Mulhern 81; Boyes 90+3
- Late brace seals a play-off place for Avenue
- Harriers had been ahead through Bradley's goal
- Mulhern equalised to set up tense finale
- 90+3 strike from Boyes wins the game at the death
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE struck twice late to seal a 2-1 win at Aggborough and seal a return to Worcestershire in the play-offs this coming Wednesday.
Harriers had been ahead through Dan Bradley's early goal but, in real scenes of drama, Avenue hit back twice in the last nine minutes through Mulhern and Boyes.
With Spennymoor coming from behind to win their game, Avenue knew they had to win to ensure they booked their place in the play-offs. They did so, and will come to Aggborough to see who makes it through to the semi-finals.
It was never going to be a dull affair - with just eight minutes gone both sides had struck the woodwork through Bradley and Wroe respectively, with Liam Truslove firing wide soon after.
The quarter-hour mark brought about the first goal and it was a fine effort - a great chip from Ngwatala freeing Bradley who beat the offside trap to fire the ball beyond Steven Drench.
Sonupé then shot wide before Mulhern then saw an effort blocked; Brandon Hall producing a superb save on the half-hour to thwart Johnson who looked to finish from close range.
Ngwatala shot over just before the break, before the lively Mulhern again tested Hall just after the restart. Just before the hour, Vaughan's bending shot needed to be well held, before Austin strode forward to also keep Drench alert.
Sonupé's drive was comfortable for Drench past the hour before sub Waring dragged a shot just wide - after which the visitors began to fashion together some chances and build momentum.
First, on 74 minutes, Wroe hit off target and and another reactive stop from Hall denied Johnson once more; Digie then getting in a crucial intervention to ensure Mulhern was thwarted once again.
The last ten minutes sealed Avenue's season extension - Mulhern getting his goal with a low finish into the bottom corner to level matters and, just after Ngwatala had nodded over, injury time saw the dramatic winner arrive as a loose ball wasn't dealt with - falling to Boyes who gleefully poked it into the back of an empty net with Hall tied already occupied.
On to Wednesday, then...
Bradford Park Avenue
FRASER HORSFALL hopes to be fit and ready to go against Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday – a game he knows will be a challenging final test of the regular season.
Avenue come to Aggborough at the weekend knowing they can seal a place in the play-offs with a victory over John Eustace’s men.
A draw or even a defeat might be enough for the Horsfall Stadium outfit – but they’d need results elsewhere to fall in their favour.
So, it’s a mighty challenge ahead for a Harriers team who already wrapped up their play-off place a number of weeks ago.
The reds will look to gather more momentum going into Wednesday night’s play-off eliminator match – which could end up being against Bradford – by picking up three points this coming Saturday.
With so much still to play for, then, it’s no wonder that Horsfall is eyeing a tricky afternoon at the office.
He told our YouTube channel: “It will be a tough game on Saturday – they are right up there.
“It’s a bit of a surprise one I think, but when we played them away they were a tough team to break down – a tough, physical team.
"...every game we play we know we need to perform." Fraser Horsfall
“Saturday should be a good test for us. They have a got a lot to play for, so I am sure they are going to come and put it right on us for the whole game.
“They’re an experienced squad… they’re hungry to get into the play-offs and that’s good for them.”
Harriers gave a start to strikers George Waring and Andre Brown at North Ferriby United last week.
Waring responded in style by grabbing a goal in the 3-1 victory, while Brown also performed well.
It’s a sign of the strong competition within the ranks, and Horsfall knows that everyone in the dressing room needs to keep up that high level of performance at such a crucial time.
“It’s always good to secure that play-off place, but every game we play we know we need to perform,” he added.
“We can’t dip in form as you might lose your shirt, so everyone is treating the game exactly the same, and we’ll see what happens.”
Horsfall himself is hopeful of being fit to feature this coming weekend after suffering an ankle injury at North Ferriby.
Dan Bradley (hamstring) has been missing for a couple of weeks, with James Pearson (knee) also struggling.
All three players will be assessed going into the game.
Kick-off at Aggborough is at 3:00pm on Saturday:
WATCH: Fraser Horsfall’s pre-match video interview in full courtesy of our YouTube channel by clicking the video tab.
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Fraser Horsfall pre-match