Easter double-header set for spirited Avenue.
Bradford (Park Avenue) face a nervous Easter weekend, knowing that they could be relegated from the Vanarama National League North on Monday if results don’t go their way.
First up for the Avenue on Good Friday is the visit of Southport to the Horsfall Community Stadium. The Green Army will be hosting the Sandgrounders fresh from earning a hard-fought point in a goalless draw at Curzon Ashton last Saturday, a performance that left manager Mark Bower proud of his side’s effort despite the desperate need for a win.
Southport will be making the trip to Bradford whilst occupying 15th place in the National League North, knowing that despite their eight-point cushion from the relegation places, there is still work to do to ensure their survival in the division for another year. With only one win in their previous six matches, and having lost their last two, the Sandgrounders will be keen to get back to winning ways and avoid a nervous finish to the season.
Southport manager Liam Watson will be hoping to have top scorer Jordan Archer fit for the season’s climax. The centre-forward took his league tally into double-figures in Tuesday’s loss at home to Banbury United, and has averaged 0.38 goals per game in this campaign.
Bradford (Park Avenue) will be eager to avenge the drubbing they received away to Southport earlier in the season. The Green Army went down 4-1 at Haig Avenue back in October in what was their tenth consecutive league game without a win at the start of the season. However, the loss at Southport did spark a revival in Avenue’s campaign and was followed by three wins on the bounce. The Avenue faithful will also feel that their side are long overdue a win over Friday’s opponents. Eight encounters have passed since their last victory against Southport, a 4-0 away thrashing back in December 2017.
There will be little time for rest and recuperation as Bradford (Park Avenue) will then travel to promotion-chasing Darlington on Easter Monday. The Quakers had been flying high earlier in the season but a recent run of four games without a victory has seen them slip to sixth in the league table, two points into the play-off positions albeit with a game in hand over the chasing pack.
Darlington have been particularly impressive in front of goal this season, their 68 goals scored bettered only by the league’s top two sides, AFC Fylde and Kings Lynn Town. Striker Jacob Hazel has proven to be an impressive signing after joining from Whitby Town last summer. The forward has netted 18 league goals this campaign and continues to be instrumental to Darlington’s promotion push. No doubt the Bradford-born Hazel will want to impress against a side from his hometown as he looks to become the National League North’s outright top scorer this season.
The reverse fixture between the two sides saw Darlington emerge victorious despite the Avenue taking an early lead courtesy of Jamie Spencer. The Quakers hero on that day was striker Mark Beck with a second half double. Beck’s 15 league goals in the first half of the season led to National League side Solihull Moors meeting his release clause in January. The loss of the influential Beck was surely a consideration for Darlington when securing a loan move for Avenue’s Jacob Blyth last month.
Bradford (Park Avenue) will be encouraged by their impressive record in recent years at Blackwell Meadows. The Green Army have been victorious on each of their previous three visits to Darlington, the most recent being a 2-1 victory in September 2021. The Avenue faithful will understand that it is vital for this record to continue if they are to maintain their survival bid into the final weeks of the season.
Match Previews by Stephen Grimshaw (@sgsportswriter on Twitter and Instagram)
Friday 7th April – Bradford (Park Avenue) vs. Southport
Kick off: 15:00
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 (with Valid ID)
Youth (12-17) – £3
Junior (under 12, must be accompanied by an adult) – £1
Monday 10th April – Darlington vs. Bradford (Park Avenue)
Kick off: 15:00
Getting there (taken from the Darlington club website):
Darlington Football Club, Blackwell Meadows, Grange Road, Darlington, DL1 5NR
PARKING ON SITE
Matchday car parking at Blackwell Meadows is available on a first-come-first-served basis, at £5.00 per car. Please allow a little additional time ahead of the match and at full time to exit the car park.
There are also a number of Blue Badges spaces available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of the match to reserve a Blue Badge space.
Alternatively, you may wish to us the numerous town centre car parks. Situated within 20-25 minutes stroll of Blackwell Meadows, charges will apply. Visit www.darlington.gov.uk for further information on locations and charges for parking.
