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Saturday 3 March 2007
British Gas Business Southern League Premier
(match 31)
at Meadow Park, Gloucester
BGB Southern League logo

New Tigers Badge: no-one knows why...

Gloucester City


Cirencester Town


HT (0-0)

City home kitCiren away
© N.Mustoe
M.Jackson ©
(for 5, 71) M.Shaxton
S.Cowe (for 10, 67)
(for 11, 82) A.Allard
L.Horsted (for 9, 67)
(for 10, 50) D.Wilkinson
N.Haisley (for 2, 89)
City: D.Wilkinson (dissent 61)
Ciren: L.Smith (foul tackle 89)
Dismissals: none

T-Ender City MotM: Neil Mustoe - exceptional work rate in midfield and broke up Ciren's attack before the defence was troubled.

grass trim rule

Given both teams porous defences few could have predicted this game would have ended without goals, but thanks to some woeful City finishing and some courageous Cirencester defending and goal saving it did end without either side conceding. In fairness it wasn't one of those drab 0-0 draws of our nightmares, the game was packed full of incident and both sides put together some flowing passing moves that deserved some type of finish. In the second half particularly we should have wrapped the match up with Sykes, Griffin and Shaxton all spurning great opportunities to put in the crucial winner.

Ciren actually started the brighter side with Lee Smith an early thorn in the City flesh down our left, scampering clear into acres of space to put in a couple of deep crosses. He looked the best player in their side throughout the match, but he must really wonder what he's doing there. Surely it's time for him to hold his hands up and admit a mistake, and time for him to come home. He never really seems to enjoy coming back to Meadow Park and after those early runs he rarely got into dangerous positions, although some credit for that must go to new City left-back Luke Buttery. The youngster signed from Cinderford had an accomplished home debut and showed some real moments of class, most importantly he got to grips with Smith as he settled in and seems capable of carrying out his defensive duties with a consistency we've needed for a while. His watching former Cinderford team mates, manager and City legends collective of Chris Burns, Keith Knight, Neil Griffiths, Will Steadman and Matt Bath must have had mixed feelings.

City eased their way into the match and started moving the ball around well. Webb carved open the defence with a wonderful cross field ball giving Thommo a chance to shoot, but having fluffed that he recovered well to put back in a dangerous cross. Welsh looked favourite to meet it and when he was bundled to the floor the forward looked to have a good case for a penalty but the ref wasn't interested. We were winning the midfield ball all the time and a Sykes free kick resulted in Griffin firing into the side netting.

The best chance of the first half came from a Tom Webb free kick near the right touchline. His angled ball found the run of Lyndon Tomkins at the far post and his powerful header looked destined for the bottom corner before Kevin Sawyer intervened. The Ciren keeper always gets a lot of stick from the City fans, but he always seems to be at his best against us and despite his considerable bulk he is pretty agile for a fat boy. Sykes gave the keeper further chance to warm his hands, one a skidding shot from distance, the second a more dangerous volley - both set up by clever touches from Scott Griffin. Ciren did manage a rare foray into our half but the strikers seemed unused to having the ball and produced a wild wayward effort that only troubled the seagulls. Our own finishing was little better, Chris Thompson having the final chance of the half but having been put clear by Webb he could only scuff a shot at the keeper.

City may have dominated the first half but they again took a while to get going after the break and Ciren could have taken the lead with a fiercely hit driven free kick that fortunately went straight into the midriff of Ray Johnston. City's cause was further hampered when Welsh seemed to twist his knee as he tried to get to his feet following a challenge by Ciren's Lee Molyneaux. Initial repairs got Welsh to his feet but he was limping off a few minutes later.

It took us a while to regain any momentum but it did seem as if our slick passing would eventually undo Ciren, and whilst their defence looked comfortable under high balls they did not keep up well with quick movement. A fantastic passing move saw Mustoe, Buttery and Webb all weave the ball down the left and when the final cross came in Sykes shimmied to find space and seemed sure to score, only for Sawyer to make another fine block from close range. Griffin then skied a shot into the T-End after a Sykes free kick was half-cleared, and City saw another strong penalty appeal rejected as Webb's run into the box was halted by Jackson's clumsy tug at his shirt. Webb's attempt to make sure of the penalty only probably confused the ref, Wilko had the best view of the offence and promptly got booked for dissent as he pointed out that the ref may have got it all wrong.

