Match Report: Bradford Park Avenue 0-1 Darlington

Syers strike sinks Avenue

Avenue suffered a 1-0 defeat to an in-form Darlington side, despite the Quakers being reduced to ten men in the latter stages.

Clearly satisfied with the convincing manner of Monday night’s rout of Gainsborough Trinity, Mark Bower named an unchanged squad for the visit of a Darlington side that hadn’t lost since the 10th of January.

Avenue started brightly and had opportunities to break the deadlock in the early stages. Wayne Brooksby drew an early stop from Aynsley Pears and Luca Havern leapt to meet a corner before clipping the crossbar with a powerful header.

The visitors grew in confidence as the game progressed and began to start asking questions of the Avenue backline. Havern was forced into making a crucial sliding interception to prevent Josh Gillies latching on to a Stephen Thompson through-ball shortly before Reece Styche rifled over with an audacious overhead kick.

Thompson was a persistent threat for the Quakers and came close to etching his name on the scoresheet with a low drive from distance.

The visitors emerged for the second-half with a quicker tempo than they had demonstrated previously, and a breakthrough seemed imminent. Styche squandered a golden opportunity to edge Darlington ahead when he bundled a Galbraith cross past the wrong side of the post.

They did, however, break the deadlock when the dangerous Thompson embarked on a mazy run down the right before pulling back to David Syers. The midfielder then steered past a helpless Drench to give Darlington a deserved lead.

The midfielder then came close to doubling his tally when he broke clear of his marker in the box, but he headed wide with only Drench to beat.

Avenue finally found themselves on the front foot for a brief spell as the final whistle approached, but Jamie Spencer’s tame effort couldn’t find the back of the net after Nicky Clee cut the ball back to the midfielder.

Frank Mulhern offered a spark in Avenue’s tiring frontline, with the forward’s introduction rejuvenating Mark Bower’s side in the final fifteen minutes.

Further hope was offered when Darlington’s Stephen Thompson saw red for a second bookable offence after a dive, but the visitors held on to seal an impressive victory.

Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Toulson (Mulhern 68’), Clee, Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Brooksby (Vidal 50’), Pybus (Nowakowski 76’), Boyes, Johnson, Spencer.

Unused substitutes: Hill, Smith.

Darlington: Pears, Trotman, O’Hanlon, Turnbull, Heaton, Galbraith, Gillies (Brown 84’), Wheatley, Styche (c) (Mills 89’), Syers, Thompson.

Unused substitutes: Scott, Bancroft, Saunders

Attendance: 773

Referee: David Underwood