Match Report: Boston 2-1 Avenue

Bradford (Park Avenue) fell to a third successive defeat despite significant improvement away at in-form Boston.

Marcus Law’s men were the better side for much of the afternoon, defending admirably and creating the best chances, but two goals in two second half minutes led to an unfortunate defeat.

Brad Abbott and Jordan Thewlis capitalised to hand Boston their third win in four, substitute Brad Dockerty giving Avenue hope by pulling one back with six minutes to play, but the visitors just couldn’t find another goal to come away with what would have been a deserved point.

Bradford had the first opening of the match as they attempted to use the breakaway against their hosts, Isaac Marriott finding Alex Hurst who drove forward, but saw his shot from range comfortably saved by Peter Crook.

Avenue then had to throw one or two bodies on the line as the ball dropped following a Boston free-kick, but managed to break once more to create a hairy moment for the hosts.

The same pair combined and Hurst’s good run ended with his powerful cross just too far ahead of Lewis Knight.

Law’s men were struggling once more with discipline, Riccardo Calder booked early on before a poor Nelson Digbeu foul nearly cost them.

The referee was ready to give Avenue’s French defender a talking to, but the home side took the free-kick quickly and Brad Abbott sent a shot crashing wide of the near post.

Avenue were dealt a blow as Knight was forced off injured on the half-hour, but they should have gone ahead moments later on the end of a great move.

Calder, who had moved forward in the formation following Knight’s departure, drove into the box and cut back for Richard Cresswell, but the defender playing in attack skewed his shot when he should have scored.

The unusual number nine then had another chance after more good play between Hurst and Marriott saw the Huddersfield loanee get a good cross in which Cresswell met on the volley, but it deflected just wide of the near post.

Boston were being kept at bay by a sturdy Avenue defence, and the free-scoring side showed their frustration late in the first half, Tom Platt and Ainge firing high and wide from range.

The visitors continued to defend admirably into the second period, Ainge firing high and wide once more, but after a double substitution led to a dangerous spell, Boston took the lead.

Bradford had cleared three crosses in succession, but a high ball came in from Karl Byrne which Dominic Knowles headed down and Abbott arrived to finish into the bottom corner.

And moments later is was two as Avenue heads went down, Thewlis, one of those substitutes, picked up a loose ball and skipped past a challenge before finding Jack Bennett’s bottom corner.

Ainge had a real chance to seal the match, as he was allowed a free header from a corner, but he planted it firmly wide of the target.

With six minutes to play, Avenue brought themselves back into it.

Calder played an excellent deceptive ball over the top which was chased by Dockerty and fellow substitute Myron Gibbons, with the former left to simply touch the ball past Peter Crook and roll it into an empty net.

The goal caused a late rally from Avenue and Boston looked nervous, the hosts having to defend for their lives as Gibbons touched down for Hurst, but his shot couldn’t get through the crowd.

Bradford’s best chance late on came through the exceptional Calder, who took down a pass with a brilliant touch, working space for a shot which he fired just wide of the top corner from 20 yards.

In the end it wasn’t to be, but there were plenty of positives for Law’s men following a handful of disappointing performances.

Boston United: Crook, Byrne, Whittle, Thanoj (Adebayo-Smith 56), Ainge, Shiels (c), Platt, Abbott, Knowles (Green 69), Walker (Thewlis 56), Rollins

Subs not used: Willis, Jackson

Goals: Abbott (64), Thewlis (66)

Booked: Thanoj (53)

Bradford (Park Avenue): Bennett, Bazeley, Calder, Wood (c), Lund, Digbeu, Knight (Headley 31), Marriott, Cresswell (Gibbons 82), Hurst, Holmes (Dockerty 61)

Subs not used: None

Goal: Dockerty (84)

Booked: Calder (19), Cresswell (77), Marriott (78)

Referee: Scott Simpson

Attendance: 1,110 (47 visitors)

Words: Joe Cockburn
Image: John Rhodes