Bradford (Park Avenue) collect all three points in Mark Bower’s return to the Horsfall Stadium.
With a number of changes to the Avenue line-up, including a couple of familiar faces returning to Horsfall, positivity seemed to be instilled in the team right from the kick-off. Bradford had a number of early free kicks, most of which were well saved by Brandon Hall, the Hereford goalkeeper.
However, in the 9th minute Lewis Knight broke though before being brought down outside of the area by Hereford goalkeeper, Hall who was booked and there was another Bradford free kick to follow. The effort hit the wall and a scramble in the box lead to a chance for Adam Nowakowski who showed great composure to slot it low and under the left of keepers outstretched leg, giving Avenue the lead early on.
Both sides spent the next ten minutes trying to get the ball down and under possession, however neither could confidently retain the ball for a prolonged spell. In the 22nd minute Alex Hurst burst down the left wing and curled a fantastic cross into the back post where Lewis Knight was waiting to loop the ball over and around hall, finding the net to extend the Bradford lead to 2-0.
Hereford then started to grow into the game and following a series of corners found themselves with a chance for Tom Owen-Evans as he broke in behind the Avenue defence, only to be brought down by Green resulting in a penalty to Hereford. Tommy O’Sullivan stepped up to take the spot kick and dispatched it well past Joe Green, Avenue’s lead cut to 2-1, which it remained until the half time interval.
Within 5 minutes of the restart Avenue found themselves with a penalty of their own when Mitch Lund’s effort was well saved but Dan Sweeney was on the stop ready to score the rebound when he was dragged down. Sweeney took the penalty and slotted it low to the goalkeepers left, again extending Bradford’s lead to 2 goals, 3-1.
Just before the hour mark, a bouncing ball in Avenues box lead to a chance for Hereford and the scorer of their penalty, Tommy O’Sullivan, grabbed himself a brace, making it 3-2 after smashing in the loose ball.
With over half an hour left for Avenue to hold on to their lead they could not just sit back and had to push to extend their lead again. Sweeney had a couple of half chances, one coming from a long kick from Joe Green who provided great distribution all afternoon and was in fantastic form guarding his area.
After Hereford’s second goal they struggled to create another clear chance as Green and the Avenue defence held strong and dominated aerial balls in and around the area.
The sound of the referees full time whistle was greeted by ecstatic celebrations from the Avenue’s fans, a perfect way for Mark Bower to announce his return to the club.
Keith Lowe (C)
Lewis Knight (90’ for Iasiah Bazeley)
Germaine Agustien (70’ for Isaac Marriot)
Dan Sweeney (90’ for Andre Johnson)
Iasiah Bazeley (90’)
Isaac Marriot (70’)
Andre Johnson (90’)