National North play off eliminator
Match report Vs Bradford Park AvenueVenue: AggboroughDate: 02-05-18Att: 2291 (away fans: 78)

02-05-18 - Report - Harriers 0 Bradford Park Avenue 2

And it’s another season in this Godforsaken league

Report: Phil Lench

The Harriers hopes of getting out of this damned league hit the buffers once again this evening when a battling performance still saw us lose this play off eliminator at home to Bradford Park Avenue. On Saturday they beat us by playing out of their skins against a weakened Harriers side and tonight they did exactly the same again against a much more stronger line up.

With our strongest side possible out it looked, on paper, as this would be our night and we would have been heading to Brackley Town this coming Sunday afternoon but it wasn’t to be. BPA took the chances given to them while we failed miserably in front of goal. In fact it’s hard to recall a single non routine save made by their keeper, Steven Drench. Our best clear cut chance of the evening came in a half chance for Joel Taylor that he sent wildly over the bar in panic.

It was a slow start for the Harriers that saw just a weak effort from James McQuilkin saved easily by Drench before a misplaced pass saw the ball fall into the path of Oli Johnson who fed it through to Adam Boyes, the scorer of the winning goal on Saturday, who calmly slotted the ball home on the angle. As four days ago the sprinkling of Bradford fans erupted in celebration as if they had already won the game.

We improved slightly following that goal but not by very much. Dan Bradley was wandering around looking for the ball, Declan Weeks was making basic errors while nothing McQuilkin tried seemed to come to anything. Poor Joel Taylor didn’t seem to know whether he was supposed to be defending or attacking and only Elton N’Gwatala seemed to be creating anything of worth. It was all very ominous.

It wasn’t until the final three minutes of the half that we seemed to wake up and Bradley had our first real effort on target but saw it pushed around the post by Drench for a corner and then Joe Ironside finally lost his marker to send a header towards goal but again it was easily saved. 

HT: 0 – 1

The second period started slightly better than the first one did and we tried to make more of an effort with our passing. N’Gwatala tried his luck from distance but his strike, although on target, was too soft and didn’t create any problems for the keeper. He repeated the move five minutes later and it almost led to a freak goal when, with the ball covered, Drench somehow let it slip and it shot up into the air and over the bar.

Even with the two chances for Elton we didn’t seem to be making any real headway and the game was crying out for Mr Emannuel Sonupè to take a bow.

On he came on the hour mark and immediately the difference was plain to see. He was actually running at the Bradford defence and scaring them witless – or words to that effect. He skipped past defender after defender and played some excellent balls into the area for someone to get on the end of. Problem was that BPA’s defence was still as solid as a rock and no one was getting a clear sight of goal.

That best chance of the game that Taylor missed came from yet another Sonupè ball into the area that saw boots flying to connect with it but it eventually found its way out to the edge of the area with Drench on the floor. Instead of rolling the ball into the back of the net Taylor opted to blast it and it landed in the car park. You can’t blame the kid too much though.

We continued to bombard the Bradford goal with chances, half chance and full chances but nothing was getting through. Plenty of minor time wasting was going on and you can’t blame them for that with a massive victory in their sights who could blame them. 

They could have sealed the win twice in the space of seconds following yet another Harriers attack that was thwarted and quickly played back into our half leaving our defenders struggling to regroup. First a shot from Frank Mulhern hit the left post and then the ball was sent goalwards again and this time the other post was struck when Adam Boyes’ fierce drive bounced off the woodwork much to the relief of the Harriers fans.

From that we surged forward once more with Sonupè leading the way and now with a forward line bolstered by the presence of George Waring who had earlier come on for Declan Weeks. Surely the Bradford defence would crumble soon with all that was being thrown at it but it held strong until suddenly another break away happened.

It was a case of back to the old ways for us as Bradford took the ball forward and we stood off further and further back. Oli Johnson had the ball at his feet and all he had to do was wait for a space big enough for him to shoot through and that’s just what happened. Stand off, stand off, stand off. Aim, fire, goal.

We visibly packed in playing knowing that we wouldn’t come back from this and if we had still been playing now – it’s twenty to twelve as I write this – we still wouldn’t have found the back of the net.

So we remain in this Godforsaken league for yet another season. Games against Alfreton, Guiseley, Curzon Ashton and possibly Bradford Park Avenue to look forward to again come August. And we can include Stockport County in that list too so it’s not all bad.

FT: 0 – 2

Goals for Bradford PA: Boyes 11, Johnson 79

The Harriers Online MotM is: Elton N’Gwatala

Talk about the game here and phone the Harriers Hotline on 01905 577 777 after the game too

Latest table and stats here

Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
B Hall        
L Vaughan        
Weeks   80  
McQuilkin   61  
A Brown        
Sonupè   61  
Waring   80  
Bradford Park Avenue Goals Subs Time Cards
Mulhern   85  
E Hall        
Vidal   85  
Mr Declan Bourne