In a crucial game for both teams, Bradford (Park Avenue) hosted AFC Fylde at the Horsfall Stadium in a match that would decide their respective fates. For Avenue, it was a last chance to avoid relegation, while Fylde also needed to secure all three points to confirm their promotion. The game started off with Avenue on the front foot, winning a corner within the first five minutes, but Fylde keeper Chris Neal claimed it comfortably.
However, it was Fylde who opened the scoring in the 36th minute through Nick Haughton, who scored a scrappy goal. Until that point, Bradford had looked strong, defending well and creating chances where possible, but the confidence gained from scoring the opener saw Fylde dominating the chances. The first half ended with Fylde leading 1-0, with Avenue having it all to do in the second half.
As the second half began, Avenue started creating chances, with La-Bastide crossing one over for Longbottom, which was called just offside, and Sam Fielding striking a powerful shot that flew over the bar. Will Lancaster also had a great chance, striking just inside the box, but Neal made the save. Despite the pressure, it was Fylde who scored the crucial second goal in the 65th minute, with Joe Rowley scoring a low shot to beat Avenue keeper Sykes-Kenworthy.
Avenue made changes in the second half, with Brad Dockerty coming on at half-time for Simon Richman, followed by Oli Johnson in the 69th minute for La-Bastide, and finally Zak Kersey coming on for Harrison Hopper.
However, it was too little too late, as Fylde’s defence held strong and the game ended with Avenue unable to find the back of the net.
The final whistle blew, and relegation was confirmed for Bradford (Park Avenue), while AFC Fylde celebrated on the pitch, securing their promotion.
While it was a disappointing end to the season for Bradford (Park Avenue), they can hold their heads high for taking the fight all the way to the last game in their bid to avoid relegation.
In the final stretch of the season, they were unbeaten in six games, including impressive wins against Southport, Banbury, and Alfreton.
Though they ultimately fell short in their quest to stay in the division, their spirited performances in the latter stages of the campaign will give them confidence as they prepare for life in the Northern Premier League next season.
You can watch the highlights on the link below.