Bradford Park Avenue 3-3 FC Halifax Town (Halifax win 5-3 on pens): Shaymen edge into next round of FA Trophy

FC Halifax Town will face former manager Billy Heath's Alfreton in the fourth round of the FA Trophy after beating Bradford Park Avenue on penalties.

By Tom Scargill
Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 9:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 9:56 pm
Bradford Park Avenue v FC Halifax Town

A topsy-turvy game finished 3-3 after normal time, before Town went through 5-3 on spot kicks.

Brad Dockerty's early lead was cancelled out by Jack Vale, and then Isaac Marriott twice put Avenue back in the lead, only for Luke Summerfield and Tom Bradbury to keep Halifax in it.

This season's road to Wembley, in the FA Trophy at least, certainly threatened to reach no further than West Yorkshire against a spirited Park Avenue side, but on balance, The Shaymen probably deserved to edge through.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

Park Avenue took a surprise early lead when a long ball over the top wasn't dealt with by Town's two defenders, giving Dockerty a chance to latch onto it, and the midfielder kept his cool to finish low under Sam Johnson.

It was like Kidderminster all over again.

After that, Town saw more of the ball, but Park Avenue were in their faces, closing them down and pressing aggressively.

Halifax had been caught cold, hardly a surprise given the freezing conditions, but didn't panic, and were level ten minutes later when Jack Senior's cross from the left was headed on target by Elliot Newby, and Vale, given a chance to impress up top in place of Billy Waters, was left with an easy finish after George Sykes-Kenworthy's save.

Town had steadied the ship after the hosts' early goal, and were in command of the contest, starting to work some decent patterns of play, with the home side struggling to impose themselves.

Park Avenue were disciplined and well-organised at the back but pretty much non-existent as an attacking threat.

Summerfield and Martin Woods, replacing Kian Spence and Kieran Green had a stranglehold on midfield, showing why they had started the season as the first choice pairing.

But the four in-front of them, which also included Harvey Gilmour in place of Matty Warburton, hadn't really done enough, hadn't really offered enough composure or creativity.

A lovely pass by Summerfield sent Tyrell Warren away down the right, and from his cross, Vale put his effort wide when well-placed.

It was a rare chance considering the amount of possession The Shaymen had.

The worst it looked like being at half-time was 1-1 though, until, from a throw-in down the right, a lovely move culminated in Marriott firing low past Johnson from inside the box.

Park Avenue had soaked up the pressure, and taken their chances, although Halifax must have been wondering how they were trailing.

Summerfield's shot was tipped behind a few minutes after half-time, but it was still too comfortable for Park Avenue, who were content to sit in and invite Halifax to break them down.

Pete Wild had seen enough ten minutes after the restart, sending on Waters for Jordan Slew.

And Waters did make a difference, his movement causing problems for the hosts.

After Town's best spell of pressure of the half, the ball broke to Summerfield 20 yards out, and his shot found the net, getting him a deserved goal.

Warburton also came on, and Town's attack started to look pepped-up, sharper and more incisive.

Town's corner count rose further, but Park Avenue remained resolute, and brought a save from Johnson through Dylan Mottley-Henry's shot, a reminder that they could yet win it.

Green made it a trio of big guns off the bench, but it still wasn't clicking.

Johnson was again called into action to deny Francis Maguire before a follow-up shot was blocked by Niall Maher.

Town were being made to work hard to stay in the game, never mind win it.

Park Avenue had again responded well to being pegged back, giving few chances away and offering a threat themselves.

The hosts had grown in confidence throughout the second-half, and having looked the likelier to score next, did so when Marriott's fine strike found the top corner from the edge of the box.

But, in echoes of Town's 3-3 draw at Gateshead when they went on to win the competition in 2016, Bradbury met a last-gasp free-kick into the Park Avenue box and headed Town level.

And Town made it five out of five in the penalty shoot-out, with Waters scoring the knock-out kick to send them through.

Bradford: Sykes-Kenworthy, Marriott, Havern, Ross, Clee, Windass, Mottley-Henry, Maguire, Richman (Odunston 25), Dockerty (Nowakowski 84), Jackson. Subs not used: Toulson, Saltmer, Lund, Rawson.

Scorers: Dockerty (4), Marriott (45, 90)

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 2

Corners: 3

Halifax: Johnson, Warren, Maher, Bradbury, Senior, Summerfield, Woods, Gilmour (Green 84), Newby, Slew (Waters 56), Vale (Warburton 60). Subs not used: Scott, Debrah, Benn, Spence

Scorers: Vale (14), Summerfield (60), Bradbury (90)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 11

Attendance: 866

Referee: Adam Herczeg

Town man of the match: Luke Summerfield. An encouraging display from the midfielder, who orchestrated many of Town's attacks.