Nuneaton Town 1 Bradford Park Avenue 0
Saturday 15th August, 2015
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News;
Nuneaton did not play the easy on the eye football that they produced in their opening two games of the campaign, but they got the job done, they got the three points and they ensured their 100 per cent start to the season continued.
The Boro were forced to dig deep at times, the last five minutes was testament to that, but as a new squad, an emerging talent, it was never going to be a case of 90 minutes of scintillating football after another.
What it is proving to be, though, is one win after another, as despite being below their best, the Boro still had more than enough to put Bradford to the sword – a fact that must leave Nuneaton manager Kevin Wilson delighted.
Early goals have been something of an early season habit for Nuneaton and it nearly happened again against Bradford.
The match was just 30 seconds old when the Boro came close to breaking the deadlock.
Aaron Williams was causing problems on the edge of the Avenue box, and his presence – coupled with some nervous defending – saw the ball cannon off the post and to the feet of Marlon Harewood.
The former Forest man was unlucky to see his chipped effort then land wide of the post.
That early chance did not herald the beginning of an end-to-end game, though, as the match soon petered out into a midfield dominated affair.
Neither keeper was really tested as the ball never really got through either defence.
It looked like it was going to be a game where either a mistake or something outrageous would unlock the door – it turned out to be the former.
James Reid has settled in quickly since joining Nuneaton and it was from his shot that the opener came, the ball took a massive deflection off Simon Ainge leaving keeper Jon Stewart with no chance.
Ainge would not have been happy with his role in the goal as it looked like the ball was sailing wide when he stuck a foot out and deflected it in.
On the balance of the few chances that had been created Nuneaton deserved their lead, but it was close to being cancelled out just before the break.
The only reason it wasn't was the poor finishing of Chib Chilaka, who when put through on goal, rolled the ball past the far post from the angle, not worrying Jordan Smith in the Boro goal.
Smith stayed unworried for most of the second half – despite Bradford being the team in ascendancy.
The visitors were the ones enjoying the lions' share of possession, but they were unable to make it count as Nuneaton were proving solid in defence.
In-fact it was the Boro who had the best chance to change the scoreline in the 80th minute as Aaron Williams could – and should – have put the game beyond Bradford.
The former Rushall man was well picked out in the box by Reid, but was unable to make it count, blazing the ball over the bar when he had space and time to find the target.
Bradford nearly made the home side pay for that late on – and if it was not for keeper Smith they would have.
The on-loan Nottingham Forest man made a great save with the minutes ticking down, throwing himself across goal to deny Chilaka from levelling things.
The save was impressive, but it was somehow outdone via the same combination deep into stoppage time as Smith managed to fingertip a curling effort from the same man over the bar, a shot that looked destined to bring the sides level right at the death.
It proved to be a match winning save as it ensured Nuneaton continued their 100 per cent start to life back in the National League North.
NUNEATON: J.Smith, Clifton (R.Smith 77), J.Keane, Maguire, Lane, Reid, Morgan, Chettle, Byrne (Dyer 85), Williams, Harewood (Duffy 68).
Subs not used: Canavan, C.Keane.
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE: Stewart, Pursehouse (Walshaw 82) Mather, Dean, Clayton, Ainge, P.Marshall, Schofield (Walker 67), Chilaka, Potts, King (R.Marshall 75).
Subs not used: Burgin, Carole.