Saturday afternoon represents massive time period in Bradford (Park Avenue)’s season as they welcome relegation rivals Curzon Ashton to the Horsfall Stadium.
After two games and two big victories against Chester and King’s Lynn over the last week, this game on Saturday now brings a different meaning than what it looked like two weeks ago.
After Avenue’s painful loss to Gloucester City just over a month ago left them 16 points from safety, the two victories in the two games since now mean they are 11 points from the drop, but they can reduce that to 8 with a win on the weekend.
It’s been an unbelievable week for Mark Bower’s side after a month off due to postponed fixtures. Firstly, they welcomed playoff chasing Chester to the Horsfall Stadium last week in a game not many thought they had a chance in — but the Avenue players and Avenue staff clearly had their own self belief as they were able to pull off a shock 2-1 win after goals from Tom Clare and Oli Johnson sandwiched a Matty Waters goal for Chester.
Then just three days later on a very cold and windy Tuesday night, Avenue made the long trip to Norfolk to take on Kings Lynn, who, with a win would’ve put themselves in first place in the league table.
They normally say the league table doesn’t lie, but on this occasion it did, as Bradford stunned the hosts, completing another shocking upset — two within three days — as a Tom Clare efforts gave the Green Army a 1-0 victory.
Meanwhile for Curzon Ashton, they currently occupy the final spot of safety in the league table, sitting in 20th place, 11 points above Avenue at the bottom of the table.
That’s what makes this clash so important for Bradford. A win and they are 8 points from safety with 9 games left which is very doable. However, a loss leaves them 14 points from safety with 9 games left which would pretty much make the huge results that the Avenue have picked up over the last week count for nought.
Despite the last two wins giving reasonable hope, it won’t be easy. Curzon Ashton are a very tough team to beat as they have proven in their last couple of games as they earned draws with York City and Boston United, who are both chasing promotion.
But if Avenue are to complete what would be a miraculous escape from relegation, this is simply a game that they have to win.