Bradford Park Avenue manager Mark Bower was pleased with the professional and comfortable manner in which his side claimed victory at Curzon Ashton on Saturday.

Goals from James Knowles and Danny Boshell saw Avenue win for the first time since January 10, and claim their first three points without needing a last minute winner since early November.

Bradford went into the game after four losses from the last five, and the manager knew how important it was that his side tasted victory again.BradfordPA

“We definitely needed the win obviously after losing two games,” Bower said.

“We felt the two games we lost were games we should have won too, so it put the lads under a bit of pressure going to Curzon on Saturday.

“But they certainly didn’t show any of that, we played really well.

“Curzon are a bit of a different side to most teams in the league, so we had to set up slightly differently to make sure we exploited where we thought they would be weak, and it worked.

“Really we could have won the game a lot easier I thought.

“You look back at the last few games, their goalkeepers have had to work a lot harder than Spider has for us, and we’ve just not had that finishing touch.

“But on Saturday, we looked to have that bit more quality all round, we created more chances, took a couple of them and the only criticism really is that we didn’t take more and made it easier for ourselves.

“The games that we have won and played well in, we’ve just not done enough to make it easy for ourselves.

“But against Curzon it was different, we were comfortable and never felt in any danger having gone 2-1 up.

“The lads saw it through really well in the way they kept the ball and moved it into the corners later on is really professional.”

Boshell’s 71st minute strike capped a dominant second half display in which there looked to be only one winner, and Bower was pleased that he wasn’t left waiting until injury time for the winning goal.

“When you leave it to the last minute it can go either way,” the Avenue boss said.

“If you look at the games we have won, we’ve not actually spent a lot of time in the lead in matches over the last couple of months, so it felt a little different.

“That kind of performance, and the way we went about it in terms of playing football, creating chances, defending well when we are asked to and in the end seeing the game out, that’s the way you’re going to achieve long term success.

“With the personnel we’ve got, we’re now looking really strong going into the next couple of weeks.”

Striker Oli Johnson recently returned to the club on a permanent basis, and looked excellent on his return to action in an Avenue shirt.

“Oli is certainly a lot fitter than in his first spell with us,” Bower said.

“I thought he did OK when he was with us the first time around, but Saturday was just a display of what he is more than capable of.

“Hopefully now we can keep him at a good level of fitness, he played 91 minutes on Saturday and having not played much football recently, to still be working hard at that stage is really good to see.

“We’re really pleased with him and how he came through the match, and it’s good to see him with a smile on his face because when he’s in a mood like that, he can be a real asset to us.

“He gives everyone in the team a bit of a lift when they see things happening at that top end of the pitch that he creates, so long may that continue.

“And Oli can play a few different positions, he’s played at that focal point at the top of the team, but he’s more than capable of playing out wide or dropping in a bit deeper, and this weekend we might do something a bit different just to change things up.

“We did something specific in terms of selection for Curzon and that will probably be different for Gainsborough.”

There was a change of approach tactically for the trip to Tameside, with Nicky Boshell moving into a central berth, playing just off Johnson.

“Curzon had played a couple of midweek games recently so we’ve been to watch them a few times,” the Bradford boss explained.

“They tend to throw midfield players forward which can leave big gaps in between midfield and their back three, so I felt that two players who could go in and drop into the pockets were Oli and Nicky (Boshell).

“The two of them have played together quite a lot and are on a similar wave length, and we saw them link up quite well early on, getting themselves in good positions and they both should probably have finished better.

“There will be different requirements next week against Gainsborough though, and we will certainly approach that game in a different way in terms of formation and personnel.

The younger of the Boshell brothers went off injured in the first half however, as he was replaced by Luke Dean just 37 minutes in and the Avenue boss predicts a lengthy spell on the sidelines as a result.

“He went over on his ankle when he was taking a shot,” Bower said.

“It looked a bit of a sore one and he’s probably going to be missing for a while with it.

“He’ll see Tally at training on Tuesday night and we’ll just have to see how it has settled down.

“But it had swollen up quite a bit so it looks like we will have to do without him for the next couple of games at least.”

However there is some good news for Bower as defender Shane Killock looks set to return in next week’s huge match against Gainsborough at the Horsfall Stadium.

“For Shane, the match on Saturday just came slightly too early for him,” he said.

“He’s probably one of those players that needs a couple of training sessions under his belt to get back into the swing of things.

“He did plenty of running on Saturday and he’ll be able to join in fully with training this week and he’ll be available for selection at the weekend.”


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