1 - 0Full Time
Spennymoor’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end as they suffered a narrow defeat at Bradford Park Avenue.
Ben McKenna swept in from Oli Johnson’s low cross after 26 minutes on an evening of frustration for Jason Ainsley.
Mark Anderson and Shane Henry both had chances to equalise in the second half, but the home side came close themselves, striking the post on two separate occasions as the game neared its conclusion.
Ainsley handed a first competitive start for the club to Rob Atkinson in place of Kris Thackray, while Henry replaced Andrew Johnson on the left of midfield.
Action was at a premium in the opening stages of the encounter as both teams took time to settle into their stride, with Anderson’s tame shot the highlight of a dull first 15 minutes.
Glen Taylor, fresh from scoring twice last week, had a half chance three minutes later, but a Bradford defender got a decisive block to deny Moors an opener.
Avenue hit back immediately as the game began to open up, with Johnson racing to the bye-line before finding the onrushing McKenna, although his close effort would have been in vein after the linesman raised his flag for offside.
Moors failed to heed the warning sign, and less than ten minutes later, McKenna, a constant threat all evening, benefited from good work by Johnson.
After Henry had picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on the half way line, Bradford worked the ball out to Johnson, who squared his low cross to McKenna, and the winger forced the ball in despite the best efforts of Stephen Brogan on the line.
Connor Branson almost doubled the home side’s advantage, but Matt Gould did well to parry his low strike from the edge of the area wide of the post.
As Mark Bower’s side began to dominate proceedings, Moors were forced to ride a sustained period of pressure, and when Johnson drilled a cross to the far post, Jake Beesley was inches away from getting a critical touch.
With the game hurtling towards the break, Spennymoor came back into the contest and momentarily thought they were back on level terms, but former Avenue player Adam Boyes saw his header ruled out for offside.
With the words of Ainsley still fresh in their ears, Moors came out for the second half with renewed belief, forcing Drench into a series of saves, albeit comfortable ones.
The equaliser almost, and perhaps should have, arrived eight minutes after the interval. Boyes did well to cushion James Curtis’ long pass into the path of Anderson who found himself unmarked six yards out.
The midfielder couldn’t get the required contact on the ball and the chance went begging, but still Moors continued to create, and when Henry powered a header at goal from a corner, Drench pulled off a stunning save to maintain Avenue’s lead.
To their credit, Bradford weathered the storm and began to come back into the match, and following a series of substitutions, struck the post twice in quick succession.
First, McKenna found himself free on the edge of the six-yard area, but his goal bound strike was tipped onto the post by Gould.
Moments later, Branson picked up the ball in midfield and drove forward before his daisy cutter hit the outside of the woodwork.
Substitute Jake Hibbs had Spennymoor’s final chance, but his sweetly struck shot from outside the area was straight at Drench.
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