On the eve of City’s final league game of the season against Welling United that will decide whether they enter the Conference play-offs, manager Gary Owers has signed a new contract that will see him remain at Twerton Park until the end of the 2005/06 season. The former Sunderland and Bristol City midfielder also becomes City’s first full-time boss since Paul Bodin, reflecting that Owers role will extend well beyond just the on-field concerns.
City will go into tomorrows match with almost a full squad to choose from. Long-term absentees Mike Trought and Andy Williams (both knee) are still sidelined but Jim Rollo (gashed shin) and Justin Shuttlewood (flu) should be available for selection.
Should City secure a play-off place the first game will take place on Monday 3 May. If the game is away the supporters club will be running a coach. Details will be available on the website from about 7pm or by contacting Martin Powell on 01373 301143.
City now know that victory over Welling United in their final game will guarantee them a Conference play-off place. Tonight’s match between Saturday’s opponents and Hednesford Town finished 2-1 to the Wings leaving City in 18th place. The other match tonight saw Chelmsford City climb up to 19th position after a 3-1 victory over Merthyr Tydfil but that does not affect the fact that City’s destiny is now in their own hands.
City’s 2004-05 home kit that will hopefully grace the Conference South Division has been announced and shows a slight variation on the traditional black and white stripes. Once again made by Italian sportwear company Errea the kit features stripes that meet at a point in the centre of the shirt. To see the design in it’s full glory go here. The name that will grace the front of the shirt will be decided at the sponsors draw on Wednesday 26 May.
Scott Partridge fired his second hat-trick in successive games to help City overwhelm in-form Havant & Waterlooville by four goals to one at a sun-drenched Westleigh Park this afternoon. The stunning victory leaves a play-off berth tantalisingly within City’s reach although they will need a victory over Welling United next Saturday to guarantee a place. The meeting with Havant got off to a perfect start when after just 4 minutes Partridge raced clear of a static Hawks defence to beat Howells with ease. The home side’s response was spirited but they never looked capable of finding a way through City’s rock solid back line. By contrast City, and Partridge in particular, were looking threatening with every attack and it was no surprise when they doubled their lead on 30 minutes. Partridge was released by Russell Milton and though he mis-hit his shot it was turned into his own net by former City defender Masson. Once a City boy, always a City boy, eh Alec? The second half began with Havant pulling a goal back, substitute Taylor heading home, and it looked for a time like it would be difficult last 35 minutes. However, any nerves were settled on the hour when Partridge’s close range finish, after Howells could only parry Gary Owers’ thunderbolt, restored the three goal lead. And three minutes later the game was won with Partridge becoming the first City player to record back-to-back league hat-tricks since 1960 with another poachers goal when Milton’s cross dropped perfectly to him. A video clip of this goal can be found here.
City have announced the price of season tickets for the 2004-05 season. As usual if you purchase a ticket before a certain date you will receive a discount. This year the important date is Friday 14 May and purchases made by this will save £10 on both terrace and stand tickets. Matchday admission prices have yet to be confirmed as, I imagine, these will depend on whether City are in the new Conference set-up or still in the Southern League. For all prices refer to the table below.
To download an application form just click here (word document).
City have also confirmed that, after the success of the last two years, the draw to become the club’s main sponsor will take place on Wednesday 26 May. To get full details of the Sponsors Draw contact Quentin Edwards or Sandra Young at the club on 01225 423087.
Saturday saw City give their still tenuous play-off hopes a huge boost with a five-goal hammering of fellow strugglers Grantham Town. The star of the show was top scorer Scott Partridge as he grabbed his second hat-trick in City colours to fire the side to their biggest league win since January 2000. Once he had shot City ahead on 24 minutes there was only one winner in this vital clash. The former Weymouth striker then turned provider, supplying the pass that sent Russell Milton clear seven minutes later. His low centre was turned past his own keeper by McCaul. Then four minutes before the interval he crossed himself to give Jamie Cook a simple tap-in. The visitors did pull a goal back from Clarke’s 54th minute header but when Ziccardi got a hand to, but failed to stop, Partridge’s 70th minute shot City were three goals ahead again. Comical defending on 84 minutes allowed Frankie Bennett to cross and Partridge head his his third and City’s fifth. The win lifted City into the final play-off position, although three of the teams below them have got at least one game in hand.
