Match Report: Brackley Town 0-1 Bradford Park Avenue

Bradford Park Avenue climbed to eighth in the table after becoming the first team in the Vanarama National League North to do the double over high-fliers Brackley Town.

 Ryan Toulson unleashed a left-footed thunderbolt with ten minutes remaining to clinch a 1-0 victory over the promotion-chasing Saints.

Mark Bower made two changes to the side that beat Boston United, dropping Steven Drench to the substitutes bench in place of Ed Hall and fielding Ryan Toulson in central midfield in place of Danny Boshell. Avenue’s substitute bench featured Academy defender Lewis Johnson and young striker Bradley Oliver also travelled with the team.

Avenue flew out of the blocks and had a several opportunities to open the scoring early on. Toulson blazed over after a neat exchange between Nicky Wroe and Frank Mulhern provided him with the space to let fly.

Adam Boyes wriggled away from his marker in the box, only to fail to generate enough power in his shot to trouble Danny Lewis.

Wroe had no trouble in generating power with an effort of his own shortly after, hammering a volley goal wards before seeing it fly wide.

However, the hosts grew into the game and began asking questions of Avenue’s backline.

James Armson had a golden opportunity to fire Brackley ahead after being teed up by Matt Lowe but blasted over from close-range to the despair of home supporters.

Lowe provided an outlet for the Saints throughout, as did Lee Ndlovu who constantly looked to get in behind using his blistering pace. The forward’s composure, however, was lacking and he fired into the clutches of Hall after rounding Shane Killock.

As the interval approached, there was a lull in entertainment and the only incident of note in the latter stages was a confrontation between several players following a foul on Hall.

Brackley piled the pressure on Avenue after the half-time break, keen to gain the upper hand by striking first. Connor Franklin drilled across the box and his delivery came very close to finding Ndlovu, but Shane Killock hooked over his own crossbar to clear the danger.

Franklin then cut in from the left before pulling the trigger but was thwarted by the outstretched leg of Mark Ross.

Lowe was also denied by excellent Avenue defending, as a Luca Havern block lifted the Saints winger’s effort over the crossbar.

Hall was called into action to tip a powerful Armson volley over the crossbar, stunning Brackley fans behind the goal with his acrobatic stop.

Oli Johnson made his return from a three-match suspension to replace Mulhern as the clock ticked and made an instant impact with a crucial assist.

Wroe picked the substitute out with a diagonal delivery that the forward flicked into the path of an on-rushing Toulson. He darted into the box to latch on to it before hammering home with his left foot to give Mark Bower’s side the lead.

Despite a nervy final few minutes, Avenue held on and secured one of their most impressive wins of the season so far.

Brackley Town: Lewis, Myles, Franklin (Nicholson 74’), Byrne, Graham, Dean (c), Lowe, Armson, Ndlovu (Brown 82’), Williams (Iaciofano 78’), Walker.

Unused substitutes: Streete, Diggin.

Bradford Park Avenue: Hall, Ross, Hill, Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Brooksby (Recizac 90+1’), Toulson, Boyes, Spencer, Mulhern (Johnson 71’).

Unused substitutes: Johnson, Drench, Boshell.

Referee: Rob Massey-Ellis

Attendance: 290