Match Report | Blyth Spartans 1-1 Bradford (Park Avenue) | Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round | 2023/24

Graham Fenton’s side were pegged back to a 1-1 draw by Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday afternoon at Croft Park forcing a second qualifying round replay at the Horsfall Stadium on Monday evening.

Jack Bodenham broke the deadlock on 22 minutes with a sumptuous left-footed finish, however, Harry Colville would ultimately have the final say in the Emirates FA Cup clash as he looped an effort over Alex Mitchell with less than 10 minutes on the clock to take the tie back to West Yorkshire.

JJ Hooper made his first start since returning from injury and coming off the bench to score away against Chester last weekend, Joe Oliver made his first start for the Club and there was a place among the substitutes for under-19s player Oscar Hartley too.

Spartans kickstarted the first half with the intention of getting on the front foot, seeing Will McGowan’s involvement be instrumental in carving out two attacks in the opening 10 minutes which unfortunately, led to no real threat on George Skyes-Kenworthy’s goal.

The visitors were enforced into an early change as Jak Whiting had to be withdrawn due to injury for Lewis Hey on 13 minutes. 

Just after 22 minutes on the clock, persistent work from Elliot Forbes on the right flank saw him breeze past Will Lancaster to deliver an enticing cross; the ball bundled around the penalty area, causing a scramble before Jack Bodenham struck a venomous effort into the bottom left corner past the helpless Sykes-Kenworthy to break the deadlock.

On the half-hour mark, JJ Hooper was presented with an excellent opportunity to fire a header on target from close range. However, he rose just under Michael Liddle’s in-swinging cross and could only divert his attempt just over the crossbar.

Will Longbottom was set beyond the defensive line of Spartans on 34 minutes and forced Alex Mitchell into a terrific point-blank save to push the ball out for a corner. 

From the resulting set-piece, the ball trickled out to the edge of the box where Jordan Preston was waiting to fire an effort on goal, but the shot fell narrowly wide. 

On 39 minutes, Cedric Main was set to the byline by McGowan, he seamlessly combined with a swift pass back to Hooper who advanced onto the ball and steered a strike inches wide of the far corner.

As half-time neared, Main once again took up a similar position on the left and drove into the penalty area with purpose following Jordan Hickey’s quick free-kick, he created a yard of space to unleash a strike, however, the eventual effort blazed over the crossbar.

Half-time: Blyth Spartans 1-0 Bradford (Park Avenue)

A flowing move inside the first two minutes of the second half found Main who, unfortunately, couldn’t connect cleanly with his strike, seeing the ball spiral out of play.

On 55 minutes, Hickey’s chipped cross from the left byline towards the back post was crying out for a Spartans player to attack, however, the timing of JJ O’Donnell and Hooper’s run evaded the inviting set-up. 

The first dangerous attempt of the second half for Park Avenue saw Brad Dockerty ripple the side netting from an acute angle in the penalty area just two minutes later.

Just after the hour mark, Main stroked a lofted effort agonisingly wide the top right-hand corner, before he utilised his pace to beat Lucas Odunston to advance on goal and fire a powerful strike over the crossbar. 

Approaching the final 20 minutes, the momentum switched in favour of the visitors. Mitchell struggled to grasp a cross under pressure before making a sharp low save to deny Preston before he had to be alert again at his near post to keep out the Park Avenue number 10 once more moment later. 

Preston was making his presence known in the penalty area, and on 74 minutes he glanced a header from close range off the post having latched onto Harry Colville’s cross. 

On 82 minutes, Park Avenue got their reward, albeit in unconventional fashion as a first-time cross-cum-shot from Colville looped over Mitchell from 35-yards on the right-hand side to level the scoreline. 

With the tie concluding, both Main and substitute Harry Arnison had golden chances to test Sykes-Kenworthy as they both combined with one another, however, they both failed to hit the target and the encounter finished all square – forcing a replay on Monday evening at the Horsfall Stadium. 

Full-time: Blyth Spartans 1-1 Bradford (Park Avenue) 

Blyth Spartans | Alex Mitchell, Joe Oliver, Finn Cousin-Dawson, Jack Bodenham, Michael Liddle, Elliot Forbes, Jordan Hickey (Harry Arnison, 79′), Will McGowan, JJ O’Donnell, Cedric Main, JJ Hooper.

Subs not used | Harrison Clark, Charlie Aitken, Jon Shaw, Michael Hogan and Oscar Hartley.

Goals | Jack Bodenham 22′

Bradford (Park Avenue) | George Sykes-Kenworthy, Lucas Odunston, Jak Whiting (Lewis Hey, 13′), Mitch Lund, Gianluca Havern (Oli Johnson, 80′), Will Lancaster, Harry Colville, Jamie Spencer (Chinedu Osadebe, 60′), Brad Dockerty, Jordan Preston, Will Longbottom.

Subs not used | Zak Kersey, Danny King and Joel Auty.

Goals | Harry Colville 82′

Referee | Elliott Swallow

Attendance | 699

Blyth SpartansStatsBradford (Park Avenue)
2Shots on target4
3Shots blocked1
10Fouls committed6
2Yellow cards1
0Red cards0
Stats by Freddie Chandler
Graham Fenton’s post-match assessment of the 1-1 draw against Bradford (Park Avenue)

Posted by BSAFC Media Team