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CLARKE STRIKE SECURES ST MIRREN FRIENDLY WIN

18 July 2015

Saturday 18 July 2015
Pre-season friendly
St Mirren 0
Bradford City 1 (Clarke 15)
Kick Off: 2:00pm
at St Mirren Park

A single goal from last season's top scorer Billy Clarke made sure City's time in Scotland ended in winning fashion. 

Following the recent wins over Motherwell on Tuesday and previously Farsley Celtic back in England, the first half goal from Clarke, who also hit the crossbar in the second period, gave Phil Parkinson's men their third straight victory so far in pre-season.

On top of Clarke's well-taken goal, one of the other highlights for the travelling supporters will have been the sight of new boy Mark Marshall, who was given his first outing in City colours roughly half an hour from the end.

After their week-long stay north of the border, City will now face Guiseley on Tuesday (21 July 2015) in their next pre-season fixture.

City had the better of the early changes, with Clarke firing straight at Mark Ridgers within the first minute.

Dylan Mottley-Henry, who looked an early threat for City with his pace down the right flank, tried to pick out the lurking Josh Morris in the box but his cross was headed behind by home defender Jack Baird.

From the resulting Morris corner, James Hanson's header down into the mix was kicked clear from just in front of St Mirren's goal.

St Mirren responded shortly afterwards with their first real opening of the game when Ben Williams was forced into a smart save following Steven Mallan's low drive from just outside the box.

Former Scottish international Steven Thompson was onto the loose ball but his effort from a tight angle was held onto by Williams on the line.

City went on the attack almost straight after that St Mirren near-miss to open the scoring for the afternoon.

Clarke showed superb control to bring down a lofted pass forward that had played him through on goal before he confidently slotted the ball home from close range through the legs of Ridgers.

With City continuing to look promising going forward as the half progressed, Alan Sheehan, who started the game at centre half with Rory McArdle, fired a direct free-kick narrowly over the bar from around 20 yards out on the half-hour mark.

For St Mirren, their best threat in the opening half appeared to come from the busy Paul McMullan, who managed on a couple of occasions to get testing crosses into City's area but both were held by the competent Williams.

As they did against Motherwell on Tuesday, City remain unchanged after the break. 

Looking to add to his first half effort, Clarke went oh so close to doubling the Bantams' lead ten minutes after the restart when Hanson headed down a forward pass from Sheehan into his path.

The Irish striker took aim with his left foot before crashing in a half-volley from just outside the box that smacked plumb against Ridgers' crossbar.

As expected, Parkinson then made a host of changes around the hour mark - eight in total - with recent signing Mark Marshall being one of the players introduced into the game from the bench.

Another of the substitutions, Filipe Morais and Christopher Routis, then combined as the Frenchman headed over from a corner by the Portuguese winger.

City made it nine changes for the afternoon around twenty minutes from the end when Sam Wright replaced Mottley-Henry. St Mirren joined the Bantams in making a raft of substitutions during spells later in the half.

The changes for both sides naturally gave the game a different feel to it but Luke James still managed to test Ridgers with an angled drive from inside the box that the home 'keeper pushed around the post.

The Bantams went even closer minutes later when Morais fired across goal and narrowly wide of Ridgers' far post from a tight angle inside the area.

In the final minute of the game St Mirren substitute Alan Gow hit the top of Williams' bar with a free-kick from around 25 yards out but City kept hold of their clean sheet along with their winning advantage.

CITY XI
12. Ben Williams
2. Luke Hendrie
3. James Meredith
4. Josh Morris
7. Dylan Mottley-Henry
8. Gary Liddle
9. James Hanson (c)
11. Billy Knott
16. Billy Clarke
21. Alan Sheehan
23. Rory McArdle

City substitutes:
1. Joe Cracknell
5. Conrad Balatoni
6. Steve Saunders
14. Mark Marshall
15. Filipe Morais
17. Luke James
18. Christopher Routis
19. Greg Leigh
20. Sam Wright
22. Mark Fotheringham


Substitutions:
Leigh for Meredith (61), Morris for Marshall (61), Fotheringham for Liddle (61), James for Hanson (61), Routis for Knott (61), Morais for Clarke (61), Balatoni for Sheehan (61), Saunders for McArdle (61), Wright for Mottley-Henry (71)

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