A CROWD of nearly 200 saw a very entertaining game at a sun-drenched Dual Seal Stadium.
There was no disgrace in the scoreline against an excellent Avenue side, who if this performance is anything to go by, could take the Evo-Stik Premier League by storm this season.
Avenue made a dream start taking the lead after only four minutes through Rastrick-based former FC Halifax Town and Harrogate Town striker Richard Marshall, making the most of some hesitancy in the Town defence to lift the ball over the advancing keeper, Clark Lydon.
Avenue looked fit and strong and were passing the ball about confidently on the superbly prepared pitch.
Adam Clayton played a one-two with ex-Town star Nicky Boshell before firing inches over from 20 yards and Lydon had to get down quickly at the feet of Marshall as Avenue piled on the pressure.
Town’s first real threat came on 17 minutess when Wayne Crossley drove towards the box before laying the ball into the path of Dave Pemberton who was thwarted by an excellent covering tackle by Rob O’Brien.
The resulting corner was headed over by Steve Hollingworth.
Avenue were still on top however, Jake McEneaney made a great forward run from his left back position before shooting over and Marshall and Michael Duckworth both had similar long range efforts off-target.
O’Brien tried a clever chip-shot from the edge of the box that just cleared the crossbar and Matt Parker had to be on top form to make a last-ditch tackle to prevent Clayton scoring.
Town were hanging-on due to their hard work, but got their reward by forcing an equaliser on 31 minutes.
An excellent cross from Shane Hamilton was met superbly by Damien Gomersal who placed his header into the bottom corner of the net.
Town gained confidence and saw more of the ball, Danny Hull working tirelessly and pulling the strings in midfield and bringing Dave Woffenden and Crossley into the game
But Town were finding it difficult to break down an Avenue defence superbly marshalled by James Riley.
They had to work hard to keep up with the pace and movement of Avenue.
So it was bitterly disappointing when they conceded from a set-piece.
Boshell’s corner was met with a bullet header from Clayton to give Avenue a 2-1 lead at the break.
Unfortunately, Town failed to learn their lesson from the goal just before half-time, when they allowed Riley to head home from another corner after five minutes.
On 60 minutes Riley nearly scored an identical goal but this time his header just missed the target.
During the second period Town introduced all five of their substitutes; Ben Green, Matty Roy, Jacob Lever, Aidan Day and Antony Brown and they all brought much needed vigour on an energy sapping day.
The pace of the game dropped during the half and Town were able to gain more possession and show that Mick Couzens has assembled a group of players who are never going to “throw in the towel.”.
Town again produced some neat approach work but struggled to penetrate a disciplined Avenue defence.
Pemberton’s couple of curling free-kicks not quite finding their range were probably Town’s best moments in front of goal.
Avenue substitute Peter Knox fired in his side’s fourth goal on 78 minutes to complete the scoring for the impressive visitors in a thoroughly entertaining game that was played in good spirit.
There was also an excellent atmosphere in the ground with the large contingent of Avenue supporters.