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Saturday 13 January 2007
British Gas Business Southern League Premier
(match 22)
at Meadow Park, Gloucester
BGB Southern League logo

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

Gloucester City


Hemel Hempstead Town

Fat Old King

HT (2-3)

D.Wilkinson (33), J.Cox (37),
A.Sykes (57)
City home kitHemel kit
J.Welsh (24og), A.Thomas (36,72), P.Edgeworth (42)
C.Thompson ©
P.Edgeworth ©
C.Mapes (for 9, 77)
(for 11, 86) J.Tustain
(for 10, 55) M.Fowler
S.Sinclair (for 7, 65)
City: C.Thompson (foul tackle 89)
Hemel: none
Dismissals: none

T-Ender City MotM: Alex Sykes - his clever and precise shooting often looked like our best attacking weapon in the blustery conditions.

grass trim rule

City's long suffering fans will feel they're stuck in some recurring nightmare as the team again allowed generous defending help a visiting side to another three points at Meadow Park. Few can complain at a lack of entertainment, but while we continue to score goals you have the impression that we will always contrive to ensure the opposition at least match us. Hemel's lively strike force impressed in a match where they took the lead four times, but with both sides looking fragile at the back in the strong winds this was a match where goals were perhaps a cheapened currency. If City cannot some how nail closed the wide open stable doors left flapping around in the breeze here this afternoon then the second half of this season could quickly become very awkward, even if we carry on scoring with this regularity.

The match promised much in the opening minutes with both teams attacking with great pace on a pitch that was heavy, but given the recent rain and our problems with drainage, a pitch that showed just how much impressive work had been done to make it playable. Both sides are heavy scorers at worst though, and on this surface and in the wind neither side's defenders were ever going to get an easy ride. Hemel had the wind behind them in the first half and didn't have to do much more than belt the ball high and forward to put our back line under pressure. The weather played a part in a rather flukey Hemel opener. Chris Herron's corner was taken by the wind and forced Jason Welsh to make a wild kick at it, only to see the ball fly off and into his own net.

City weren't despairing though and were trying to use the heavy win ahead of them too their advantage, and Cox was able to plough his way onto a long ball with a brave determined run only ended at the expense of a corner. Sykes took the corner which hung up in the air for an age and was met by Dave Wilkinson who crashed his header onto the bottom of the bar and over the line, before Cox followed up to make sure.

We weren't level for long though and this time the defence looked a little suspect, even allowing for the difficult conditions. A long throw was allowed to travel far too deep across the City box and when Hamblin got his head to it there was little he could do to steer its direction. The ball fell to the impressive Anthony Thomas who produced a wonderful curling shot to beat Matt Bath and put Hemel back ahead.

The scoring was far from over though, and City were allowed to take advantage of some smart refereeing (really, even in the Southern League) when we were allowed to play advantage after a Sykes run was halted by a trip from behind. The ball ran on to Mustoe who sent Jimmy Cox haring in on goal. You could see the years roll back as Cox suddenly looked like the pacey predator we all hope he can become again - and having outran the chasing defenders he slipped the ball below Steve Smith to level and claim his first goal since returning to the club.

Before the break though Mustoe turned from assist hero to blunder villain. He tried to salvage things after Welsh fluffed a pass but his clearance was thumped down in midfield and fell straight to Anthony Thomas, and he simply squared the ball past Hamblin to find skipper Paul Edgeworth who slammed the ball into the net from 12 yards.

With the wind behind us in the second half control of the game switched to City but even so Hemel seem a side well set to play on the break and despite us having the ball largely in and around their penalty box both Sippetts and Thomas had chances to score but put them wide. Finally City forced a third equaliser, and again the strong wind played a part. Alex Sykes is a clever player and knew exactly the ball to put in when we won a corner. Hemel keeper Steve Smith had looked poor in the match at their ground and he looked lost as Syko's high inswinging corner looped over him, eluded Jason Welsh and dropped under the bar at the far post.

Syko almost added to the score but his wind assisted dipping 25 yard drive was tipped over by Smith, partly redeeming himself with an excellent save. City were starting to press to take the lead for the first time, but were hit by a crucial sucker punch. Sub Steve Sinclair broke out of defence with astonishing pace and his clever pass cut out Welsh and found Thomas who again produced a delicate accurate finish to find the net.

We did deserve to manage a fourth equaliser but despite a lot of pressure and several chances it was a goal too far for us. Tom Hamblin went close to his first Tigers goal but his crashing header was cleared off the line. Skipper Chris Thompson saw his long distance drive skim just over the bar thanks to the slightest fingertip save from Smith. The best chance fell to Aaron Wilson in the last moments of injury time with Matt Bath up for another City corner, but this time the youngster couldn't keep his head and put his shot narrowly wide of the post with City fans holding their heads in their hands.


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
City's third equaliser as Alex Sykes corner drops straight into the top corner whilst Welsh and Cox strain to reach it.
Aaron stubs the ball into the path of Hemel's Yeboah.
Welsh looks to get ahead of Alex Sykes' run.

Team Selection:
Tim Harris was able to welcome back Tom Hamblin and Jamie Reid after their pre-match injuries at Clevedon in New Year, but that news was tempered with the loss of on loan defender Ollie Barnes with glandular fever and left-back Michael Noakes with a strain picked up in midweek training. Harris opted for numbers at the back, with Welsh and Thommo joining Hamblin in a central back three. Cox got the nod up front with Sykes again free to play off the striker, Fowler perhaps surprisingly found himself on the bench.
TBBM Said:


Tactics Board:
City started with a loose variation on 5-3-2 and again it worked in terms of attacking play but unfortunately little is working for us at the back. Placed under pressure from a bright and predictabley sharp Hemel attack the defence simply wilted with neither Reid or Wilson providing much resistance as makeshift wing-backs. With the advantage of playing with the wind in the second half Harris reverted to a two pronged attack with Welsh adding his height to the front line, but our problems seem not to be about personnel but about defensive concentration and discipline right through the team.
Anorak Corner:
This result ended an unbeaten five game run, but the defensive problems are still there to be seen with 27 goals shared in the last six games added to which our home form is now painful with three months since our last home league win.
T-Ender Verdict

With more than half the season behind us our league form is being hampered by some strange home jinx that has seen us take just two victories on our own turf to date. The side looks smooth in attack, and we are fortunate to have some very bright players who pass the ball crisply and the movement can be impressive. However, especially at home, perhaps the players feel a need to please the fans and a need to entertain. Our defensive play is too lightweight and too often simple clearances are replaced by ill considered attempts to pass our way out of trouble in front of our own goal. Put simply - perhaps it's time to show we have the toughness to put our foot in, and the determination to get a bit ugly. We all want to be entertained - but I'm fed up of seeing so much entertainment at the wrong end of the pitch.

Highlights Elsewhere:

Hemel Hempstead moved up to third in the BGB Southern Premier table with victory.

Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report

Further Reading:

BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: M.Howes (Soilhull) City League Pos: 15th (-1) City Form: LDDWDW

Ref Watch:

6 - unfussy and didn't screw up the match, if a little reluctant to book offenders.

Attendance: 337    
Conditions: overcast, showery and very windy
Lorry Score:


Match Report:
by t-towel

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