Bradford (Park Avenue) grabbed their first win in eight games with a narrow victory against ten men Solihull Moors at a cold Horsfall Stadium.
The fixture was given the green light after a pitch inspection by referee Simeon Lucas and his assistants was conducted prior to kick off.
However, Bradford managed to earn three points against a resilient Solihull Moors outfit with a second half goal from Richard Marshall, who reverted to an attacking role for the home side. The visitors’ endured further misery as striker Junior English was shown a red card after accumulating two yellow cards into second half injury time.
The Avenue came close to taking the lead in the opening minute. Following a superb passing move from the home side, Bradford striker Richard Marshall saw his chipped effort from ten yards pushed away by the strong hand of the Moors stopper Jasbir Singh.
Five minutes later, the Avenue number nine was denied another chance to get on the scoresheet. A lofted free kick from defender James Knowles was flicked by Nathan Hotte into the path of the striker, but, his first time shot was tipped wide by Singh. From the resulting corner, captain Knowles headed over.
Again, it was the home side who were looking the most likely to break the deadlock. The Moors defence were struggling to cope with the presence of Hotte, and the midfielder spotted his fellow team mate Jordan Deacey inside the penalty area, only for his right footed effort to be caught by Singh.
The visitors were dealt a blow through the first half, as captain Tom Kemp was carried off with an injury. Nonetheless, that did not stop the Avenue posing a threat, as winger Paul Walker cut inside with the ball, and fired a powerful effort over the bar from distance.
But, the Moors showed plenty of resilience and looked confident in attack when they were given the opportunity. The visitors’ left winger Ryan Beswick got the better of Alex Davidson, and his cross was nodded over by Junior English from close range.
As the half time whistle was approaching, the Avenue saw a goal disallowed. A fine move down the favoured left wing saw Martin Drury feed a through ball for Davidson, and, despite rounding the goalkeeper and finishing, the winger was adjudged to be offside.
Half Time: Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-0 Solihull Moors
After the break, the Avenue opened the scoring. With short passes played within a tight area, Hotte poked the ball into the feet of Marshall, and the striker managed to get enough on his shot to find the bottom corner.
Somehow, Bradford were unable to double their lead. A fine interception from Davidson saw his low cross half cleared by the Moors defence into the feet of the goalscorer Marshall, but, he blazed his effort over the bar from ten yards.
Further to their pressure, Bradford struck the post. A deep cross from right back Michael Duckworth was nodded by substitute Keenan Rosser into the path of Hotte, who fired a low shot from 12 yards against the post.
However, the away side were proving to be difficult to break through to grab a second goal from a Bradford perspective. Meanwhile, the Moors came close to scoring an equaliser. A long free kick from inside their own half was not dealt with by the Avenue back line, and an acrobatic effort from Omar Bogle sneaked wide of the post from eight yards.
With a crucial second goal needed for Bradford, they looked to score from a set piece. A flag kick from Deacey was flicked towards Knowles, who was quick enough to set himself up to strike a half volley, but, the ball whistled wide from ten yards.
As the tension could be heard from the main stand, Solihull Moors were looking to snatch a vital goal to earn a draw. The visitors attempted to score from distance, only for Beswick’s curling effort to be gathered by Bradford goalkeeper John Lamb.
The chance for Solihull Moors to equalise looked to have escaped them. The ball sat up for Beswick after a flick on from Bogle, but, his left footed shot flew over the bar from 20 yards.
With the game into injury time, Marcus Bignot’s men were reduced to ten men. His striker Junior English was booked in the first half for dissent, and received a second yellow card for a foul on Richard Marshall.
Full Time: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Solihull Moors
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Duckworth, Drury, Daly, Knowles, Clayton, Davidson, Hotte, Marshall (Corner 90), Deacey, Walker (James 84).
Subs not used: Holland, Price, O’Brien.
Scorers: Marshall (47)
Solihull Moors: Singh, Pierpoint, Langdon, Denny, Kemp (Rosser 21), Spencer, Angus (Blackwood 61), Fleet (Knights 61), Bogle, English, Beswick.
Subs not used: Birch, Martinez.
Bookings: Bogle, Pierpoint, English (2), Spencer
Sent Off: English