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CLARKE MAKES HIS FIRST CITY OUTING AT WHITBY

28 July 2015

Pre-season friendly
Tuesday 28 July 2015
at the Turnbull Ground
Kick Off: 7.00pm
Bradford City 0
Whitby Town 1 (Roberts pen 11)

New signing Nathan Clarke made his first outing in City colours at Whitby Town this Tuesday as the Bantams were edged out in their latest pre-season friendly.

Fresh from completing his move to the Coral Windows Stadium, Clarke played alongside Rory McArdle in central defence as part of City's first half XI at Whitby's Turnbull Ground.

With virtually all of City's squad on show at Whitby as Bantams boss Phil Parkinson elected to play a different side each half, Clarke managed to get forty-five minutes under his belt.

Steven Davies and Mark Marshall featured in City's second half side.

Stephen Darby took part in the warm-up as he continued his recovery from a stomach problem although Jon Lewis missed the game after being given permission to return to America for a week to sort out some minor issues.

Whitby won the friendly thanks to Michael Roberts' first half penalty.

City's first sight of goal came as early as the second minute when Billy Clarke played Billy Knott into space inside the box but his effort on goal was well saved by Shane Bland.

Whitby's Adam Gell fired straight at Ben Williams from around twenty yards out shortly afterwards before Josh Morris fired over the bar from just inside the box at the other end. 

James Hanson then tried his luck from slightly further out in the tenth minute but the effort was held by Bland.

City were to concede a penalty barely seconds later, however, when James Meredith went to clear the ball but ended up catching Roberts instead just inside the box.

Roberts himself took responsibility for the spot-kick and proceeded to confidently send Williams the wrong way.

City nearly equalised in the seventieth minute when Morris burst through into the box with real purpose. He lofted the ball over the advancing Bland but the alert Mark Robinson got back to hook the effort away on the goal-line.

With Morris involved again, his corner was headed straight at Bland by Hanson minutes later.

Midway through the first period, Christopher Routis sent over an inviting cross into the path of Knott but the pace of the delivery seemed to catch him out and he failed to control the ball, meaning the chance from close range was gone.

Knott played a part in City's next opening of the game when his looping pass fed Billy Clarke into space inside the area. Just as the striker looked to pull the trigger though, Ibrahim Hassan came across to make the vital recovery clearance.

Knott himself then fired wide of Bland's far post with a low drive from outside the box on the half hour mark.

With City still pushing for a leveller in the first period, Hanson's flick on found Morris inside the box but Bland was able to push the ball away from him with his glove as the midfielder looked to lob an effort over the 'keeper.

Whitby had a rare sighting of goal roughly seven minutes from the break which resulted in centre back Kieran Weledji hitting the outside of the post after Ross Gardner had kept an attack alive by crossing back into the box.

Whitby strikers Matthew Waters and Roberts also had chances towards the end of the first period while City ended the half with Nathan Clarke heading straight at Bland from a Morris corner.

As expected, City played with an entirely different eleven for the second period. This saw the likes of Davies, Marshall, Luke James and Alan Sheehan join the action in the second period.

Marshall's early corner after the restart caused a moment's panic in the home defence but the delivery narrowly beat Sheehan, James and Conrad Balatoni as the ball flashed across the six yard box.

Former Bantam Lee Bullock, who captained Whitby on the night, was replaced for the hosts in the sixty-fifth minute.

Shortly afterwards, James sent a lofted cross into the six yard box but Liam Shepard managed to get himself in between Marshall and the ball to vitally head clear from close range.

Marshall was at the heart of City's next opening half way into the second period when he cut inside from the right flank before drilling in a low strike from the edge of the box that Weledji knocked behind for a corner with his out-stretched boot.

Just a minute later, Dylan Mottley-Henry crossed dangerously into the middle but Davies could only get the merest of touching on the ball and his glancing header flashed wide of Bland's far post.

Apprentice midfielder Daniel Devine then replaced trialist Luke Woodland in midfield.

Marshall's cross deep into Whitby's box from the byline roughly six minutes from time had the home defence at full stretch. Mottley-Henry fired the ball back into the mix with menace but the effort appeared to hit one of his own players and Whitby could clear.

As City continued to push men forward, Whitby nearly caught the Bantams out at the back when Jason Blackburn got the better of Balatoni to stride onto a long ball forward. 

Blackburn tried to dance around Joe Cracknell but the 'keeper was alert and he was able to whip the ball off his toes.

CITY FIRST HALF XI
1. Ben Williams
2. Tony McMahon
3. James Meredith
4. Josh Morris
5. Nathan Clarke
8. Gary Liddle
9. James Hanson (c)
11. Billy Knott
14. Billy Clarke
18. Christopher Routis
21. Rory McArdle


CITY SECOND HALF XI
12. Joe Cracknell 
6. Conrad Balatoni
7. Mark Marshall
10. Luke James
15. Sam Wright
16. Dylan Mottley-Henry
17. Greg Leigh
19. Luke Woodland for Devine (76)
20. Alan Sheehan (c)
22. Luke Hendrie
23. Steven Davies

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