Six unbeaten for the Avenue after late equaliser secures vital point.
Bradford (Park Avenue) came from behind with a stoppage time equaliser from Jordan Preston to earn a 1-1 draw in what was at times an ill-tempered affair with Kettering Town on Saturday.
The Avenue came into the game on the back of a five game unbeaten run in the Vanarama National League North, but it was the visitors who struck first. Kettering made their early pressure count on 26 minutes when George Forsyth rounded off a well-worked corner as his effort looped over Avenue keeper Sykes-Kenworthy and into the goal.
Undeterred by the early setback, the Kettering opener seemed to act as a wakeup call for the Avenue with Will Longbottom’s fierce strike glancing the crossbar just minutes later.
As the first half wore on, Bradford (Park Avenue) continued to forge their way back into the game but tempers soon began to flare towards the end of the half. On the brink of halftime, the lively Longbottom found his name in the referee’s book after reacting angrily to a reckless Kettering challenge, and with seconds remaining of the first half, a melee ensued in the Kettering penalty area after a goalmouth scramble. Having consulted both of his on-field assistants, the referee adjudged Kettering goalkeeper Cameron Gregory to have lashed out at Avenue’s Jamie Spencer and brandished a red to the stopper, leaving Kettering Town to play the rest of the game with ten men and an outfield player (goal scorer George Forsyth) in goal.
However, despite their one man advantage Bradford (Park Avenue) struggled to break down the opposition’s resolute defence. Twice Avenue smashed the woodwork, and in the aftermath of the latter effort, half time substitute Harrison Hopper was brought down when challenging for the rebound. A penalty against an outfield player between the sticks seemed the perfect opportunity to net an equaliser, but Jacob Blyth’s spot kick was sent high over the crossbar, much to the frustration of the home crowd.
Various stoppages of play during the second half meant that a hefty eight minutes of added time was signalled by the fourth official, although Bradford boss Mark Bower was aggrieved in his post-match interview that more time was not given. The home support were convinced that it just was not their day as the Avenue once again rattled the woodwork, but five minutes into stoppage time Bradford’s pressure paid off when Jordan Preston took aim from the edge of the penalty area and found the bottom corner of the net through a sea of red shirts.
Not content with the point, Bradford (Park Avenue) pushed on for a winner in the few minutes that remained but it was to no avail as the referee blew for full time. Bower expressed his disappointment with the draw and the missed opportunities in the second half, accepting that his side had created “numerous good openings with efforts on goal missing the target”. Reflecting on his side running out of time, Bower admitted, “we got the goal too late I think, if we get the goal ten or fifteen minutes earlier I think we go on and win it comfortably”.
The result leaves Bradford (Park Avenue) 17th in the Vanarama National League North, three points ahead of Kettering Town who still occupy the final relegation spot in 21st. Next up for the Avenue is a trip to Spennymoor Town this Saturday 14th Jan, who are currently four games without defeat. The Green Army will be hoping to stretch their own unbeaten run to seven games and avenge the 1-0 defeat inflicted upon them in the reverse fixture back in August.
Watch the highlights from the match below!
FULL TIME: BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 1 – 1 KETTERING TOWN
(26’) GOAL Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-1 Kettering Town – George Forsyth
(45+3’) RED CARD – Kettering Town – Cameron Gregory
(90+5’) GOAL – Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-1 Kettering Town – Jordan Preston
Attendance – 415
Writer: Stephen Grimshaw
Our next home game is our rescheduled match vs Scarborough Athletic! The match will take place on 16th January with a 7:45pm KO.