Two goals in as many minutes saw Bradford (Park Avenue) and Boston United draw at a rainy Horsfall Stadium.

The Avenue took the lead after an hour thanks to a Will Longbottom header before Jordan Thewlis equalised with his own header.

The Pilgrims enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening 45 minutes, forcing Avenue goalkeeper Dan Atkinson into a few decent saves.

Joe Leesley, on loan from Harrogate Town, caused problems down the Avenue’s right edge and it was his attempts on target that nearly broke the deadlock.

Firstly, a well-taken free-kick was pushed wide by Atkinson before the winger rose above Jordan Windass to nod a cross towards goal, which was expertly tipped wide by the Avenue’s goalkeeper.

With the Avenue struggling to win the battle in the middle of the park, and despite an optimistic handball appeal from Lewis Knight, Craig Elliott’s men continued to push forward. 

Jay Rollins used his pace to beat Ryan Toulson before pulling the ball back to Thewlis. The striker hit a first time effort that was well saved by Atkinson, and from the rebound, Jordan Burrows tried to place his shot but the ball was cleared off the line by the returning captain Luca Havern.

The Avenue offered more of an attacking threat in the second half but were dealt a huge blow when Toulson appeared to suffer a serious looking injury to his leg. The defender was stretched off and replaced by the returning Isaac Marriott, seeing Nicky Clee drop into the left-back position.

And then, Bradford took the lead. After watching Adam Nowakowski’s shot blocked by Scott Duxbury for a corner, Clee swung in a delivery which was nodded home by Longbottom from close range.

From the restart, the Pilgrims equalised, ending any celebrations from the home side. The Avenue failed to clear the danger in the corner and Leesley delivered a cross to Thewlis. The striker directed his header past Atkinson into the top corner.

Confident from levelling the score, the away side could’ve scored a vital second goal, but were denied by the sensational shot-stopping of Atkinson. 

After watching Luke Shiels’ close range effort, somehow, trickle wide of the post, the Avenue number one denied Thewlis from 14 yards with a stunning save with his feet.

Both managers made attacking substitutions to try and win the game and it was Bradford who finished strongly.

Longbottom, after scoring his first goal in Avenue colours, received a pass from Knight, who sprinted 30 yards down the right wing. After taking a touch, 20 yards from goal, he struck a low right-footed shot towards the bottom corner, but Ross Fitzsimons made a fine save to tip the ball wide.

Into added time, Mark Bower’s side continued to push forward and came close to snatching a dramatic winner. Following some excellent football, involving Clee, Regan Booty and substitute Oli Johnson, Marriott had the opportunity to win the game. But, the midfielder’s effort from 14 yards was saved by the Pilgrims number one. Seconds later, the referee blew his whistle to end an entertaining game in difficult conditions.

Bradford (Park Avenue): Atkinson, Ross, Toulson (Marriott 59), Booty, Havern, Windass, Longbottom, Nowakowski, Dockerty (Johnson 75), Knight, Clee

Subs not used: Sanyang, Fawcett, Hussain. 

Goal: Longbottom (66)

Boston United: Fitzsimons, Tootle, Duxbury, Platt (Green 17), Bird, Shiels, Thanoj,  Leesley (Dimaio 86), Burrow, Thewlis, Rollins (Preston 76)

Subs not used: Garner, Hawkridge

Goal: Thewlis (67)

Yellow: Tootle

Referee: Mike Barlow

Attendance: Behind-closed-doors