Avenue set to host two play-off contenders as relegation threat worsens.
Bradford (Park Avenue) fans will be looking for a huge response from their side as the Green Army slipped into the relegation zone this week. Back-to-back defeats, including a disappointing 1-0 home loss to relegation rivals Blyth Spartans on Monday night opened the door for both Leamington and Boston United to take advantage of their midweek games in hand and leapfrog the Avenue in the league table.
For the second consecutive week, the Avenue will be taking part in a gruelling three-day double header, this time playing host to two sides who are currently occupying play-off spaces in the Vanarama National League North.
On Saturday, Bradford (Park Avenue) will welcome sixth-placed Chester FC to the Horsfall Community Stadium, a side who, with only five defeats to their name, have lost the joint fewest amount of games in the league this season. After what was a disappointing start to the season for this weekend’s visitors, The Seals will arrive at Bradford in impressive form, having lost just one of their previous 21 league matches.
One Chester player who has particularly thrived under the tutelage of manager Calum McIntyre is attacker Kurt Willoughby. Since signing from York City last summer, the centre forward has netted 15 times in 32 league appearances, averaging 0.48 goals per game.
Bradford (Park Avenue) have already been stung by Willoughby this term with the reverse fixture settled by his goal as the Green Army slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the Deva Stadium back in November. The Avenue defence will need to keep a disciplined eye on the Seals’ talisman if they are to secure a positive result this weekend.
Instead, the Avenue faithful will prefer to look back on this fixture from last season with fonder memories. Bradford last hosted Chester in January 2022 with Brad Dockerty’s early goal enough to secure a vital 1-0 victory for the hosts. Having already netted twice this month, Dockerty will no doubt be looking for a repeat of his heroics against Chester this Saturday.
A win for Bradford (Park Avenue) would be vital in their bid to avoid relegation, especially when considering the improvement in form of those around them who have also played fewer games. With the Avenue currently level on points with four other sides, a victory could see them rise as high as 18th place, whilst a defeat could be damaging enough to leave them second bottom on Saturday afternoon.
Just two days after the visit of Chester, Bradford (Park Avenue) will be welcoming Yorkshire rivals Scarborough Athletic to the Horsfall Community Stadium, a twice-rearranged fixture that originally fell foul to the cold weather in both mid-December and mid-January.
Despite occupying one of the playoff positions, Scarborough have struggled to string together a run of victories since the turn of the year, managing just three wins from their previous ten games. Bradford (Park Avenue) will also be looking to exploit the visitors’ leaky defence, with the Seadogs having conceded 50 goals in 33 games this season, the joint-fifth highest total in the National League North.
However, despite struggling to plug the gaps in defence, Scarborough have certainly not been shy in front of the opposition goal, their tally of 57 goals scored being second only behind fourth-placed Darlington. Scarborough manager Jonathan Greening (famously part of Manchester United’s treble winning squad in 1999) will look to call upon experienced forward Michael Coulson, who has averaged 0.49 goals per game this season with 13 in 31 appearances for the North Yorkshire side.
Bradford (Park Avenue) will still be wondering how they did not win the reverse fixture between these sides back in August. The Green Army were leading 2-0 at The Flamingo Land Stadium and looked set to secure what would have been their first win of the season, only for former Halifax Town forward Dom Tear to net two goals in the final five minutes to share the spoils.
Instead, Avenue fans of a certain age may choose to look back fondly on some of the other other competitive encounters between the two sides. In November 1959, Fourth Division Bradford (Park Avenue) thumped non-league Scarborough FC 6-1 in the FA Cup first round, and later met in the NPL between 1970 and 1974 on several occasions, they were eventually replaced by phoenix club Scarborough Athletic following dissolution in 2007.
Match Previews by Stephen Grimshaw (@sgsportswriter on Twitter)
Saturday 25th February – Bradford (Park Avenue) vs. Chester FC
Kick off: 3pm
Monday 27th February – Bradford (Park Avenue) vs Scarborough Athletic
Kick off: 7:45pm
Where To Find Us:
Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC, Horsfall Community Stadium, Cemetery Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD6 2NG
Directions By Car:
Leave the M62 at junction 26 and follow signs for the M606. Continue on the M606 to junction 3 and take the A6117 exit to Ring Road West. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit on to Rooley Lane / A6036 signposted Halifax. Pass the Odsal Stadium on the left hand side and at the next roundabout take the 3rd exit on to Halifax Road / A6036 signposted Halifax. After approximately one mile turn left down Cemetery Road immediately before the Kids Planet Children’s Nursery, and the ground is 150 yards on the left. We have a car park which will be signposted off Cemetery Road and parking charges may apply.
Directions By Train:
Bradford Interchange rail station is the nearest to the ground and trains operate on the Calder Valley Line timetable from Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Manchester, Preston and York.
From there you can catch the bus directly to the ground (details below):
Bradford Forster Square rail station There are regular services from Leeds (Leeds-Bradford Line timetable), Skipton (Airedale Line timetable) and Ilkley (Wharfedale Line timetable).
From Forster Square it is a 10 minute walk to Bradford Interchange bus station for a bus onwards to the stadium.
Directions By Bus:
From Bradford Interchange bus station bus services 681 and 682 and Halifax Bus Station bus services 508, 681 and 682.
These services stop at the Halifax Road Cemetery Road stop near to the stadium.
The turnstiles open around an hour and a half before kick off and are located at either end of the ground on Cemetery Road and Park Road. Matchday prices for league games are as follows:
Adult – £14
Concession – £10
Student – £5
Youth (12-17) – £3
Junior (under 12, must be accompanied by an adult) – £1