Match Preview: Chester vs. Bradford (Park Avenue)

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Bradford (Park Avenue) were at risk of standing still alongside the top two tiers of English football during the international break, but Chester’s stadium issues have been resolved ahead of today’s fixture.

The Swansway Chester Stadium suffered significant damage following a heavy downpour and the Blues haven’t played at their home since the opening day of the season.

They made a commendable start to the season as they held Spennymoor Town to a goalless draw and swept Curzon Ashton aside, but have experienced little in the way of joy on the road since their win at the Tameside Stadium.

A trip to Blyth Spartans ended in humiliation and they failed to bounce back with win when they faced AFC Telford United, who claimed a 3-1 victory at New Bucks Head. A respectable point was salvaged against Guiseley on their last outing, but they face a Yorkshire side that have suffered just one defeat in their opening eight games this afternoon.

Mark Bower will have been frustrated to see his side held by F.C United of Manchester last week but will be encouraged by the character shown by Bradford already this season. A bitterly disappointing defeat to Leamington earlier in the campaign was followed by an impressive win over Spennymoor Town and the Bradford boss will be looking for a similar response after last week’s blow.

Speaking to Lewis Sale after the draw at Broadhurst Park, Bower was confident that his side can provide Chester with a stern test: “We made some bad decisions (against F.C United) and there are lessons to be learnt. We were the better team and that’s what makes it harder to take. We will improve next week at Chester. If we do what we’ve done for the majority of the season then we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”

Bradford were boosted by the returns of Danny Lowe and Ben McKenna from injury last week and both will be looking to make appearances at the Swansway Chester Stadium.


The Gaffers:

Bernard Morley & Anthony Johnson

The management duo of Morley and Johnson delivered two promotions in six years at Ramsbottom United before moving to Salford City, where they guided the club to three promotions and helped the Ammies achieve National League status in 2018. They were appointed joint-managers of Chester in May 2018, with the club swooping to tie the pair down to two-year deals after relegation from non-league football’s top tier was confirmed.

One To Watch:

Anthony Dudley

Dudley made himself known to Bradford supporters back in February 2018, netting a brace for Salford City in a 2-2 draw with Avenue at the Peninsula Stadium. The 21-year-old forward worked under Mark Bower during two loan spells with Guiseley, who he joined on a temporary basis from Bury after ascending the Shakers’ youth ranks. He also spent time with Macclesfield Town on loan before leaving Bury to join Salford City. Despite proving a handful for several defences in the National League North last season, he was allowed to leave after promotion was secured and joined Chester on a season-long loan. He was reunited with former bosses Morley and Johnson alongside fellow Salford defender Danny Livesey, who will be hoping for a recall this afternoon after being left out of the squad that drew with Guiseley last week.



Vanarama National League North – August Manager & Player Of The Month

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Jamie Vermiglio (Chorley)

Seven games in a month is never going to be easy. But Jamie Vermiglio and Chorley don’t do things by the book.

Not only did the Magpies finished August top of the table by five points – they did so in emphatic style – winning all seven of their games, conceding only once.

It’s an unbelievable opening month given the turbulent summer at Victory Park. Vermiglio had huge shoes to fill after the surprise resignation of Matt Jansen.

But it’s a challenge the 36-year-old was never going to shy away from. His intentions from the off were simple – win the league.

Amongst decent wins against York City, Nuneaton Borough, Blyth Spartans and Curzon Ashton, are hard fought victories against Guiseley and Hereford. But the stand out result was a 4-0 demolition of Southport.


Matt Stenson (Leamington)

This time last year, Leamington had lost six of their opening games in the month of August.

A year on and it’s a completely different story – fifth in the league with only one defeat to their name at the end of August, and things look to be on the up for the Brakes.

Their brilliant start is no small part down to the goals of striker Matt Stenson.

The 24-year-old has taken to the National League North like a duck to water since signing from Barwell in the summer and scored six goals throughout August.

Crucial goals against Boston United and Bradford (Park Avenue), as well as goals against Guiseley, FC United of Manchester and AFC Telford United caught the eye.


Anne Hall (Stockport County)

Anne Hall has won Volunteer of the Month for Stockport County in the Vanarama National League North.

There isn’t anything that Anne won’t do to help Stockport County.

