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Saturday 10 February 2007
British Gas Business Southern League Premier
(match 27)
at Cossham Street, Mangotsfield.
BGB Southern League logo

Maggots Arms

Mangotsfield United


Gloucester City

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

HT (1-3)

D.Morrisey (35),
A.Cornwall (61,73)
Maggots KitCity home kit
J.Welsh (31,38), J.Reid (44),
A.Sykes (57)
N.Mustoe ©
© J.French
R. Parker
(for 10, 70) R.Casey
S.Griffin (for 3, 6)
(for 5, 61) A.Cornwall
Maggots: D.Morrisey (foul tackle 87), A.Cornwall (diving 90+2)
City: N.Mustoe (foul trip 61), J.Welsh (time wasting 90+3)
Dismissals: Maggots: A.Cornwall (dissent, 2nd yellow FT)

T-Ender City MotM: Neil Mustoe - battled his way through the mud into every sliding tackle and willed the side to victory.

grass trim rule

A glorious first half spell of decisive attacking football eventually proved decisive for City as they returned to winning ways in a seven goal thriller at a muddy, soaked Mangotsfield. A brace from Jason Welsh and strikes from Jamie Reid and Alex Sykes had put City into a commanding 4-1 lead at Cossham Street, but the Maggots looked set to overturn their own faltering home form as sub Aaron Cornwall came on to score two rather soft goals and leave City nerves jangling in a tense and heated conclusion. City will be delighted with the points in a match that was a test of character and resolve, but whilst this match showed huge improvements some of those old defensive concerns have yet to be dismissed.

This looked like another game that may not get much beyond kick-off and even in the opening few stages there were players slipping all over the place on a very heavy pitch. City suffered an early casualty as Michael Noakes was left prone in the mud, he seemed to turn as he fell clearing the ball under a challenge from Ryan Parker and it didn't look good as he left the field on a stretcher. The departure hastened the debut of Scott Griffin, recently signed for City having left Cirencester and into the action far quicker than he could have expected.

Perhaps it was that long stoppage or the conditions but the game seemed to take a long time to really get going, although City looked the more dangerous side with some slick passing movement that just always broke down around the opposition box. Griffin showed some neat touches and it was from his lay off that Mustoe drove a shot just wide. Griffin himself went close as he found the side netting from a narrow angle, while Reid ended in a superb cross field move as he volleyed just over from Sykes' inch perfect cross.

City were pressing all the time with Reid and Hodnett combining to great effect down the right. Griffin had a wonderful chance to mark his debut with a goal when a defensive slip found him clear on goal, but his low shot lacked precision and was well saved. You had the feeling City had to start converting this pressure into goals soon, and finally after half an hour that started to happen. It was another good City move with Webb's jinking run finding Sykes on the wing, and his cross carved apart the Mangotsfield defence and was tucked in at close range by Jason Welsh sliding in at the near post.

Our lead didn't last long though as the home side revived and pulled level. City had to defend a free kick and were perhaps rusty having seen little action since the opening few minutes. Hamblin seemed to have dozed off and lost his man, leaving Dave Morrisey free to run at the far post and head home the cross.

City deserved to be ahead and in fairness got themselves right back into the saddle with a blistering attack that got exactly the finish it merited. Webb worked the bal down the right wing and picked up Danny Hodnett's bursting overlapping run. His cross was inch perfect and was met at full pelt by a diagonal run across the box from Welsh who met it with a finely judged volley that left Steve Book standing. It took Welsh into double figures for the season but was also the best goal of his time with the club.

There was more to come from City as they completed our best attacking 45 minute attacking display since the Merthyr Boxing Day game. Reid went close as he nearly reached a Stonehouse cross at the near post, the attack set up as Mustoe crashed through two Maggots challenges in midfield. However the third goal came soon after as Jamie Reid smashed in another wonderful Sykes cross to cap a great first half.

It looked as if things could get even better for us early in the second half as City seemed set to carry on and turn this into a rout. You know things are going your way when Alex Sykes starts using his right foot. Another slick passing move saw Reid make space on the right and feed the ball inside to Webb who split the defence with a well crafted pass to Sykes. It looked as if the chance had gone as the winger struggled to dig it out of the mud, but with the defenders descending on him Syko prodded the ball half a yard wide and produced a delicate curling shot that dropped out of the reach of the keeper. And wasn't he pleased with it - and didn't he want to make sure everyone knew that it was done with his 'useless' right foot.

