City’s defensive frailties were foremost again as they threw a two goal lead away to finish their Twerton Park campaign with a 2-2 draw against Cambridge City. A first half goal from Martin Paul, his 30th of the season, after Cambridge keeper Davis parried Jimmy Fraser’s deflected cross, gave City the lead. Mike Davis fired in the second goal 10 minutes after the break and City appeared to be coasting, but a wayward Fraser pass allowed the Lilywhite’s back into the game. Wilde beat Mark Clode for pace and Wilkin converted his cross. The equaliser came with ten minutes remaining, Wilde robbed Clode and comfortably beat Leigh Watts in the City goal. The performance mirrors City’s season perfectly and leaves even a top three finish on the line after Burton’s victory at Weymouth and Margate’s 4-0 hammering of relegated Gloucester City.
City slumped to their sixth defeat in nine games, this time at the hands of mid-table Weymouth. Despite dominating possession for long periods City handed the home side three goals – the first coming after just 19 seconds. An attempted Elliot Jackson clearance was charged down, giving Laws the simple task of rolling the ball into an unguarded net. The Terras then took half an hour to produce another worthwhile attack, but from the resultant corner a free header made it two nil. In between City had produced neat approach work but too often the final ball was poor. Only a couple of penalty shouts and a Martin Paul header threatened to pull a goal back and ten minutes after the interval Laws second goal put the game beyond City’s reach.
City boosted their hopes of finishing runners-up in the league with a point from a 1-1 draw with Newport County. The Welsh side had a number of chances to comfortably win the game but the only time they managed to beat Jackson was from Donovan’s close range shot after 24 minutes. City’s equaliser came 11 minutes after the interval, Mehew breaking clear down the left and centering for Fraser to drive home a low shot. This came against the run of play and Newport continued to look the likelier to win the game but another excellent performance in defence by Jon Holloway helped keep the scores level. Burton’s defeat at Ilkeston means City lie a point behind the Brewers, as Boston clinched the championship with a 3-1 win over Grantham.
After three postponements (four if you include the cancelled game that clashed with a Doc Martens representative match) City’s finally met Crawley at the Sussex side’s Broadfield Stadium last night – and will have wished the weather had prevented the game again – another second half collapse handing the home side a 4-1 victory. An even first period had finished all square after Scott Walker’s excellent 25-yard strike had cancelled out Payne’s penalty, but within 15 minutes of the restart City found themselves 3-1 down. An error by Elliot Jackson allowed Taylor to head Crawley back into the lead and then Wordsworth’s low shot put the game out of City’s reach. Anderson headed in the fourth and only the bar prevented Ugbah extending the lead further. The defeat means City can no longer catch Boston United and, baring a collapse of City proportions, the Lincolnshire side are all but Champions.
Paul Bodin has signed a new contract that will keep him at Twerton Park until the end of the 2001-02 season. The deal was initially offered to the former Welsh international back in December, and means he joins Colin Towler and Mark Clode in committing himself to the club for at least next season.
A Mike Davis goal eight minutes from time gave City their first league win in seven attempts, as they came from behind to beat Havant & Waterlooville by two goals to one. His low shot, following a poor back header, means Boston will have to wait until at least Tuesday before they confirm their place in the Conference. A low key first half ended with the home side taking the lead from the penalty spot. A late challenge by Campagna was punished by Wood from 12 yards, sending Jackson the wrong way. City levelled around the hour mark with Cox’s first goal for the club. He deflected Davis shot past Havant keeper Bibbo and, despite looking several yards offside, the goal stood. Even without all of their first choice back line City looked solid at the back, with Jon Holloway outstanding in an unusual centre back role.
City captain Colin Towler will miss the remainder of the season after breaking a bone in his foot in the Somerset Premier Cup win over Bristol Manor Farm. On a more positive note, Mark Clode has signed a new one year contract to keep him at Twerton Park until the end of the 2000-01 season.
City progressed comfortably into the final of the Somerset Premier Cup with a 4-0 victory over Screwfix Premier Division side Bristol Manor Farm at The Creek last night. After a first half where both sides struggled to come to terms with the difficult conditions, City took control within six minutes of the restart. Martin Paul headed home Mike Davis’ free kick two minutes into the half and then scored his second from the penalty spot, after his header was handled on the line. Rutter received his marching orders for the infringment and after this it was just a case of how many City would score. Vickerman slid in the third after keeper Hines parried Cox’s effort and Fraser’s low shot, from Cox’s pass, made it four. Only a series of excellent saves from Hines prevented City from, at least, doubling the score. City will face either Taunton Town or Bristol City in the final at Clevedon’s Hand Stadium on Tuesday 9 May.
After four successive defeats even a home draw is an improvement, so City will have welcomed the 1-1 result against Margate with a sense of relief, if not actual pleasure. The goals came at the beginning of each half. Four minutes into the game a long clearance by Elliot Jackson was helped onto Martin Paul by David Mehew. Birdy still had a lot to do, but he went past two defenders before firing a left foot shot into the net. City had already had one let off at the beginning of the second half, Collins lobbing weakly wide after hesitation by Jackson, before Mohamed Taka Loga Bashi rolled home the equaliser. Both sides had chances to win the game, with Skidmore heading a Walker free kick against the post and Paul and Tisdale seeing long range efforts fly inches wide. The visitors twice had the ball in the net through Bashi only for a linesman’s flag to halt the celebrations. The draw keeps City in third place after Burton drew with Tamworth, with Boston now just one win away from the title after their 6-1 demolition of Gloucester.
The weather has denied City the opportunity to halt their poor run of form, as tonight’s clash with Crawley Town has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The clubs will make a fourth attempt to play the match on Tuesday 18 April.
City’s season hit a new low point as they saw a 1-0 half time lead disappear to crash to their fourth successive defeat, this time by four goals to one against King’s Lynn. Wearing the red second strip of their hosts, after a kit mix-up saw them arrive with only their yellow change kit, they went ahead after 24 minutes when Martin Paul headed Scott Walker’s free kick into the net. A great chance for David Mehew should have doubled the lead but at the interval there were few signs of the capitulation to come. However, within six minutes of the restart City were behind. First, Jon Holloway’s poor back header allowed Puttnam a clear run on goal and he fired a left foot shot past Jackson, then Palmer bundled a corner home after Harrington had blocked Robinson’s initial effort. The confidence had visably drained from City and it was no surprise when the Linnetts wrapped the game up on 78 minutes, Mills curling home a 20 yard free kick in off the right hand post. Puttnam grabbed his second with a couple of minutes remaining to give the scoreline an unfair slant, but City were left to reflect on how quickly their title ambitions had vanished. Burton’s victory at Grantham means City drop to third place and Boston moved a step nearer the championship with a point in their 2-2 draw at Weymouth.