Match Preview | Bradford (Park Avenue)


Venue: Horsfall Stadium, Bradford
Date: Saturday 19th January 2019
Kick Off: 3.00pm


Blyth Live

Adults – £12
Concessions – £9
Students – £7
Under 16’s – £2
By Stuart Dick

Blyth Spartans return to league action this Saturday with a relatively short trip to Bradford (Park Avenue).

Alun Armstrong’s side will be looking to continue their impressive 13-game unbeaten run that includes five wins and two draws away from hope. It’ll be a stern test for the Pride of Northumberland as they face off against high-flying BPA.

The hosts will face off against a much different Spartans side than they defeated at Croft Park 2-1 earlier this season, but Blyht will have to be at the races to avoid a defeat the ilk of last years 4-1 reverse at the Horsfall Stadium.

The Opposition:

Our hosts this Saturday’s sit second in the Vanarama National League North but have dropped off the pace at the top in recent week – Chorley stealing a six-point march on their title rivals.

The Avenue have lost their last three game with defeats against Stockport County, FC United of Manchester and Guiseley, the latter two at the Horsfall Stadium. All together they have won 13, drawn six and lost seven in the league this season, and will be hoping to return to form against Blyth.

The tale of the tape:

The sides will meet for the 15th time this Saturday, with Bradford (PA) shading the overall series with six wins to Spartans five, with three draws.

At the Horsfall Stadium Blyth’s record is dismal with four defeats and two draws in six outings, something Alun Armstrong will look to rectify.

The Manager:

Mark Bower, 38, was appointed Avenue manager in September 2016, and after an incredible turnaround which led to the club’s National League North safety, he was awarded with a new 18-month deal at the end of the 2016-17 season. Following a successful 2017-18 season in which he led the club to a 7th place finish and securing a playoff spot he was awarded with a further contract extension to the end of the 2020-21 season.

Bower had spent the last three years in charge at Avenue’s neighbours Guiseley, defeating all the odds to not only gain promotion to the National League, but also to avoid relegation from non-league’s top flight. Born in Bradford, the former centre-back spent the vast majority of his playing days across the city at Valley Parade, making a total of 254 appearances for Bradford City over his 12 years at the club.

The Key Man:

Mark Bower has secured the services of Salford City’s forward Jake Beesley on a season long loan.

Beesley who is the son of ex Sheffield United and Leeds United center back Paul Beesley, joined Salford in June 2017 and made 23 appearances last season before going on loan to fellow National League North side Boston United. Beesley has spent most of his career at Chesterfield where he made his league debut in November 2016 against Fleetwood Town.

The loanee has contributed 13-goals for the Avenue this term with three of those coming from the penalty spot.


Spartans Team News and Milestones:

Robert Dale will become the all-time Blyth Spartans leader in appearances if he gets on the pitch against Bradford (Park Avenue)

Michael Liddle is two games away from reaching 100 for Blyth Spartans

Posted by Stuart Dick