Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Bradford Park Avenue come unstuck against bogey side again

 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 Bradford Park Avenue 2, FC United of Manchester 5 FC United of Manchester maintained their recent domination over Evo-Stik League rivals Bradford Park Avenue as they cruised to a comfortable Premier Division win at Horsfall Stadium.

Avenue directors and volunteers worked hard to get surface water off the pitch to ensure the game between the promotion rivals went ahead.

But it proved a thankless task as FC United closed to within a point of their sixth-placed hosts, who have a game in hand.

Quick-fire doubles in both halves gave the visitors victory by a landslide margin.

Avenue press officer Lewis Sale said: “In the first half we were unlucky because we were arguably the better team but defensive errors and lack of cutting edge cost us yet again.

“I think FC were on top in the second half but 5-2 flattered them. It is a big chance missed to take points off one of our promotion rivals once again by us.”

The first-half turning point came with ten minutes remaining. Having brought it back to 1-1 just after the half-hour mark, the visitors raced into a 3-1 lead with two goals in as many minutes.

A poor goalkick from John Lamb allowed FC United right back Paul Armstrong to lob in and then a slip by Avenue centre back James Riley gifted Mike Norton a chance to fire home.

That was in contrast to the beginning of the roses clash as Avenue had got off to a bright start, with Rob O’Brien and Michael Duckworth both going close before Adam Clayton headed a Jordan Deacey free-kick onto the bar.

Avenue did break the deadlock when Curtis Bernard slotted in after good work from Nathan Hotte.

But the 15th-minute opener was cancelled out by Nicky Platt’s thunderous 20-yard shot into the top corner in the 32nd minute.

Martin Drury went close with a cross-shot early in the second half but FC United countered with a Jake Cotterill free-kick that went just over.

Avenue boss John Deacey decided to ring the changes on the hour by making his first two substitutions. Billy Law came on for Richard Marshall and Matty James replaced goal-scorer Bernard.

Unfortunately for the home side it had a negative effect and within minutes the visitors had racked up an unassailable 5-1 lead.

Lamb misjudged an Adam Jones free-kick in the 62nd minute and the ball found its way over the line. Then five minutes later a cross into the area from Stephen Johnson cut out both home centre-backs and Matt Woffenden fired in.

With the game won, FC United made a double substitution as Richard Battersby and Matthew Tierney replaced Paul Armstrong and Daniel Grimshaw.

The hosts did pull one back when Hotte converted an 80th-minute corner from Deacey.

But as if to underline their superiority, FC United had the ball in the net again only to see the strike disallowed for offside.

10:19pm Monday 2nd January 2012 in Sport
By Ian Whiting