BRADFORD (Park Avenue) are spiralling towards a second successive relegation, with a 3-1 home defeat to Marine last night making it six defeats out of six under new boss Danny Whitaker so far.

Avenue sit eight points off safety in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and with the way they continue to leak goals, without the security of their injured captain Mitch Lund in the centre of their defence, they are showing little sign of getting out of the mess they are currently in.

Play-off hunting Marine dominated last night’s encounter, and almost scored inside five minutes, only for Avenue loanee Tom Scott to parry away a Harvey Gregson effort.

But the visitors took the lead moments later anyway, through the prolific Bobby Grant.

A long throw from Freddie Sass was flicked on by his captain Josh Wardle, with Grant pouncing to head the knock on into the net beyond Scott.

Avenue’s stand-in captain, right-back Lucas Odunston, was at the heart of everything good for the hosts in the first half, with Marine struggling to keep tabs on him.

The former Leeds United and Hull City academy prospect kept making use of the width the Horsfall pitch offers, and he made one brilliant run, before combining nicely with Bosembo Namputu.

Between them, the pair found Lewis Hey, only for the youngster to fire an effort just over the crossbar.

Another fine Odunston run gave Marine a further scare, but they soon wrestled back control.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Lucas Odunston (left) was Avenue's biggest attacking threat in the first half, but they were unable to find a breakthrough.Lucas Odunston (left) was Avenue's biggest attacking threat in the first half, but they were unable to find a breakthrough. (Image: Martin Taylor.)

Louis White came close from a free-kick, before team-mate Finlay Sinclair-Smith doubled the away side’s lead.

Scott spilled a shot into Sinclair-Smith’s path and the onrushing midfielder made no mistake with the rebound, putting the ball into the back of the net from close range.

Marine led 2-0 at the break, but Avenue were controlling possession, with the visitors knowing they were still in a game.

The home side made a slow start to the second half, and were nearly punished on two separate occasions.

First, Wardle hooked an effort just over the bar from a corner, before Owen Robinson got his head to White’s free kick, only for Scott to make a fine save to deny him.

Hey came agonisingly close to halving the deficit on the hour mark, but his attempt to lob Marine keeper Luke Hutchinson cleared the crossbar.

Instead, Marine scored the third goal of the game after being awarded a penalty on 63 minutes.

Sinclair-Smith made no mistake from the spot, slotting the ball into the bottom corner after sending Scott the wrong way.

He almost grabbed his hat-trick soon after, but struck a shot just wide, before Jordan Preston pulled a goal back for Avenue with a terrific strike on 77 minutes.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jordan Preston's goal was his third in two games for Avenue, but it came too late to affect the result.Jordan Preston's goal was his third in two games for Avenue, but it came too late to affect the result. (Image: Martin Taylor.)

The home side kept coming after that, with Hutchinson forced into a stunning save to keep out Harry Colville with just over five minutes to go.

But that was Avenue’s last big chance to get back into the contest, and Marine defended stoutly in the closing moments to see out the win and move up into the play-off places.

Whitaker’s men are in an increasingly dire situation, and face another daunting game on Saturday, a trip to high-flying Hyde United, who have only lost twice at home in the league all season.