Monday, November 26, 2007

Fans play part as Avenue dig deep

By Ian Whiting

FC United 3, Bradford Park Avenue 4

Avenue put daylight between themselves and one of their major rivals for promotion from UniBond Division One North with a superb victory in an incident-filled match at Gigg Lane.

The Coca-Cola League Two ground of Bury FC, which will be visited by the other Bradford side on the first Saturday of the new year, was a fitting venue for such a close-fought contest.

"It was a high-scoring game and I would have thought it was a very entertaining one for the big crowd," said Avenue boss Benny Phillips of the clash in front of 2,283 spectators, which equalled FC United's record this season.

"There was fantastic support from our fans, who really made themselves heard and contributed to a great atmosphere in the stadium. It was very enjoyable from my point of view.

"I was disappointed with their third goal because there was a foul on Tom Baker before they broke to get the penalty. It was a foul in the area, I'm not disputing that, but play should already have been stopped.

"We conceded two goals from set-pieces, which is unlike us, but take nothing away from FC United as they are a top-quality side."

Phillips, a former professional with Bury at Gigg Lane, added: "Ben Jones is going through an unfortunate little spell. He had a goal disallowed here and two in the last home game. He is certainly putting the effort in.

"Mike Moseley was fantastic in this game and Steve Connors was awesome but I wouldn't like to single anyone out because it was a real team performance."

Avenue got off to a wonderful start by taking a first-minute lead. Liam Flynn powered through to prevent a wayward pass going out of play and his cross was converted by a Moseley header.

The home side responded in some style and by the 16th minute they were 2-1 in front.

Their first came from a corner, central defender Adam Turner heading in, and Avenue keeper Jon Worsnop then made a fine save only to see Chris Baguley sweep the ball home.

Avenue were back level by the break after skipper Connors curled a low shot from distance into the bottom corner in the 38th minute - and the visitors got their noses back in front just after the hour mark.

Moseley was pushed over in the area by Turner and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, Darren Hockenhull stepping forward and making no mistake.

Just six minutes later Jones collected a Worsnop kick out and crossed for Moseley to add the fourth Avenue goal.

FC United hit back again just into stoppage time when former Avenue player Rory Patterson netted from their own penalty.

A ball into a packed area caused confusion and Avenue defender Matt Daly was singled out as the man who made the foul challenge.

That was just into the second minute of the four that were added and the home side, backed by their huge following from the terraces, ensured the visitors endured a tense ending.

6:07pm Sunday 25th November 2007