Adam Yates reports from a frozen Horsfall Stadium as Marine made it two wins in 72 hours with a deserved 3-1 victory against Bradford (Park Avenue).

A brace from Finlay Sinclair Smith and another early goal by Bobby Grant gave Bradford too much to do as they fight their own battles at the opposite end of the table.

The bout was fought in sub zero conditions (rescheduled from last year when it was originally called off due to high winds). This time, the game went ahead but the temperature was unsettling for all involved, fans and players alike.

Bobby Grant scored on his debut within 4 mins against Stafford. He had to wait until the 7th minute this time around and it came from a long throw by Matty Waters whose effort reached Josh Wardle who flicked it onto the head of Grant for the Marine lead.

Bradford PA improved immensely after going down and ultimately had the better half possession wise. Lucas Odunston and Harry Colville began to cause Marine serious problems at the back but they were restricted to half chances and shots from afar.

After the stroke of half time, Marine doubled their lead though smart attacking play. Harvey Gregson and Owen Robinson combined to get a cross into the box and Bobby Grant pounced but his effort near the penalty spot was well saved at close range. However the parry only came into the path of Finlay who confidently stroked the ball into the net from a few yards out.

In the second half, Marine had two golden opportunities to extend their lead. First up, an Owen Robinson header was brilliantly tipped over by Tom Scott followed by Wardle who found the ball at his feet in the B.P.A box and hooked it over the bar.

Marine’s third goal also originated from a long throw in the box and Bradford was adjudged to have fouled Josh Wardle which the referee duly awarded the Mariners a penalty kick. Louis White handed the ball off to Sinclair-Smith and moments later, the visitors were three to the good.

The scoreline was eerily following that of the game only days prior when Bradford spoiled the party with a goal of their own to offer hope to the 275 attending crowd. Jordan Preston added to his two goals on Saturday with another left footed strike after a lapse in Marine defensive concentration.

But the goal was merely a consolation as Marine ran down the clock and the result sees Neil Young’s men reach third place in the Northern Premier League, their highest position so far this season.

Next up, a chance to fortify a play-off position as we travel a relatively short distance up to Bamber Bridge for a Saturday 3pm kick off.

Bradford (Park Avenue): 1 Tom Scott, 2 Lucas Odunston, 3 Mason O’Malley, 4 Ted Lavelle, 5 Will Lancaster, 6 Jamie Sharman, 7 Bradley Williams (Chinedu Osadebe 84′), 8 Bosembo Namputu (Justin Iwobi 64′), 9 Harry Colville, 10 Jordan Preston, 11 Lewis Hey (Jak Whiting 71′)

Subs: 12 Justin Iwobi, 14 Chinedu Osadebe, 15 Myles La Bastide, 16 Jak Whiting, 17 Reward Mwakona

Marine: 1 Luke Hutchinson, 2 Matty Waters 3 Freddie Sass, 4 Jalil Saadi (Liam Nolan 78′), 5 Chris Doyle, 6 Josh Wardle, 7 Finlay Sinclair-Smith (Manasse Mampala 84′), 8 Louis White (Joseph Ferguson 75′), 9 Bobby Grant, 10 Owen Robinson, 11 Harvey Gregson

Subs: 12 Manasse Mampala, 13 Richard Cowderoy, 14 Joseph Ferguson, 15 Liam Nolan, 16 Sol Solomon

Horsfall Stadium

Attendance: 275

Man of the Match – Finlay Sinclair-Smith

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