Bradford Park Avenue have continued to push their promotion chase to the final stage, with an 8-4 aggregate win over North Ferriby Town in the National League North Play-Off Semi-Final.
AVENUE POWER INTO PLAY-OFF FINAL
In terms of league performance, Bradford were one place behind North Ferriby as the season came to a close on 30th April. In the other Play-Off fixture, AFC Fylde played 5th placed Stockport County.
Both fixtures were played on the 4th of May for a Wednesday evening kick-off, a record attendance of 1,520, the highest for this season turned up at Horsfall Park to watch the First Leg of the Semi-Final. They were left delighted, though, as Adam Pepper, the 24-year-old attacking midfielder sprung into life with two goals and one assist.
Pepper opened the scoring in the 11th minute of the game. Matthew Fletcher squared the ball to his left to Pepper for the youngster to stroke home the opening goal past North Ferriby's Nicholson.
Adam's next goal was not far away, either, as the midfielder struck again in the 22nd minute with an absolute screamer from thirty yards out which sailed effortlessly over the keeper's head.
For the third, and final goal, Adam Pepper took a break from scoring to assist the league's top scorer Matthew Fletcher in the 23rd minute. The striker played the ball to Pepper on the halfway line before darting forward for Fletcher to complete the one-two on the edge of the box, polishing off the move with a near-post finish.
North Ferriby's Ryan Kendall scored what was only a consolation goal in the 68th minute as a cross came in from the left, making it an easy tap-in for the striker.
In the other fixture between Stockport and Fylde, it wasn't short of goals either, with Stockport leading 4-2 going into the Second Leg just three days after.
The away tie at North Ferriby's Grange Lane was a tale of two hat-tricks for the teams involved. Curtis Bateson grabbed three for North Ferriby, with left-winger Jack Hallahan also bagging three for Adam Chabukiani's men.
The goalscoring began as early as the sixth minute, as Hallahan attempted what seemed like a cross-cum-shot, the ball ricocheted off of the North Ferriby keeper before hitting the post, and then hitting the keeper and going into the net. 4-1 Bradford Park Avenue on aggregate, 1-0 in the match.
Ten minutes after, North Ferriby brought one back, with Bateson netting his first of three goals. The celebrations were short-lived on behalf of the home fans, as Jack Hallahan bagged a goal three minutes later to make it 2-1 (2-5 agg.)
Hallahan then took it upon himself to get on the scoresheet for the second time with another goal in the 34th minute of the match. Top scorer Matthew Fletcher then thought it was time for him to get involved with the goalscoring affairs, by adding to North Ferriby's misery just before half-time.
It was 4-1 (2-7 agg.) as the teams went in for the break.
As they came out though, it was just another barrage of attacks by Chabukiani's overloading style of play, as Bradford were awarded a penalty, which Jack Hallahan finished off his hat-trick with in the 49th minute, making it 1-5 (2-8 agg.)
Although all hope was lost in the North Ferriby camp, there was still time for Curtis Bateson to cap off his hat-trick as well with goals in the 51st and 57th minutes.
The Semi-Finals finished 8-4 in favour of Bradford Park Avenue, who will play Stockport County, who beat Fylde on aggregate 5-4. The match will take place at Horsfall Stadium due to Avenue
holding the higher seed in the league, meaning they have the home advantage on the 14th May.