City and Hungerford draw little comfort from goalless stalemate

City winless run increased to six games this afternoon as they were held to a goalless draw by Hungerford Town at a warm and sunny Bulpit Lane. Despite never being out-fought by the relegation-threatened home side, City lacked the quality in the final third of the pitch to secure the much needed victory, it taking them until the final 10 minutes of the game to test Crusaders keeper Luyambula by which time Romans no.1 Ryan Clarke had produced three top class saves. City’s cause was not helped the rock hard, uneven playing surface as they dominated possession early on but failed to turn this into clear sights of goal. On 14 minutes a rare venture into City’s half led to Hungerford winning a free-kick 30-yards from goal which saw Clarke turn Leigh-Gilchrist’s shot over the bar at full-stretch. Andy Watkins’ rising shot ten minutes later briefly lifted hopes for the City fans, making up the majority of the 576 crowd, but just past the half-hour mark Clarke had to be alert again, blocking Lynch’s shot. Playing down the slope after the break Hungerford began to pose more of a concerted attacking threat and City responded by introducing Ryan Brunt on 55 minutes. Before he had a chance to influence the game Clarke produced the pick of his triumvirate of saves, turning Leigh-Gilchrist’s effort over the bar after he’d broke clear on goal. With both sides knowing that a draw would do little for their ambitions at the opposite ends of the table they both defied the testing conditions to look for the decisive goal. Robbie Cundy’s looping 81st minute header finally drew a save from Luyambula before in stoppage time he claimed Freddie Hinds flick and the saw a Tom Smith shot fly past his right-hand post. For Hungerford Foxley fired a free-kick just past the upright and Hargreaves blazed over the bar when set up well Whittingham. In the end neither side had done enough to win the low quality game and, with Concord Rangers and St Albans City winning – the latter in the 98th minute of their game against East Thurrock United, the play-off battle tightened up considerably. And with Billericay Town, Dartford and Wealdstone all in action tomorrow the picture could become even less clear before City are back on the pitch at home to Oxford City on Monday.