Gloucester City kicked off their Vanarama North campaign with an absorbing six-goal draw against Bradford Park Avenue.\r\n\r\nA brace from striker Charlie Griffin and a simply wonderful free-kick by captain Billy Jones wasn’t enough as the Yorkshire side pegged back the Tigers on three separate occasions.\r\n\r\nPaul Walker’s lob with seven minutes remaining tied up the game after a Matty James header and Richard Marshall’s confident penalty to see both sides share the points.\r\n\r\nIn front of a bumper crowd at Whaddon Road and with six players making their competitive debuts for the club, City started with intent as Matt Groves flicked a header wide of the post.\r\n\r\nVeteran striker Griffin showed his class after four minutes, a bullet header after a teasing Adam Mann cross excellently saved by John Lamb.\r\n\r\nTwo more excellent opportunities fell the big forward’s way, an attempted chip that soared just over followed by another powerful header.\r\n\r\nThe visitor’s first chance was a big warning, Chib Chilaka’s deflected ball found its way into James’ path but Mike Green stood firm and denied the Bradford man one-on-one.\r\n\r\nDebutant Chris Jones, signed from Welsh champions The New Saints, looked to imprint his mark on the game with a stunning ball, however Griffin’s header was flicked over.\r\n\r\nFull back Grant Black found acres of space to drill an attempt at Green who struggled to flick it away from danger.\r\n\r\nGriffin’s persistence paid off handsomely in the 34th minute, latching onto a horrible back pass by Ryan Qualter the veteran tucked home the Tigers opening goal of the campaign.\r\n\r\nBradford hit back just before the break; Joe Colbeck’s fantastic delivery finding James free in the box to head home the equaliser.\r\n\r\nPark Avenue continued their upward momentum forcing Green into the two best saves of the match, firstly tipping over Walker’s long range effort followed by pushing Chilaka’s effort onto the woodwork.\r\n\r\nCity went ahead with Griffin drilling a penalty home after Chris Jones had been felled in the penalty area.\r\n\r\nThe Welsh winger almost supplied himself with a goal but his low drive fizzed inches wide followed by Sam Avery dancing through the Bradford defence to poke an effort that swerved just away from goal.\r\n\r\nThe game was tied with 15 minutes remaining, Marshall blasting home into the top corner after Matt Williams had dragged the leg of James in the box.\r\n\r\nThe lead only lasted three minutes as Billy Jones leathered a trademark free-kick into the bottom corner to restore City’s advantage; a stunning finish from the Football League veteran.\r\n\r\nBut it wasn’t to be an opening day win for Tim Harris’ men as Walker found space in the middle and lobbed calmly over Green for a third equaliser.\r\n\r\nMarshall had an attempt go perilously close deep into injury time as both teams remain undefeated after their first game.\r\n\r\nGloucester City: M. Green, S. Avery, B. Jones, S. Hamilton, M. Williams, A. Connolly, M. Richards, C. Jones (E. Chamberlain 70), C. Griffin, A. Mann (S. Wilson 77), M. Groves (T. Webb 81)\r\n\r\nSubs not used: M. Green, M. Preece\r\n\r\nGoals: Griffin 34, 57 (pen), Jones 79\r\n\r\nBradford Park Avenue: J.Lamb, G. Black, M. Drury, J. Rea (R. Marshall 64), R. Qualter, S. Mallory, J. Colbeck (S. Kerr 64), N. Hotte, C. Chilaka (D. Frost 67), M. James, P. Walker\r\n\r\nSubs not used: C. Howarth, J. Price\r\n\r\nGoals: James 43, Marshall (pen) 76, Walker 83\r\n\r\nAttendance: 537

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