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McARDLE RETURNS IN HARTLEPOOL DEFEAT FOR CITY RESERVES

13 September 2016

Bantams defender Rory McArdle made a successful return from injury this Tuesday, playing the full game in City's Central League Cup reserves encounter with Hartlepool United.

After a summer spent recuperating from shoulder and groin problems, McArdle managed to last the full match distance in central defence at a sun-drenched Billingham Town.

On the sunny September afternoon, the 29 year-old showed no signs of the previous injuries as he looked to put himself back in the first team picture.

Despite the welcome sight of McArdle back in City colours though, the defender was unable to prevent a largely young and inexperienced Bantams side going down 5-0 to Hartlepool.

Following a goalless opening half, Hartlepool netted five unanswered goals in the second period via efforts from Brad Walker, Connor Smith and a hat-trick from Jake Orrell.

Along with McArdle, Vincent Rabiega was the only other member of Stuart McCall's first team squad on show for City at Billingham.

Hartlepool threatened early on in the game when Jack Blackford teed up Smith and his shot from wide deflected up and onto the top of City 'keeper George Sykes-Kenworthy's bar.

The home side thought they had gone close again later in the half when Smith fed the ball invitingly across the six yard box only for Walker to somehow fire over from close range.

The midfielder's blushes were saved, however, when the linesman's flag was raised to signal offside.

Pools defender Isaac Assenso had a chance of his own when the ball broke his way from a home set-piece but his effort from deep inside the box was smothered by Sykes-Kenworthy.

At the other end, Rabiega had City's best opening of the first period after good work from Kwame Boateng had seen the striker receive the ball in space inside the area.

Rabiega managed to get his shot away but the effort was pushed behind by Pools 'keeper Ryan Catterick.

After a fairly even opening period, Hartlepool claimed an advantage in the game virtually start after restart when Orrell headed in his first of the match.

Smith's cross into the box found Orrell in space and his downward header had just enough on it to beat Sykes-Kenworthy by his near post.

Orrell grabbed his second shortly afterwards when he latched onto a ball over the top to round Sykes-Kenworthy and tap into an empty net.

Blackford then saw a shot saved well from Sykes-Kenworthy after good play from the winger, while Harry Warren sent over a teasing cross along the six-yard box for City that narrowly missed everyone in the middle.

Pools had a third goal for the afternoon sixteen minutes from the end when Walker surged to edge of City's box before firing in an absolutely unstoppable shot that flew into the top corner.

The hosts' fourth came with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining when Orrell beat Tom Windle to a forward pass inside the box before poking the ball past Sykes-Kenworthy.

Pools looked to trouble the scorers again before the match was out as they continued to push forward, home substitute Liam Travers being denied by a decent reaction save with his legs from Sykes-Kenworthy.

There was still just enough time in the match for Hartlepool to register a fifth with the last attack of the game when Smith moved into shooting space before beating Sykes-Kenworthy with a low drive from just inside the area.

CITY XI
1. George Sykes-Kenworthy
2. Tom Windle
3. Harry Warren
4. Omed Gardezi
5. Rory McArdle
6. Sam Wright
7. Ville Moilanen
8. Kwame Boateng
9. Vincent Rabiega
10. Reece Powell
11. Niah Payne (c)

Substitutes:
12. Ross Mullett
14. Casey Taglione

Substitutions:
Taglione for Gardezi (65)


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