Youth Team Share Points With Bradford

Grimsby Town’s U18s shared the points with Bradford City after their latest EFL Youth Alliance league match on Saturday.

A 25-yard rocket from Aaron Braithwaite gave the Young Mariners the lead during a first half which they dominated.

But Bradford improved after the break and they turned the game around through a Cole Roberts penalty and a superb free kick from Isaac Robinson.

Town had the last word though as they showed character to get themselves back on level terms, with substitute Cameron Gardner netting the equaliser 11 minutes from time.

In bright sunshine at the Bradley Football Development Centre, the visitors had the first opportunity to put pressure on their opponents’ goal with a free kick from inside the Grimsby half on three minutes.  Robinson took it but his ball into the penalty area was cleared by Henry Moore.

Edwin Essel volleyed wide for Town after meeting a cross from the left, then a long throw from Braithwaite was cleared after it had been headed on by Essel.

Robinson curled a shot just wide of the far post after cutting inside from the away right on nine minutes, before Harry Thorpe fired over the bar from 20 yards at the other end.

Town were awarded a free kick when Louis Boyd was brought down 25 yards out after good work by Shakeel Brown to win a loose ball.  Brown stepped up to shoot but his strike was acrobatically saved by Bantams keeper Heath Richardson, who dived to his right and pushed the ball out for a corner.

Bradford were looking to patiently play out from the back in the early stages of the game but the Mariners were pressing well and not allowing their visitors to settle.

Brown did well on 17 minutes to chase the ball down and keep it in play after Harry Milner had taken it towards the box, although the striker’s cross was cleared.

An attempt by Thorpe from 20 yards was blocked, then Essel won a corner on the home right after linking up with Milner.  Boyd’s low delivery was flicked away at the near post by Robinson for another corner and this time, Richardson had to tip Boyd’s ball away from his goal.

A foul on Essel gave Town a free kick in a promising, central position just before the half-hour.  Brown chipped it into the box but the offside flag went up as Moore’s header was collected by Richardson.

A late challenge by Jamie Bramwell on Roberts earned the Grimsby defender the game’s first yellow card, before two chances came in quick succession but neither Thorpe nor Braithwaite could test the keeper.

Town did not have to wait much longer to take the lead though, as the deadlock was broken on 34 minutes.  Good play by Brown around the edge of the box saw him work an opening and after his chipped ball into the danger zone was only half-cleared, it eventually fell for BRAITHWAITE and he unleashed a brilliant first-time shot to find the corner of the net.

Dec Dennis had not been troubled in the Grimsby goal so far as Bradford struggled to break down the home defence, while Town continued to threaten at the other end, with Boyd setting off on a strong run down the left on 40 minutes before sending a cross over which was just too far ahead of Milner at the far post.

The away side did manage to have more of the ball as half-time approached and a good move down their left saw Jay Tinsdale find Donald Kamwa, although the winger’s cross was headed clear by Moore.

The Young Mariners were looking solid at the back and a Bradford corner was dealt with by Bramwell, before good covering by Thorpe stopped another attack and ensured the score remained 1-0 at half-time.

Town made a positive start to the second half as a low shot from Milner was blocked for a corner, then there was a penalty appeal when Essel went down under a challenge inside the box.  The referee instead pointed for a corner.

A run through the middle by Jay Tinsdale was stopped at the edge of the penalty area as Bradford looked for a route back into the game, before Alex Markham and Milner linked up well down the Town right in a move which led to a blocked shot by Brown.

A home corner from the right was headed wide for a goal kick on 54 minutes, then a Bradford free kick was headed clear after a foul on striker Raekealan Jeffers.

Essel was caught offside as he ran onto a ball from Brown, before Dennis raced off his line to clear a  through-ball at the other end.

More good attacking football by Grimsby led to Brown turning and shooting over the bar from 20 yards just after the hour.

But it was the visitors who got the game’s second goal on 63 minutes, as Dennis was adjudged to have brought Jeffers down inside the box.  Despite the protests of the Town players, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and ROBERTS stepped up to confidently send the keeper the wrong way.

A foul on Thorpe gave Town a free kick in a central position, midway inside the away half, three minutes later as they aimed for a quick response.  Brown’s chip was headed down for Markham but he was unable to test keeper Richardson.

After it had been all Grimsby earlier, the momentum was now with Bradford following their equaliser and they completed the turnaround on 70 minutes.  A push by Brown on Jeffers gave them a free kick 25 yards out and ROBINSON curled the ball into the top corner of the net from it, giving Dennis no chance.

Town responded with a double-substitution, as Brook Dennis and Gardner came on for Milner and Boyd.

And there was an opportunity for the home side with a free kick on 76 minutes after Bradford’s Sam Bentley was booked for a foul on Essel.    Brown’s 25-yard shot deflected off the defensive wall for a corner.

Another corner came two minutes later but Essel could not direct his far-post header towards goal after meeting Brown’s delivery from the flag.

Town kept pushing forward and with their next attack, they got themselves level again.  Essel set off on a run down the right and from his cross, the substitutes combined as Dennis sent the ball back across goal for GARDNER to finish and make it 2-2.

From there, both sides pressed for a winner, with a Bradford short corner from the right dealt with after the ball was eventually played into the box.

Jay Tinsdale was booked for a high foot on Markham on 86 minutes, then an away attack broke down after Jeffers looked to have gone clear through the middle.

Markham got in behind the Bradford defence soon afterwards but nobody in black and white could get to his low pull-back across the penalty area.

The away side had a spell of pressure as the game moved into added time, although a foul on Tom Zerboni near the right edge of the box brought it to an end.

Bradford had a final chance with a free kick after a high Braithwaite boot caught substitute Mo Sedibeh, who had come on for Kamwa.  They were not able to take the opportunity though, as centre-back Noah Wadsworth sent the ball wide and both teams were forced to settle for a draw.

The Young Mariners are back in league action on Saturday when they host Mansfield Town.

Town: Dec Dennis, Markham, Zerboni, Braithwaite, Bramwell, Moore, Milner (Brook Dennis, 71), Thorpe, Essel, Brown, Boyd (Gardner, 71)

Bradford: Richardson, Breaks, Jay Tinsdale, Nathan Tinsdale, Wadsworth, Bentley, Robinson, Palit (Gledhill, 77), Jeffers, Roberts, Kamwa (Sedibeh, 85)


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