Manager Gary Owers has escaped a two-match suspension for his sending off against Chippenham Town two weeks ago but only after a successful appeal against the ban. Initially City looked set to be without the Owers for the vital matches against Grantham Town and Havant & Waterlooville after the referee in the local derby reported that he sent Owers off as a player, for foul and abusive language directed at a linesman, rather than a manager. However, City immediately appealed against the decision and the FA have agreed that the 35-year old midfielder was acting in a managerial capacity when sent from the dugout. He will now be charged with this offence at a later date and is likely to receive a touchline ban and/or fine.
City withstood a second half onslaught to claim a vital 1-0 victory over Newport County at Twerton Park this afternoon. They had led from the eighth minute when Jamie Cook’s 25-yard effort flew into the corner of the net. The Welsh side pressed City back for long periods after this but found the City defence in superb form. The stars of the show were Justin Shuttlewood and Sam Bailey. The reserve keeper had a faultless game and in front of him Bailey was outstanding. City could have grabbed a second goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time when Scott Partridge crashed a shot against the bar.
Results elsewhere where mixed but Chippenham’s 6-1 embarrassment at home to Dorchester means City are now just a single point off the last play-off zone place although they have played more games than several teams around them.
City’s Conference play-off hopes were left hanging by a thread after they failed to beat a disappointing Tiverton Town side at Ladysmead this afternoon. It took a fluke goal with four minutes remaning by Scott Partridge to level the scores in yet another game where City failed to beat poorer opposition. The first half had been almost all City but only a Partridge header that flew past the angle of post and crossbar every threatened Tivvy’s goal. The second half was only seven minutes old when an unmarked Mudge fired past Justin Shuttlewood – in goal in place of Paul Evans after he aggravated his groin injury in the pre-match warm-up. City never gave up hope and threw everything they could at the Devon side and when Partidge’s ball into the box eluded everyone to find the net they were level. However, they couldn’t find a vital second goal and with only Grantham Town of the bottom sides failing to pick up at least one point the result leaves City back on the foot of the table and four points off the final play-off position with just four games remaining.
It’s the time of the year where all users of this web site and fans forum get a chance to vote for their player of the season. Last year’s winner was Andy Williams, so to cast your vote on his successor just click here. I will announce the results in a few weeks time. And unlike certain web pages there is no actual trophy or presentation for the winning player. I do still have a little bit of dignity left.
A goal in the last minute denied City a desperately needed victory in this afternoon’s local derby against Chippenham Town. Martin Paul (who else!) converted a close range header from a Scott Walker cross to cancel out Scott Partridge’s penalty midway through the second half. City dominated the first half but, in common with so many games this season, a failure to convert their chances cost them in the end. Partridge shot wide when clean through and Jamie Cook saw an effort cleared off the line after Gary Owers won a high ball with former City keeper Mark Hervin. Owers limped from the action early in the second half and within minutes was sent from the bench for comments directed at the linesman. The officials were frustrating both sides with a number of bizarre decisions and on 62 minutes he incensed the home contingent by awarding a penalty when Cook went down under a Ellis Wilmot challenge. Partridge made no mistake from the spot and City finally had the lead they deserved. However, the Bluebirds began to throw more players forward and City were forced to defend deeper and deeper. Half-fit keeper Paul Evans pulled off a superb double save to protect the lead only for Paul’s header to beat him with just a minute remaining.
Gary Owers was a busy man yesterday as the transfer deadline day arrived with five players putting pen to paper, although only two are new faces to Twerton Park. Looking beyond the final run-in to the season goalkeeper Paul Evans and teenage centre-back Sam Bailey have signed deals to keep them with City until the end of next season. The third familiar face is Jamie Cook who changed his mind about leaving City and has extended his loan deal until the end of the season. The two new faces are Weymouth left-back Graeme Power, who played for City in pre-season, and Bristol City youngster Grant Monelle.