Avenue hit for five at Gloucester.
Bradford (Park Avenue) fell to a heavy 5-1 defeat at Gloucester City on Saturday afternoon, a second loss in successive games as their winless run extends to eight matches.
The game got off to the worst possible start for the Avenue who found themselves a goal behind inside two minutes as Dominic McHale calmly slotted a right-footed effort beyond George Sykes-Kenworthy into the bottom corner.
The Green Army responded well and quickly went in search of an equaliser, but less than ten minutes later Gloucester had doubled their lead, McHale this time turning provider as his well-weighted cross from a free kick was nodded in by Kennedy Digie.
Once again, Bradford (Park Avenue) were not to be deterred, and on the quarter of an hour mark Brad Dockerty latched on to a perfectly timed cross from Lucas Odunston to half the deficit. The score remained the same until half time in what was a back-and-forth 45 minutes that saw both sides trying to seize the initiative and add to their respective tallies.
Despite a promising end to the half, Bradford (Park Avenue) started the second half in similar frustrating fashion to the first as they gave away a penalty within two minutes of the restart. Temitope Obadeyi powered his spot-kick beyond Sykes-Kenworthy to double Gloucester’s lead once again.
As the second half wore on the Avenue continued to try to find a way back into the game, stringing together some promising passing moves. However, clear-cut chances were at a minimum and with little over twenty minutes remaining, the hosts once again caught the visitors cold as McHale doubled his assist tally for the afternoon, calmly squaring for Kieran Phillips to tap in with the goal at his mercy. McHale compounded Avenue’s misery on 75 minutes, rounding off a fine performance by adding his second, and Gloucester’s fifth, of the afternoon.
After the game, Avenue boss Mark Bower acknowledged the damage inflicted by defensive mistakes throughout the game with “four or five errors leading up to the first goal”. Bower also shared his concern over his side’s growing injury list, adding “we lost Reece Staunton injured which is a blow, with the likes of Blythy (Blyth), OJ (Johnson), Jordan Preston out, Spenner (Spencer) and Lundy (Lund) not a hundred per cent fit yet, we are thin”.
Nonetheless, Bower did look to the positives, taking particular satisfaction with the response to going two goals behind. “We got to grips with our shape against theirs; we moved the ball quite well and scored a good goal”. The Avenue manager also was keen to point out the battling nature of his side since the early months of the season, adding, “that’s the first game we’ve lost by more than one goal since early October. The lads compete well and have been in games. It hasn’t felt like this on the side-lines for quite a while”.
The result has seen Bradford (Park Avenue) slip to 19th in the Vanarama National League North, but the Green Army remain three points clear of the relegation zone, albeit having played more games than the sides below. This only adds to the importance of Avenue’s next fixture as they prepare to welcome Leamington to the Horsfall Community Stadium this Saturday. The visitors sit one point and one place below Bradford with three games in hand, meaning a win is vital for the Green Army’s efforts to re-climb the table and stave off relegation as the season continues.
FULL TIME: GLOUCESTER CITY 5-1 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
(2’) GOAL – Gloucester City 1-0 Bradford (Park Avenue) – Dominic McHale
(13’) GOAL – Gloucester City 2-0 Bradford (Park Avenue) – Kennedy Digie
(15’) GOAL – Gloucester City 2-1 Bradford (Park Avenue) – Brad Dockerty
(49’ pen) GOAL – Gloucester City 3-1 Bradford (Park Avenue) – Temitope Obadeyi
(69’) GOAL – Gloucester City 4-1 Bradford (Park Avenue) – Kieran Phillips
(75’) GOAL – Gloucester City 5-1 Bradford (Park Avenue) – Dominic McHale
Writer: Stephen Grimshaw (@sgsportswriter on Twitter)