A long-serving volunteer with the ‘Help The Hatters’ team of volunteers, she can be found during the season cleaning the changing rooms, referee’s room, showers, players’ lounge and boardroom.

Over the summer, Anne painted the Players & Officials’ entrance, the Boardroom and office corridors and the Directors’ Box, as well as the admin office, ready for the new campaign

The club are extremely grateful for the dedication and commitment Anne shows to them, as well as her sister Jan.


Chester F.C. Away Travel

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Due to a change in first team travel arrangements the club now have more spaces available on the coach for the trip to Chester. In addition to this the prices have been reduced to £10 for adults and £5 for under 16’s. Pick up times are 10:45 from the Horsfall Stadium and 11:00 from Cedar Court.

To book your seat please contact Neil Fawcett on 07811959003.


Chester F.C. Update

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The club can confirm following confirmation from Chester the game on Saturday will take place at the Swansway Stadium. Chester have been working hard over recent weeks to repair damage caused by storms and have now today been awarded a safety certificate in time for the game on Saturday.


Mark & Danny Donate To The New Players Fund For 2018-19 Season

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The club would like to announce what can only be described as an amazing and unique gesture by Mark (Bower) and Danny (Boshell). During their contract negotiations at the end of last season both suggested that they would like a portion of their salaries to be donated to the Players Fund. This amazing gesture shows the commitment that they are prepared to show to get results on the pitch.

The Chief Executive Rob Stanley stated ‘Mark and Danny’s gesture is fantastic and definitely the first time I have ever come across such generosity from managers. Last season the Players Fund definitely assisted the team to reach the Play-Offs and we owe a massive thanks to you, the fans, for all your contributions. We are now re-launching the Players Fund and all monies donated will be ring-fenced for Mark and his playing budget. We hope you that we can raise the same as last season to assist the lads.’

For those supporters and businesses that wish to donate this can be done on a regular monthly basis or one off donations. On our official website in the middle right hand side you will find the donate button, this takes you to PayPal and you can pay through any major card or use your PayPal account, and any donations received will go directly into the clubs bank account.

For more information please contact Jamie Sinclair or Dave Stordy on or call the club on 01274 674584. Donations can also now be made via card payment so you can make a donation on match days or pop into the club if you’re passing. Cheques can be made payable to Bradford (Park Avenue) FC and sent to the Horsfall Stadium, Cemetery Road, Bradford, BD6 2NG.

Don’t worry if you cannot afford a regular donation, we will have a bucket in the Club Shop at home games.

Thanks for all your amazing support and we all looking forward to a bright future for Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC


Let’s make it happen!


Academy Start The Season With A Bang

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Monday night away at Staveley Welfare Miners in the FA Youth Cup was the first competitive match for the boys. Being a U18s competition the 3rd years were not eligible to play, meaning a new look team came together. With minimal time and only a few short training sessions to prepare it was a monumental task for academy manager Alex Meechan to get the lads ready for the biggest game in academy history.

The FA youth cup is the biggest competition the lads have ever played in and the buzz in the group before the game was electric. All wanting to achieve and get through to that first qualifying round.

This match report has been collated from the views of the players themselves.

On a wet night in Staveley, BPA academy took on their biggest task yet, to reach the next round of the FA Youth Cup. Park Avenue came out in fiery spirits and quickly got themselves on the front foot. The midfield were dominant with the trio of Matthew Rowntree, Joe Leahy and Hassan Ali taking the game to Staveley. The first significant chance came when Tanvir Ali whipped the ball in from wide just zipping up and away from the outstretched Danny Bailey at the back post. 

Park Avenue remained dominant with the Staveley keeper making a number of fantastic saves to keep his team in the game. Staveley were struggling to contain Park Avenues front three’s pace on and off the ball. This quick forward play meant full backs could get involved and it was full back Tom Conlon who was brought down inside the penalty area to give BPA the penalty.

Matthew Rowntree, who is now well know to first team fans after being involved in most of pre season, stepped up. Matty kept his cool and riffled the ball into the left hand corner of the goal. 1-0 Park Avenue.

After this Staveley seemed to wake up and the game became a lot more even. The centre back pairing of Adam Whitrick and Captain, Harry Holmes were heroic and until a few minutes before half time had kept out the Staveley attack. However, after a catalogue of errors in midfield and an a fumble at the back Staveley popped up with the equaliser.