City were dominating the game but couldn't find any way through. Even Mustoe was tempted into trying, but his low skidding shot was again well saved by Sawyer low to his left. Reid also went on a run, cutting past two defenders as he ran from the right, but his low drive flashed just wide of the post. It really looked as if City would score when Sykes tricked his way into space and centred a low ball into the path of sub Matt Shaxton. The Bridgwater based youngster had only just come on and his first touch let him down, allowing Sawyer to make full use of his ample frame and smother the danger. It was a great opportunity to make an impact, but Shaxton does seem to have a bit of pace about him and he may well get another chance to show more composure.

The horror show in front of goal continued with Scott Griffin the next culprit, and you can only imagine how much the former T-Ender would have enjoyed a first City goal in front of the terrace and against the side he walked out of only a few weeks earlier. It was perhaps all of that going through his head that stopped him finding the net when a Webb pass trickled through to him, courtesy of an inexplicable air shot from a Ciren defender. Clean through and nine yards out Sawyer again did well and the shot ploughed right at him.

City could have had another shout for a penalty with Matt Jones tugging Reid over as both tried to reach another City free kick, but largely you had the feeling this was never going to be quite our day. There was only the sight of Lee Smith hobbling off after injuring himself tripping up Tom Webb to bring a smile. This was by no means a disaster and at least he City side now looks well balanced and keeps shape when not in possession, but we must have some regrets about not finishing off a Ciren team that might well have every reason to be looking anxiously at that league table.


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
Buttry & Griff vs Ciren Sawyer shadow catch
New boys Luke Buttery and Griffin combine well on the left.
Sawyer eclipses the sub as he leaps for a City cross.
wide open spaces vs Ciren
Wilko out numbered
Webb and Sykes find room to pass around the Ciren defence.
Wilko comes off the bench but is soon surrounded in midfield.

Team Selection:
Tim Harris will be delighted to have been able to name an unchanged side, something he's not been able to do too often in a hectic season of constant squad changes and injuries. New signing Luke Buttery made his home debut having signed from Cinderford Town at the start of the week.
TBBM Said:

"You don't have to work too hard to make yourself big do you keeper?". Kevin Sawyer gets more nutrition advice from the City fans.

Tactics Board:

City look to have much better shape with a naturally defensive left sided player at left-back, and it would be fantastic if Danny Hodnett could return and fill a similar role regularly down the right. With Hamblin and Tomkins seeming more settled in the centre of defence and Johnston commanding his penalty box impressively we look a much more effective back unit.

Some interesting substitutions though - is Hamblin struggling for fitness - if not taking off a centre-back seems an odd decision. You can only guess Cox is struggling to be fit too - or is Tim Harris telling the mercurial forward something as even with Welsh and Griffin trooping off the pitch Jimmy is left kicking his heels on the bench.

Anorak Corner:
This was City's first 0-0 league draw for nearly a year - the last was with Bedford on April Fool's Day in 2006.
T-Ender Verdict

Having spent so many months heamorraging goals we'd do well not to be too disappointed in a match where we rarely looked seriously threatened at the back. Only a mixture of inspired goalkeeping and some weak finishing prevented us winning this game by some margin against a Cirencester side that look a shadow of that of recent seasons. This may be two points thrown away, but a few weeks ago that kind of wastefulness in front of goal would have seen us lose by several goals. At least now we look a little more secure at the back and capable of closing out results.

Highlights Elsewhere:

Less positively we probably still need a further three or four wins to be certain of safety and this would have been a game where we'd have hoped to get one of those victories. Many SLP matches fell victim to the overnight heavy rain, so our ground volunteers deserve much credit for getting our own pitch playable.

The return of the prolific Lloyd Opara to Cheshunt from Peterborough is a bit of a surprise but his opener helped Cheshunt race into a two goal lead in just seven minutes at home to Yate, but the Bristol side came back to win 3-2 and keep the Ambers in trouble. Both Miadenhead and Merthyr surely have too much ability and games in hand to get into real trouble, and both won today - Maidenhead 1-0 at Tiverton and the Martyrs comprehensively ending their poor run with a 3-0 demolition of struggling Wealdstone. At the other end of the table Team Bath took advantage of Bath City's postponement to cut their landlords lead at the top to two points with an impressive 3-0 win over Mangotsfield.

Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report

Further Reading:

BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: T.Horton (Wolverhampton) City League Pos: 9th (=) City Form: DLWWWL

Ref Watch:

6 - tried hard to play advantage and keep out of the way, but those penalty shouts ref?

Attendance: 408    
Lorry Score:


Match Report:
by t-towel

Work commitments mean that we are keen to obtain other match reporters willing to provide details on some City matches. All text can be supplied by email, with no need to worry about web design or formatting. If you are interested please contact the T-Ender.

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