Brakes 4 Bradford Park Avenue 3: Four-goal Brakes eventually get home

Two-goal hero Lee Moore looks to evade a challenge from Bradford Park Avenue's Johnny Lynch. Picture: Morris Troughton
Two-goal hero Lee Moore looks to evade a challenge from Bradford Park Avenue's Johnny Lynch. Picture: Morris Troughton

Brakes made it eight goals from their two festive home matches to ease their Conference North relegation fears, writes Paul Okey.

However, after having seen a two-goal first-half lead evaporate in the space of four minutes, Brakes fans were made to sweat on the three points when Avenue pulled it back to 4-3 with ten minutes remaining.

The outcome should not have been in doubt after a dominant opening 40 minutes from the hosts.

Just two minutes were on the clock when Lee Moore swept the ball in from close range following indecision in the Bradford box.

Chib Chilaka worked an opening for the visitors, but his shot was comfortable for Ross Atkins, who was restored to the starting line-up alongside Delroy Gordon after both missed the trip to Oxford.

Jamie Tank glanced a Stephan Morley free-kick narrowly wide of the post and with the dead-ball count mounting, the Leamington captain made the visitors pay.

Avenue keeper John Danby took an age to position his defenders on the edge of the box, but Morley picked his spot to perfection, driving the ball past the edge of the wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Morley was inches away from making it 3-0 with another free-kick, while Danny Newton shot straight at Danby after a neat ball into him from Jordan Goddard.

A Lee Moore cross was gathered at the second attempt by Danby under pressure from Danny Newton, with fans close to the incident claiming the ball had been carried over the line.

With Brakes in total control, the failure to award a goal seemed of little consequence.

However, less than 60 seconds later the match was back in the melting pot following a neat piece of skill from Chilaka, who turned Tank before prodding the ball under the body of Atkins.

A minute from half-time the sides were level.

Joe Colbeck and Fernando Moke were both prominent in a incisive move from Avenue which involved at least nine passes and finished with Chilaka sliding the ball home from close range.

As much as it was a hammer blow to the home side’s hopes, it was impossible not to admire the build-up which left Brakes chasing shadows.

Having allowed Avenue back into the game, Brakes suffered a further setback at the interval, with Tank unable to continue due to a hip flexor injury. Joe Magunda was moved back into the centre of defence alongside Gordon to combat the physicality of Chilaka, with Edwards introduced off the bench.

To their credit, Brakes showed no signs of feeling sorry for themselves and were back in front five minutes after the restart.

Newton showed great persistence to rob Avenue right-back Sam Patterson on the half-way line and he worked his way to the byline before laying the ball back for Moore to slot home his second of the game from close range.

Atkins safely pouched a Danny Frost effort, but it was a rare threat from the visitors.

Goddard rattled the crossbar with a superb effort from range, with the loose ball headed out for a corner from which James Fry produced a venomous strike which fizzed over the bar.

Shortly after, Brakes restored their two-goal cushion, with Patterson again at fault, this time losing possession to Lee Chilton. The ball was worked across to Goddard, who having being allowed time and space, picked his spot to curl the ball into the top corner from 25 yards.

Atkins was at full stretch to push away a deflected Chris Howarth effort but with little having been seen of Avenue in the second half, the most pressing threat to Leamington’s hopes of three points seemed to be the descending fog.

However, the visitors conjured up a scrappy goal in the 80th minute to give themselves hopes of salvaging an unlikely point, new signing Simon Ainge credited with it after Atkins had failed to gather a corner amid a mass of arms and legs.

Atkins was fit to resume after receiving treatment and it was his opposite number who was next into the action, superbly tipping over a vicious strike from the ever-willing Newton.

But despite almost six minutes of injury time, there was to be no second equaliser from Avenue, with their only threat a hooked effort from Lamin Colley which dropped into the grateful arms of Atkins.

brakes: Ross Atkins, James Mace, Stephan Morley, James Fry, Delroy Gordon, Jamie Tank (Jack Edwards, 46), Lee Chilton, Joe Magunda, Jordan Goddard, Lee Moore (Simon Forsdick, 90), Danny Newton. Subs not used: Aron Wint, Lewis Fenney.

Bradford Park Avenue: John Danby, Sam Patterson, Johnny Lynch, Jamie Price, Ryan Qualter, Simon Ainge, Joe Colbeck, Fernando Moke (Chris Howarth, 55), Chib Chilaka (Brad Barraclough, 71), Richard Marshall (Lamin Colley, 53), Danny Frost. Subs not used: Billy Priestley, Benny Igieheon.