A much improved Avenue battle back from a one goal deficit to notch their first point of the 2019/20 season.
Bradford Park Avenue made the 225 mile round trip to the Gateshead International Stadium in their fourth game of the 2019/20 season, the second of interim manager, Marcus Law’s regime, which saw the Avenue score their first goal and earn their first point of the season.
Bradford were determined to make a strong impact, which they did. French centre-back Nelson Digbeu came dangerously close to hitting the back of the net in only the 6th minute with a headed effort that was well saved by Brad James.
This attempt on goal only proved to spur on the home side who for the next fifteen minutes dominated the lion’s share of possession and attacking play.
In the 32nd minute Gateshead’s patience was rewarded, with JJ O’Donnell slipping past the static Bradford defence to poke in a low-crossed effort from Nicky Deverdics.
Refusing to accept defeat, the energetic visitors pulled themselves together and gave an inspiring performance until the half time whistle sounded.
Park Avenue emerged from the tunnel refreshed from the break to lay on the pressure. However they were initially unable to capitalise on the pressure due to some determined defending and a number of dangerous attacking runs being deemed offside.
However, the visitors finally got the reward. In the 59th minute Elliot Holmes crossed to the edge of the box, a perfectly weighted centre found Lewis Knight, who had no trouble firmly putting the bell into the top right corner to score Bradford’s opening goal of the season.
Lewis’s inspiring opening goal visibly increased the squad’s morale and confidence with Alex Hurst coming devastatingly close to putting Park Avenue ahead with a strike from 30 yards out, which took a deflection off a Gateshead defender and was frantically cleared.
Bradford’s attacking domination slowed to a halt going into the last 15 minutes of open play. Moran received a yellow card and Gateshead took advantage of the careful defending and proceeded to bombard Jack Bennett’s area with a litany of crosses that challenged the away side’s defensive resolve. However the young goalkeeper, (a product of American partner club Nebraska Bugeaters) on his League debut had a solid first outing.
Bradford successfully defended the scoreline until the 94th minute, where Greg Olley was taken out on the left flank with a late tackle from Ben Hedley. Bennett was called into action for the last time, athletically punching out the dangerous ball as it pierced the Bradford box.
Bradford (Park Avenue)
Jack Bennett (GK)
Referee: Paul Brown
Assistants: James Bancroft & Adam Nichol
Photo Credit: Charlie Waugh