We would like to urge all supporters who park their vehicles away from Blackwell Meadows, to park with respect and consideration for residents in the vicinity of the ground, to respect areas around the ground and not to park on verges.
FINDING US BY CAR
DIRECTIONS FROM THE SOUTH
- From the A1(M), take the junction 57 exit, A66 (M) towards Darlington and Durham Tees Valley Airport. Two miles on, at the roundabout at the end of motorway, take the first exit A66.
- Follow this for approx 400 yards to another roundabout. Take the 2nd exit.
- Exit A167 to Darlington. Blackwell Meadows is on your right after approx. 400 yards.
DIRECTIONS FROM THE WEST
- From the M6 North, take the A685 (junction 38) at Tebay, and then follow this road through Kirkby Stephen to the junction of the A66 at Brough.
- Turn right, and follow the A66 to Scotch Corner and the junction of the A1 (M)
- From the A1(M), take the junction 57 exit, A66 (M) towards Darlington and Durham Tees Valley Airport.
- At the roundabout at the end of motorway, take the first exit A66.
- Follow this for approx 400 yards to another roundabout. Take the 2nd exit A167 to Darlington. Blackwell Meadows is on your right after approx. 400 yards.
DIRECTIONS FROM THE NORTH
- From A1(M) junction 59, take the A167 towards the town centre.
- Follow the A167 for five miles along the ring road. After you have passed Sainsbury’s on your left hand side, you are now on Grange Road.
- The ground is approx three quarters of a mile after Sainsbury’s on your left hand side.
DIRECTIONS FROM THE EAST
- From the A19 in Middlesbrough, take the A66 signposted Darlington, and follow this road for approx 15 miles until you reach the junction with the A167.
- Take the fourth exit at the roundabout (signposted Darlington A167) and the ground is 400 yards on your right.
LOCAL PUBLIC TRANSPORT
There are six buses leaving Stand M outside the Town Hall in the hour leading up to kick-off on Saturday, three of which will call at Bank Top Station on the way. See the timetable below*. The standard adult fare is £1.70 and is free for those with a bus pass. The No. 12 is a through service from Middleton St. George – ideal for anyone living in the Yarm Road area.
The X26/X27 services run between Darlington and Catterick Garrison via Barton, Scotch Corner, Skeeby and Richmond, so this is also a useful service for our fans who live along this route. For a full timetable for these services please click here.
Private hire taxis are available from anywhere in the town for only £4 each way. So for four sharing that is only £2 each to the match and back.
Some companies can provide mini-buses. Typical fares for an 8-seater across town is £8 and £12 for a 16-seater. This is ideal for groups of fans that choose to meet at their local pub in advance of the game. You should allow an additional £2 for each additional pre-arranged pick-up point along the way. You are advised to book your taxi or mini-bus in advance and to agree the fare at that time.
Also please be aware that all drop-offs and collections will be on Grange Road. Only vehicles destined for the car parks will be allowed into the access to Blackwell Meadows.
Blackwell Meadows is within a 30 minute stroll for a significant proportion of Darlington residents.
A 1½ mile walking cordon from Blackwell Meadows extends as far west as Salutation Road, as far north as the junction between Carmel Road North and Abbey Road, part of Milbank Road, Woodland Road and across to Gladstone Street. The eastern boundary includes the whole of Park Lane, Neasham Road/Geneva Crescent area and the whole of Skerne Park.
If you’re planning to stop-off in town on the way for a drink, you need to be seeing those pints off by 2pm to ensure that you arrive at Blackwell Meadows in good time to avoid the queues at the turnstiles.
Blackwell Meadows is easily accessible by bike from southern and western parts of the town.
Match tickets can be purchased either in advance by clicking here or on the day at the turnstiles using either contactless debit/credit card or cash.
Adult (25-64) – £15 standing, £17 seating
Concession (18-24, 65+, registered disabled, student) – £11 standing, £13 seating
Junior (12-17) – £5 standing, £7 seating
Child (U12 + paying adult) – FREE