in recent weeks but did so to claim a much-needed three points and condemn lowly Leamington to defeat.

 FULL-TIME: Bradford Park Avenue 1-0 Leamington

 Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Ross, Hill, Atkinson (Toulson 70’), Killock, Havern, Brooksby, Wroe (c), Boyes, Spencer, Mulhern (Boshell 74’).

Unused substitutes: Hall, Recizac, Knight.

Leamington: Breeden (c), English, Gudger, Clarke (Canavan 67’), Hood, Mace, Dunbar (Revan 77’), Gittings, Udoh, Edwards, Obeng (Dodd 62’).

Unused substitutes: Magunda, Moore.

Referee: Garreth Rhodes


Match Rearranged: Brackley Town Vs Bradford Park Avenue

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Following the postponed game against Brackley Town on Saturday 3rd March. Both clubs have agreed for the game to be rearranged for Tuesday 17th April 2018 with a 19:45 kick off.

The Club will be running a coach to the game leaving The Horsfall Stadium at 14:15 and Ceder Court at 14:30. If you would like to book a seat please see Neil Fawcett at the Supporters Information Desk on match day or call him on 07811959003.


Lee Knight Recalled From Loan

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Mark Bower has recalled Lee Knight from his loan deal at Halesowen Town. With current injuries and Oli Johnson’s suspension Lee will offer some much needed cover up front for the remainder of the season.


Gaffers Preview: Bradford Park Avenue Vs Leamington FC Saturday 7th April

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Confidence in football is massive and it is clear at the moment that we are struggling on that front. Earlier in the season when we were playing well and winning games, you could see the players playing on the front foot, anticipating things and taking risks going forward. Recently we’ve been a bit more hesitant and maybe over thinking things and this has led to us becoming disjointed and not as fluent as we were. It is certainly not for a lack of effort as it may look at times from the terraces, we have a great dressing room full of lads that are desperate to do well and work hard for each other. It is our job as a management team to re install that confidence and belief and remind the players that only a month ago we were matching Salford away from home who look set to win the league. We have to find a way with the limited numbers we have to get back to winning games and the players need to draw on their experience to help them get through this period.

We’re having to contend with a few injuries at the moment. This league is the strongest it has ever been, so for us to be missing Rob Atkinson, Adam Nowakowski, Nicky Clee, Javan Vidal, Oli Johnson and effectively Adam Boyes is making it tough for us. The loss of six important players would effect even the likes of Salford and Harrogate with their sizeable budgets, so it’s obviously going to impact us. We’re having to patch others up also to get them on the pitch and it is so frustrating that we have gone through most of the season without too many injuries to then be hit with numerous within a week of the transfer deadline passing and leaving us with few options.

On Saturday we face Leamington who have had a good season so far after they were written off by many at the start of the season. Paul Holleran is an experienced manager and has done fantastically well to get them promoted last season and competing well this season. They beat us in the away fixture earlier in the season and we know what they’re all about. It will be another tough game, but we must concentrate on ourselves and our performance first and foremost to give ourselves a chance of winning the game.