At that point it looked more a question of how many, and little did we know how much we'd need that fourth. However seasoned City fans should have known better than to take anything for granted from our side, and especially this fixture. Slowly the Maggots began to fight their way back into the game, in no small part due to the introduction of young live wire Aaron Cornwall. His runs were causing problems on the muddy surface and when Mustoe was booked for tripping him he was about the fourth City player to do so in as many minutes. This time though Cornwall got up and thumped a free kick goalward, it looked as if Ray Johnston had it covered but somehow the ball sailed through his arms and into the net.

Griffin had a couple of chances to make the game safe, almost reaching a brave charging Welsh run and cross, but now our chances were few and far between with the front pair having to work hard to win the long balls being booted their way by an increasingly under pressure City defence. By and large we were holding out OK with Hamblin making a couple of important blocks, but all of a sudden Cornwall got away and this time a frightened set of City defenders stood off the youngster. It was a fatal error and he finished with a low drive into the bottom corner.

The nerves were jangling now, but in fairness we held out well. Paul Stonehouse did a fine job of unfussily clearing his lines on the left while Webb and Mustoe were industrious in midfield. Mangotsfield had far more of the ball but were struggling to get through what were now massed ranks of very muddy looking City players. We looked like we were closing the game down well, but in the closing minutes things were looking frayed as Neil Mustoe was obviously struggling with an injury and the ref seemed intent on playing endless injury time.

The home team were getting frustrated and things came to a head when Cornwall took a spectacular tumble over Tom Hamblin on the edge of the City box and promptly got booked for diving. It was impossible to see what had happened amidst all the mud, but the player's continued angry protests saw him red carded as the ref blew his final whistle. Cornwall was dragged away from the ref by his team mates, but the celebrations were all for the City fans and players at a hard won and memorable victory.


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
City vs Maggots Danny Hodnett for City
Webb prepares to start the move that ends with the opener. Foot of Hod? The new right-back impresses.
In the Bristol mud and rain.
Reid on ball at Cossham Street.
Maggots Alex Ball beats Welsh and Griff to a high ball in the mud. As the skies and mood darkens Reid leads a rare second half attack.

Team Selection:

Chris Thompson missed the game with flu but the realy mystery surrounded the absence of Aaron Wilson who is rumoured to have either left or be having some sort of teenage crisis depending on who you spoke to. Jimmy Cox may have been on the bench but was noticeably sans boots, apparently having hurt his shoulder in a scrap with his brother... no, really.

On the brighter side was the reappearance of right-back Danny Hodnett after his recall by Worcester, and new signing Scott Griffin who has joined his home club having walked out of Cirencester.

TBBM Said:

"I can tell you're not trying because your the only one not covered in mud."

Tactics Board:
With Hodnett in the side we instantly looked to have much better shape and you can see the better balance of having a defensively minded right-sided player in the team. By the end we were really playing the under rated 9-1-0 formation, but the lack of fit options in the squad were underlined as the obviously crocked Mustoe was forced to soldier on for the seemingly endless period of injury time with no replacement forthcoming from the sub bench.
Anorak Corner:
This is a fixture famed for goals - our last seven meetings have averaged nearly six goals a game so this was all to be expected.
T-Ender Verdict

No doubt that this was a far better City performance than many in recent weeks. The side had a far better shape to it with this line-up, with the addition of Hodnett on the right in particular adding some natural disciplined width on that side of the pitch. Griffin too seems a good signing and although he missed a good chance his overall link-up play and willingness to dig in bodes well for the future. At points in the first half we were playing some fantastic passing moves, especially given the mud and rain.

Whilst we must guard against despair at our recent home defeats we must also guard against thinking this victory has seen us out of the woods and charging towards glory. We need to show this same spirit consistently if we're to put some distance between ourselves and the bottom pack, and of course we need to play like this at home. Whilst we kept our shape better in this game we still let in another soft three goals, and with nerves jangling we again looked capable of throwing away a commanding lead. At least this result shows some renwed grit but until we grasp the skill of closing down results we'll continue to rely on the spirit of the Alamo to end games with three points. This was much, much better - but we still need to do more.

Highlights Elsewhere:

Prior to this mastch we were just one point off the bottom fourth side Cheshunt, and this win takes us up one place above Rugby. This was one of only three games to survive another wet winter weekend, but Bath City retained top spot with a draw at promotion chasing King's Lynn with a certain Chris Holland getting the visitors goal. In the only other game to go ahead Team Bath closed the gap at the top to go third with an impressive 3-0 win over Yate.

Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report

Further Reading:

BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: P.Brown (Bridgwater) City League Pos: 14th (+1) City Form: WLWLLL

Ref Watch:

6 - Missed a few things but at least he didn't get conned all the time.

Attendance: 282    
Conditions: bucketing down on heavy pitch
Lorry Score:
Match Report:
by t-towel

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