Bradford Park Avenue fell to defeat in their final pre-season match, losing 4-2 to Northern Premier League favourites Altricnham.

It was Avenue’s first defeat of the summer after four wins and five losses, and they looked set to hold their unbeaten record as Wayne Brooksby and Adam Boyes twice put the hosts into the lead, Jake Moult equalising from the penalty spot in the first half.

However Mark Bower’s men capitulated after Boyes’ goal, conceding three goals in less than 15 minutes as John Johnston, John Disney and Josh Amis sealed the victory for visiting Altrincham.

Bradford made a magnificent start as only seconds into the match, a poor backpass by Tom Hannigan let in Wayne Brooksby who made the score 1-0 almost immediately after kick-off.

Altrincham responded well, Josh Hancock seeing a shot from 30 yards easily saved by Steven Drench as Avenue looked to settle down.

Despite a decent response the visitors seemed to be nervous in defence, both centre-halves made early errors as Hannigan and Chris Lynch tried to make amends for earlier misdemeanours.

This time it was Lynch’s turn to make the error as he was dispossessed by Oli Johnson but his attempt to lob Tim Deasy was wayward.

Altrincham applied the pressure but were still unable to significantly trouble Drench’s goal and it was Avenue who came forward once more, the lively Johnson attempting to take on Hannigan but running the ball out of play.

Deasy was called into action moments later as captain Nicky Wroe struck from 25 yards, but the ex-Bradford stopper pulled off a good save to match the effort.

Johnston then smashed high and wide in a half chance for the visitors, the closest they had come since the opening few minutes of the game.

Minutes later, Jake Moult played a brilliant ball to Johnston on the wing, he crossed the ball for Jordan Hulme, whose header was flicked over as Altrincham looked to get back into the game.

With 10 minutes to go in the second half, both sides were playing some good football yet the score remained 1-0 to Avenue with no goalkeeper being tested significantly.

After good play between Nickys Clee and Wroe, the latter was laid off by the impressive Oli Johnson but his weak effort didn’t trouble Deasy.

Avenue offered their visitors a lifeline as James Knowles fouled Johnston on the stroke of half-time and gave a way a penalty which was duly driven home by Moult.

Alty started the second half sloppily as sloppily as the first, an error almost gifted Johnson a certain goal but Ben Harrison, off the bench, recovered well.

Goalscorer Brooksby then put in a cross not long after and the Altrincham defence got themselves in yet another mix-up, substitute goalkeeper Tony Thompson dropped a routine ball which allowed Boyes to tap into an empty net for 2-1.

A swift reply came from the visitors though as ex-Salford man Hulme turned fantastically then hit the post, the loose ball falling to Johnston and he smacked home to equalise the scores once more.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Altrincham took the lead. A shot from the edge of the box was spilled by Drench and Hulme made the score 3-2 allowing the visitors to hold the advantage for the first time.

Not long after that, Avenue conceded again as substitutes Tomali Omotola and Josh Amis combined before the latter volleyed the ball home from a few yards.

The game then fizzled out, with little chance for either side to do anything in the remaining minutes.

Next weekend, Bradford start their 2017-18 National League North campaign with a trip to Tamworth on Saturday 5 August before hosting Southport just two days later.

Bradford Park Avenue: Drench (Hall 82), Vidal (Trialist 77), Hill, Wroe (c), Havern, Knowles, Brooksby (Trialist 69), Trialist, Boyes, O.Johnson (Trialist 61), Clee (L.Johnson 77)

Goals: Brooksby (1), Boyes (52)

Altrincham: Deasy (Thompson 46), Disney (Taylor 59), Short (Disney 69), Hannigan (Harrison 46), Lynch (Jones 59), Moult (c, Omotola 59), Johnston (Amis 59), Sheridan, Hulme(Densmore 59), Poole (Johnston 69), Hancock (Peers 59)

Goals: Moult (44P), Johnston (53), Disney (56), Amis (65)

Referee: Mark Powell


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