Bradford Park Avenue manager Mark Bower was furious with his side following defeat at bottom of the league Stalybridge Celtic.

Bower slammed a dismal performance as Celtic, who have netted less than a goal a game on average this term, slammed four past Bradford and had a catalogue of further chances as they completed the double over fifth-bottom Avenue.

“It was a shambolic performance,” Bower said.

“Defensively, we were absolutely all over the place, you just can’t describe how bad we were at the back.

“Against a team that has been struggling to score, we put in a performance like that, and we were lucky to get away with 4-3.

“I’ll stick up for the lads, I think in defeats we’ve had over the course of the season there have been positives to take from it, but we can take absolutely nothing from that.

“It was a shocking performance from start to finish, with very few bright spots in it. It’s brought us right back down to Earth.

“We could have sat down in the dressing room for hours and gone through that, but now we’ve got lots of things to work on and lots of things for us as a management team to think about in order to put it right for the weekend.”

Bower takes his side to fellow strugglers AFC Telford United on Saturday, but defeat at Bower Fold leaves Avenue three points behind their weekend opponents.

“It was the bonus game for us,” the manager said. “It was that game in hand over teams around us and it could have given us a little cushion.

“Had we won the game, would we be safe? No. Having lost the game, are we down? Obviously not.

“There’s still a lot to play for and the group of players we’ve got have shown a lot over the last couple of months, but Tuesday was a real rude awakening for everyone, me included.

“We’ve just got to learn some lessons, make some decisions and look to go down to Telford on Saturday and get a reaction from the players.

“The defensive performance we put in against Halifax last Saturday restricted them really well.

“Halifax, a team fifth in the league, came to us on Saturday and barely had a shot all game. We’ve then gone to Stalybridge just three days later and been absolutely all over the place.

“It’s difficult to put a finger on it, but it’s the same back four and the same two midfielders playing in front of them.

“It’s disappointing and that’s putting it mildly.”


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