Half time came soon after with Avenue knowing they needed to get back to the way they played in the first 30 minutes. This was not a game the lads were going to throw away easily and you could see that in the way they started the Second Half. They came out fighting ready to retain the lead.

It didn’t take long for Avenue to get back on top. Tom Conlon, who had the game of his life, popped up with a lovely curled shot off his weaker foot from the edge of the box. The net rippled and off he went to celebrate. Shame the celebration was not of the same calibre as his goal!

Centre forward Jordan Botwood who had not stopped running then came up with Avenue’s third. Picking it up in the channel and turning he then cut inside and bent the ball into the bottom corner of the net. It was celebration time for Park Avenue once again. 

Staveley then had to come at Avenue, if they wanted to stay in the competition needing 3 quick goals. Avenue’s defence held tight though and with the pace up front meant they could counter on Staveley. After a fabulous header out of defence, Joe Ockerby picked the ball up on the left and was able to delivery into the box. Danny Bailey managed to readjust his feet and get up back heading the ball into the net mid jump. A great goal. 4-1 and Park Avenue looked set to be in the next round. 

Credit to Staveley they never gave up and brought some great saves out of Avenue keeper George Widdop. They got their second through a corner routine. Park Avenue seemed to switch off and this left the hole open, in strolled a Staveley player who then had a tap in front post. 

With ten minutes left it was a nervy affair but the Avenue lads rallied and defended as if their life’s depended on it. Their were crucial blocks made by both Adam Whitrick and Joe Leahy, with Harry Holmes making a perfectly timed last man tackle late on. 

The final whistle came and they had done it. It was a tough game and the lads had given it their all. They wore the shirt with passion and it was a proud day for all involved.

The next round will be played at home during the week commencing 17thSeptember.


Avenue Leave Broadhurst Park With A Point

FC United of Manchester secured a late draw against Bradford (Park Avenue) at Broadhurst Park.

The Avenue took a two-goal lead thanks to Shane Killock and Jake Beesley but the home side fought back and after an equaliser from Brodie Litchfield, FC United of Manchester equalised from the spot with Kurt Willoughby converting in the final minute.

The away side started well and dominated the game. Despite chances from Beesley and Oli Johnson being missed, Bradford took a deserved lead. From a corner, captain Killock found the back of the net from close range to the delight of the travelling supporters.

Ten minutes after the break, Mark Bower’s men doubled their lead in fortuitous circumstances. Good pressure from Beesley on the hosts defence and goalkeeper forced a bit of confusion and eventually the ball bounced favourably and nestled in the bottom corner.

But, it was the home side who came back into the game. Immediately after a substitution for Bradford, Litchfield capitalised by slotting home a loose ball which hit the post to halve their deficit.

Then, in the final minute, the home side were given the opportunity to equalise after a foul from Luca Havern inside the penalty area. Striker Willoughby stepped up and struck a low right-footed effort into the bottom corner.

FC United of Manchester: Crellin, Senior (Tattum 68), Logan (Crawford 75), O’Halloran, Ashworth, Lynch, Kay, Baird (Banister 55), Willoughby, Litchfield, Donohue

Subs not used: Simoes, Affleck

Yellow: Lynch

Scorers: Litchfield (61), Willoughby (pen 90)

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Ross, Clee, Branson, Killock, Havern, McKenna (Knight 61), Wroe, Beesley, Johnson (Lowe 68), Spencer (Boshell 74)

Subs not used: Nowakowski, Dawson

Scorers: Killock (21), Beesley (55)


FC United Away Travel

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The club are running a supporters coach to the FC United game on Sunday 2nd September. Current prices are set at £12 for adults & £8 for under 16’s. However if we can get another 10 fans to fill a 49 seat coach the prices will drop to £10 for adults and £5 for under 16’s. Please note prices will only drop if all 49 seats are sold. Pick up times are 12:00 from the Horsfall Stadium and 12:15 from Cedar Court.

To book your seat please contact Neil Fawcett on 07811959003.


Bradford Edge Past Boston

Bradford (Park Avenue) edged past Boston United to pick up their fifth win of the 2018/19 campaign. 

