A gritty competent defensive display did much to restore confidence
after a heavy midweek defeat, but whilst City worked hard for a
point against newly promoted Bashley this was a game of few chances
with both defences winning out against either side's more creative
instincts. Gloucester's reshuffled defence performed well against
a highly rated attacking team, but for all of that there will be
a disappointment that we failed to create many genuine chances against
the home side - even in the last ten minutes when Bashley were reduced
to ten men after their skipper felled Whittington. The New Forest
might have been a wonderful day out on a rare English summer's day,
but the game didn't quite catch the mood.
Bashley exerted early pressure with Sawyer gewtting several chances
to show his agility, tipping a swerving free kick over the bar and
doing even better to gather in a low drive from Justin Keeler as
his shot whistled through a crowded penalty box.
City went closest when Webb seemed to have opened the scoring,
but having rounded the keeper and slid the ball towards the net
he was thwarted by a fine bit of defensive anticipation by Peter
castle who had ran back to provide cover and cleared off the line.
City survive big penalty appeal when Chris Thompson (Allard?) appeared
to have put out an arm to block a low cross from Dave Wakefield
on the Bashley right, but the ref waved away the home side's indignant
Second half City's turn to be denied a free kick by the referee
when the otherwise solid Matt Parnell seemed to have allowed Whitts
to turn him and get goalside. The tackle on the edge of the area
came through the back of the striker and didn't seem to win the
ball, but the ref waved away the City player's demands for a probable
Little room for doubt with ten minutes left when Bashley were reduced
to ten men. Griffin was able to take advantage of a mis-kick by
Chris Ferrett, and his flick was picked up by the quicksilver run
of Michael Whittington. The City striker looked goalbound but he
was uncermoniously tripped by Bashley skipper Peter Gazzard just
before he entered the penalty area. It was the most cynical of fouls
and the player could muster little complaint as the ref brandished
her red card at him.
Frustrating waste of the free kick and
T-Ender Match Snaps
|Bashley's Chris Knowles stretches in
||Syko edges himself space to cross on
the City left.
|Whitts latches on to a second half knock
|| City go close as the Bash keeper misses
a late corner.
After Tuesday's dreadful second half collapse and 4-1 defeat
at Supermarine Tim Harris felt the need to weald the knife and
with a good squad to work with the message is clear: no-one can
take it easy or let their standards drop. Jamie Reid and Lyndon
Tomkins were those perhaps a little unlucky to be picked out from
such a generally poor team display, their places taken with first
appearances of the season for Alex Allard and Chris Thompson.
With Marc Richards struggling with a slight strain the midfield
reshuffled with Sykes restored to the left and Webb on the right
flank, creating space for Michael Whittington to make his first
start as a full City player up front. It was a more attacking
formation, seemingly with a little more width and pace up front.
City fans chatting in bar: Did you see the wild ponies outside
Passing Bashley fan: That's our reserve side...
On the positive side
Tim Harris must have been delighted at how well his defence did,
featuring two changes and with both Allard and Thommo doing well
enough to put real pressure on the other players competing for back
four spots. There were also pleasing signs of Whitts gaining some
sharpness and his pace picked up several free kicks and left Bashley
reduced to ten men as his run forced a desperate foul. The main
worry will be a lack of real attacking zest in the final third.
Syko is carrying a knock and it showed today, while Webb kept drifting
infield and we rarely threatened to stretch Bashley on the flanks.
Against a big physical defence we struggled to get the ball on the
ground and pull them out of position, but should have the personnel
to do that with ease.
With a bright attack and all too often a porous defence we can
perhaps take some twisted pride in a nil-nil draw away from home.
Last season's goalless draw at home to Cirencester was our only
league game of the campaign in which neither side hit the net.
At the end of the season
this might well look like a very good point. It may not have been
a great football match but the team did manage to regain their work
ethic and fighting spirit after the midweek capitulation at Supermarine.
When you look at Bashley's home goalscoring record the fact we managed
to keep a clean sheet and limit them to so few opportunities can
be a source of some pride. This was a solid hard working defensive
display from the while side. The slight nagging concern for Tim
Harris will be that by the same token we lacked a certain degree
of thrust and imagination to carve out chances for ourselves. Without
Tuesday night's disappointment we'd have taken a draw here, and
this has to be seen as a point gained
The SLP's only 100% record bit the dust today as Brackley could
only manage a 1-1 draw with fellow newly promoted Midland Division
club Bromsgrove Rovers. Team Bath continue to show some ominous
signs of the early season form that usually eludes the students,
running up a thumping 4-0 home win over Hitchin with youngster
Josh Llewellyn getting the two opening goals. They top the early
season table with Hemel also living up to pre-season expectations
in second spot thanks to a 3-1 home win over Rugby, former Bedford
and Hitchin captain Josh Sozzo wrapping up the scoring.
Of the fancied pre-season teams Halesowen have been a little
off the pace, but they picked up a 3-2 home win against Cirencester,
but big-spending Corby's new side continues to struggle to gel
and are still yet to win with two early goals enough to give Mangotsfield
a fine 2-1 away win at the Rockingham Triangle. Bedford are also
finding life back down in the SLP hard to adapt to, slumping comprehensively
to a second defeat with a 3-0 reverse at Tiverton who ran in all
their goals in the second half.