Record goes as Avenue end Saints’ unbeaten run on road

Luke Graham gave Brackley Town the early lead at Bradford Park Avenue
Luke Graham gave Brackley Town the early lead at Bradford Park Avenue

Brackley Town met with their first Vanarama National League North defeat on the road as Matt Hill struck the stoppage-time winner for Bradford Park Avenue.

That meant the last remaining unbeaten away record in the top seven divisions of English football was ended in Saturday’s defeat. Kevin Wilkin’s side boasted that record following Arsenal’s midweek defeat at Everton.

Saints’ remarkable record was sunk at a murky Bradford Park Avenue as their outstanding run of exciting, winning football ran out of steam conceding uncharacteristic late goals in both halves to go down to a narrow 2-1 defeat.

A below par performance had got off to a perfect start as Luke Graham pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area after Glenn Walker’s corner in just the second minute. But Park Avenue proved tough opponents belying their lowly league position and enjoyed the better of the first period.

Emile Sinclair went close as Saints were caught out by a counter-attack and only alert work by Gareth Dean thwarted Chris Sharp. Nicky Boshell’s effort was pushed over by Laurie Walker, in response Steve Diggin twice threatened on the right but Jon Worsnop’s goal was rarely in danger.

The hosts drew level on the stroke of halftime when substitute Tom Davie ran at the visitors’ defence and produced a fine finish into the bottom corner past Walker.

Despite the equaliser, Saints were better after the break exposing some shaky goalkeeping from Worsnop but they were unable to take advantage.

Worsnop dropped the ball from Shane Byrne’s corner and it was hacked away, Diggin’s volley flew too high, Worsnop pawed away Jimmy Armson’s effort and a rare foray forward by Glenn Walker from his full-back role earned another corner as it seemed Saints would find the breakthrough.

That chance came in the 89th minute but Byrne’s shot was ultimately blocked and the final word was left to Bradford. With five minutes of added-time to play both sides would probably have settled for a point apiece.

But a deep cross from the right saw former Sheffield United defender Hill rise to make the header and direct it past a stricken Walker to the joy of Park Avenue supporters who celebrated their side’s continued revival with a fourth win in five games.