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Saturday 28 April 2007
British Gas Business Southern League Premier
(match 42)
at Meadow Park, Gloucester
BGB Southern League logo

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

Gloucester City


Clevedon Town


HT (2-0)

A.Sykes (8,40), J.Welsh (85)
City home kitclevedon kit
M.Page (59)
© N.Mustoe
R.Scott ©
(for 5, 65) S.Griffin
M.Page (for 6, 54)
(for 8, 6) D.Wilkinson
(for 9, 84) M.Shaxton


City: none
Clevedon: none
Dismissals: none

T-Ender City MotM: Alex Sykes - his ability and sharp shooting divided the teams while his passing always threatened Clevedon.

grass trim rule

Some exceptional first half long range finishing from Alex Sykes was enough to help City to a solid 3-1 victory over Clevedon to mark the close of the season in warm Spring sunshine. The weather was good enough to leave even the most committed looking forward to spending some time in the sun, but in this performance there were glimpses to also suggest City fans could have reason to look forward to the next campaign with some optimism. Clevedon showed plenty of attacking running to suggest they should have done better this season, but City managed the threat well in midfield and by the end of the game finished strongly.

City's plans were disrupted early on with Marc Richards getting an early ticket after coming off worse in a clash of heads with Clevedon's Romhdane. Wilko came on for him, Clevedon taking advantage of any confusion with Luke Buttery doing well to charge down a dangerous looking Jack Pitcher cross. City managed to regain control and then took the lead with another wonder goal from Alex Sykes. Nothing seemed to be on when Wilko touched on a Reid throw-in, but from 25 yards out Syko turned and produced an inch perfect lob that dropped over stranded keeper Danny Greaves and just under the bar.

Clevedon had every right to feel a bit hard done by as they made City creak in midfield, realising they couldn't out pass Wilko and Mustoe they quickly started running from deep with Pitcher seeing a good run and shot stopped only by a solid block from Hamblin. The visitors forwards were both impressive and Pitcher looked to have added another to his tally when he latched onto a low ball and rounded former Clevedon keeper Ray Johnston, but Razor was relieved to see Buttery nip behind him to clear the goalbound shot for a corner.

Despite exerting little pressure on the Clevedon goal City managed to extend their lead before the break, and again it was the sharpness of Alex Sykes that did the business. Webb's short corner work found Sykes in space and despite being more than 30 yards out Syko unerringly clipped a perfect drive into the top corner of the net. It's quite possibly the first time City have ever scored from the dreaded short corner, and judging by the congratulations for coach Boris Mehew it might just have been a little something worked on in training.

Clevedon looked set to make a game of it when they pulled one back soon after the break. We'd looked a little more solid defensively but this goal looked all too much like a host of others we've let in over the season. Pitcher was given far too much room down our left and having got clear of the defensive line he had time to produce an inch perfect cross to the back-post where sub Mitchell Page had plenty of room to head into the net.

City didn't look too flustered for once though and simply wrested back control of the midfield and went about putting together the kind of attacking football we'd never quite produced in the first half. A clever interchange of passing by Sykes found recent sub Griffin dropping deep in front of the defence. His crisp first time shot almost caught Clevedon off guard but their keeper did well to back pedal and produce a finger tip save. Another raking cross field ball from Sykes found Jimmy Cox running at full tilt and the ref was very lenient not to give a penalty for a trip by Danny Haines who seemed to have been simply out paced by Cox. Defenders didn't even get close to Cox on his next run and his cross from the by-line seemed to have been met perfectly with a neat header by Griffin, but the keeper did well to reach out and grab it off the line.

City finally claimed the goal that our earlier attacking play had deserved when a Sykes corner wasn't properly cleared and was returned to the winger on the right flank, from where he swung in other tricky cross. It evaded defenders and forwards alike at the near post, but was allowed to bounce in the goalmouth, enabling Jason Welsh to swivel and smash the ball into the net from close range. That also neatly levelled up the private tussle between Welsh and Syko for the City golden boot - both ending the season on 13 goals.


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
FA Cup at Meadow Park

Alan Ball minutes silence

Clevedon are shocked to find their competing for more than 3 points...
The two sides pay respects to 66 World Cup winner Alan Ball.
Scott Griffin vs Clevedon
City vs Clevedon
Scott Griffin enlivens the second half City attack
Tom Webb back to pillaging in the City midfield.

Team Selection:
Although this was in many ways an early pre-season game for City boss Tim Harris resisted the temptation to try anything new and put out arguably his strongest available side, with Tom Webb restored to the starting line-up and Jason Welsh up front with Cox.
TBBM Said:

What's he doing that for - does he think we'll buy him some more next season?"
City keeper Razor Johnston might find the Supporters Trust's supply of goalkeeping gloves has run dry after chucking his current pair to kids in the T-End.

Tactics Board:

This was hardly a game for tactical innovation. However the match did little to allay the feeling a new centre-back has to be a priority. With Tomkins missing we still seem to have a habit of subbing Tom Hamblin, perhaps suggesting he too has a lingering injury problem. Jason Welsh is a good short-term stop-gap though, and this match wasn't the first where he's still found the net despite having been sent back to fill in for missing defenders.

Anorak Corner:
Tim Harris had set a late season target of a top ten finish and will be satisfied enough his team ended in exactly 10th, not bad given our frustrating lack of consistency and home woes. The top half finish and 58 point haul mark our best SLP finish since 6th in 1999, and our highest points tally since returning to the division. Our 67 league goals this season are our most at this level since the unforgettable pain of ten seasons ago when we missed out on the Conference in 1996-97.
T-Ender Verdict

This match didn't really tell us anything new about our side. In the first half Clevedon enjoyed the better of the possession but the sharp shooting of Alex Sykes was of a better quality than anything the visitors could muster. At times in the second half we played some wonderful football, but just lacked the killer touch or pace to quite take the opposition apart. If you wanted to draw conclusions you'd say we're a midtable side who are very close to being a bit more. Can we take the next step?

Highlights Elsewhere:

With the title and three of the four relegation spots settled the main focus was on the play-off spots, Maidenhead's late charge secured 4th spot with a final 2-0 win at Banbury while Halesowen blew their chances conceding a late goal to lose 1-0 at Hitchin. Hemel and Chippenham ground out a goalless draw, enough for Hemel but not for the Wiltshire side who we'll be trying to beat again next season.

Clevedon's team were very relaxed given how close Wealdstone got to overhauling them, but a Matt O'Hallaran goal for King's Lynn was enough to see the Stones lose 1-0 and clinch that groundsharing double relegation with Northwood. Two of the relegated clubs produced those kind of results put in by teams once the pressure's gone, the sort of results that make fans throw things. Corby crushed Yate 4-0 while Cirencester won 2-1 away at Stamford with Lee Smith on the scoresheet. At the other end of the table Bath City celebrated the title with a 6-0 demolition of Rugby in front of 1,369 fans - former Tiger loan boy Chris Holland getting a brace as he started and finished the scoring.

Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report

Further Reading:

BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: M.Howes (Solihull, West Midlands) City League Pos: 10th (+2) City Form: WWLLWW

Ref Watch:

7 - a gentle game well managed.

Attendance: 460    
Conditions: sunny, clear and warm
Lorry Score:


Match Report:
by t-towel

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