The opening stages provided little in the way of entertainment, and it seemed like the two sides were feeling each other out in the opening exchanges.

The game suddenly burst into life in the 14th minute, when the hosts were awarded a penalty.

Oli Johnson slid the ball into the path of an on-rushing Conor Branson, who had made a late surge into the box. Former Bradford defender Ryan Qualter brought Branson down, allowing Oli Johnson to step up and convert from 12-yards.

The goal breathed new life into Bradford but also lit a spark in Boston, creating a much more entertaining affair.

Pilgrims stopper George Willis had to vacate the six-yard box in order to thwart Jake Beesley, who slipped in behind the Boston defence but couldn’t reach the ball ahead of the visitors’ goalkeeper.

After Nicky Wroe felled Brad Abbott on the edge of the box, Jack Marriott was given the opportunity to test Bradford with a free-kick. His deflected shot fell at the feet of Jonny Margetts, who after losing his footing, knocked the ball towards a grateful Steven Drench.

Wroe then split open the Boston defence with an exquisite through ball, but Beesley dragged his effort wide.

The on-loan marksman makes a habit of being in the right place at the right time, and he was alert to meet Wroe’s deflected free-kick. However, with bodies surrounding him, he poked wide.

Boston’s Margetts found himself in a similar position moments later, as Nicky Walker’s free-kick found its way to him after cannoning off the crossbar. Luca Havern did well to edge the winger wide, causing him to fire into the side-netting.

The Pilgrims found the side-netting again barely a minute later as Jack Marriott accelerated away from Mark Ross but couldn’t finish.

On the stroke of half-time, a delivery from Lewis Knight caused chaos and both Beesley and Wroe had shots blocked.

HALF-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Boston United

The visitors were quick out of the blocks after the interval and Drench was forced to beat away a close-range header from Spencer Harris.

Bradford, however, almost caught Boston out with a swift counter-attack that resulted in Jamie Spencer coming close to doubling the hosts’ lead. Knight delivered from the right, but Spencer could only watch as his header clipped the post on its way wide.

Another quick break-away almost provided Bradford supporters with the second goal they craved, but Beesley fired wide after combining well with Johnson.

Veteran striker Craig Westcarr, formerly of Portsmouth and Walsall, was introduced on the hour mark and almost made an immediate impact. He spun away from Nicky Clee and drilled across the face of goal, but fellow substitute Cieron Keane failed to meet it.

As the hunt for an equaliser intensified, Bradford stopper Drench found himself being peppered with shots. The goalkeeper, however, is in a rich vein of form and continued to impress with saves to deny Walker and Andi Thanoj.

Keane and Westcarr had made Boston a much more dangerous attacking force following their introductions. The former nodded into the path of the latter but Westcarr blasted wide under pressure from Havern.

The Pilgrims seemingly ran out of steam as the final whistle approached and Bradford were successful in pinning the visitors in their own half for prolonged spells.

They eventually broke out of their own half and won a free-kick when Thanoj was tripped, but the midfielder’s chipped effort flew wide.

FULL-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Boston United

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Ross, Clee, Branson, Killock (c), Havern, Wroe, Knight (Nowakowski 74’), Beesley, Johnson (Toulson 82’), Spencer (Dawson 66’).

Unused substitutes: Atkinson, Boshell.

Boston United: Willis (c), Davies, Gough, Thanoj, Harris, Qualter, Wafula (Johnson 80’), Abbott, Marriott (Westcarr 61’), Margetts (Keane 61’), Walker.

Unused substitutes: Middleton, Lees.

Referee: Dean Hulme

Report: Tom Coates


Bradford Beat Bulls At Edgar Street

Bradford (Park Avenue) jumped to third in the National League North table after seeing off Hereford at Edgar Street.

It was Bradford’s fourth win in six games, and the West Yorkshire side swept aside the fancied hosts with another encouraging display.

Mark Bower made two changes from the side that held Stockport County, reinstating Nicky Wroe to the starting eleven and handing Lewis Knight his first start. Ben McKenna withdrew from the squad altogether with an injury and Chris Dawson had to settle for a place on the bench. In a formation that would infuriate kit number traditionalists, Wroe lined-up in central midfield despite sporting the number seven shirt and Knight operated on the right flank whilst wearing number eight.

The hosts started brightly, and Johnson had to make a crucial interception to prevent Mike McGrath’s pass reaching an on-rushing Harry White. Moments later, Lewis Knight had to blast clear as an advancing Jordan Liburd came close to connecting with a cross from the right.

White then nodded into the path of Eliot Richards, who arrived in the box unmarked but skewed wide.

The Bulls threatened again but once again failed to convert as Keyon Reffell failed to reach McGrath’s delivery ahead of Mark Ross.

The hosts had ventured forward on numerous occasions without troubling Steven Drench and the best opportunity of the opening twenty minutes fell to the visitors. Martin Horsell was forced to tip a powerful header from Oli Johnson over crossbar at point blank range and it proved to be the catalyst for a shift in momentum.

Wroe delivered from the right and found Conor Branson, who powered a header past Horsell in the Hereford goal.

McGrath sent a free-kick into the clutches of Drench barely a minute later as the hunt for an equaliser before the interval began. After Luca Havern challenged Jordan Lam strongly, the rebound fell to Danny Greenslade and the left-back forced Drench to push his thunderous effort wide.

Greenslade and Lam then combined well to release the former, but his cross was blocked by a back-tracking Johnson.

Greenslade accelerated down the left flank again as Hereford searched for the elusive equaliser and unleashed a vicious strike after cutting in, but was thwarted by Drench’s excellent save.

With half-time approaching, Jamie Spencer unleashed a thunderous effort of his own from around 30-yards out but watched as it whistled over the woodwork.

HALF-TIME: Hereford 0-1 Bradford (Park Avenue)

Johnson cut open Hereford’s defence within minutes of the restart. He threaded through to Jake Beesley, only for the forward to be dispossessed by a recovering Ryan Green before he could pull the trigger.

Hereford, however, broke quickly and Drench had to be alert to palm Harry White’s effort wide.

The lively Johnson was a persistent thorn in the Bulls’ side and became more dangerous as the second-half progressed. He skipped past Greenslade with ease and delivered from the left, but Beesley failed to wriggle away from Jordan Liburd and the opposition’s captain cleared.

Calvin Dinsley had been introduced before the half-time interval and found McGrath in space with an inch-perfect pass, only for the midfielder to lose his footing and allow Shane Killock to clear.

Branson almost scored his second headed goal of the game on the hour mark, but his powerful effort was tipped over the crossbar by Horsell.

Despite having a lead to protect, the visitors remained keen to pile bodies forward when in possession and continued to enjoy opportunites as the game entered its final 25 minutes.

Beesley escaped his marker to slip in behind the Bulls backline, but saw a drilled effort beaten away by Horsell.

Barely 30 seconds later, a goal was nearly gifted to Mark Bower’s side. Keiran Thomas’ tame back pass was latched on to by Beesley, but the loanee failed to maintain his composure and blazed over.

Danny Boshell was introduced in the 76th minute and after just three minutes on the pitch, he won a penalty for his side. McGrath clipped the veteran’s ankles, giving Johnson the opportunity to step up and convert from 12-yards. The Bradford man did just that, steering the ball past Horsell to double the visitors’ advantage.

An instant reply was required to give the hosts a chance of salvaging a point, but Jamie Bird sent a volley wide after the ball fell kindly for the substitute on the edge of the box.

McGrath tried his luck from a similar position, but saw his left-footed strike saved by a seemingly unstoppable Drench.

The stopper was eventually beaten, as White made no mistake from the penalty spot after Ross had collided with Bird.

Hereford rallied, but White’s low drive from the right-hand side of the box was beaten away by Drench and it proved to be the final opportunity of the game.

FULL-TIME: Hereford 1-2 Bradford (Park Avenue)

Hereford: Horsell, Thomas, Greenslade (L. Smith 64′), Murphy, Green, Liburd (c), Reffell (Dinsley 35′), Richards, White, McGrath, Lam (Bird 61′).

Unused substitutes: H. Smith, Mayebi.

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Ross, Clee, Branson, Killock (c), Havern, Wroe, Knight (Nowakowski 84′), Beesley, Johnson (Dawson 90+3′), Spencer (Boshell 76′)

Unused substitutes: Toulson, Atkinson.

Referee: Richard Gardner

Report: Tom Coates