December 2005

City end year on downbeat note with Halesowen defeat (31/12/05)

City suffered their second defeat over the Christmas and New Year period, going down by two goals to one at Halesowen Town this afternoon. They received a setback before kick-off when Andy Sandell failed a late fitness test and things got even worse when Forinton fired the Halesowen ahead within 60 seconds of the start. This was the worst possible start against one of the most negative side’s in the league and, true to form, they were content from then on to sit back on this lead. The closest City came to an equaliser before the interval was when Steve Jones’ header was cleared off the line. The second half followed a similar pattern – as had the teams meeting at Twerton Park early in the season – with City dominating possession but the Yeltz happy to slow the game down at any opportunity. However, with ten minutes left a corner fell to Phil Walsh, after Matt Coupe’s shot had hit Scott Partridge, and he bundled home the equaliser. This looked to have earned a deserved point for City but on 87 minutes a corner was only half cleared and Pope fired a shot into the roof of the net.

Lacklustre City crash to first ever defeat against local rivals Chippenham (28/12/05)A second half penalty and a mix-up between Paul Evans and Adie Harris was enough to condemn City to their first ever defeat against Chippenham Town in yesterday’s derby clash at Hardenhuish Park. The first half was a largely forgottable affair with neither side looking they the play-off contenders they have pretensions to be, the closest strike coming from an Herring free-kick that Evans saved well. After the break the game did improve a bit but a goal still looked unlikely. This changed just past the hour mark when former City striker Allison went down under the slightest contact from Andy Sandell, the referee pointed to the spot and Herring sent Evans the wrong way. City should have levelled 13 minutes from time but Scott Partridge could only shoot tamely straight at Perrin and five minutes later Chippenham put the result beyond doubt. Allison’s poor touch should have allowed Evans to claim the ball but Harris’ attempt to clear knocked it straight into the path of Badman who had the easy task of walking it into the net.

Relish boosts squad numbers with capture of Bluebird’s keeper Astley (22/12/05)City manager John Relish has strengthened his slightly threadbare looking squad with the capture of Chippenham Town keeper Chris Astley. The 19-year old former Filton Academy player has recently been on loan at Western League Calne Town and will provide cover for City’s no.1 Paul Evans. City have already had to field four different keepers this season, but with Andy Fisher and Mark Bryant no longer with the club, and Justin Shuttlewood just short-term cover during Evans’ recent suspension, City have been looking for more permanent cover.

City’s ‘home’ meeting with tenant’s Team Bath, originally scheduled for Tuesday 7 March but cancelled due to the Somerset Premier Cup clash with Mangotsfield United that was due to be played on the same date, has been restored after the cup match was brought forward a week.

Former player of the season Williams in surprise City return (20/12/05)Former player of the year Andy Williams has made a surprise return to Twerton Park 18 months after taking a complete break from football to recover from a long-term knee injury. The former Welsh international has been training with City since last month and could be just two weeks away from a return to action. The 28-year old signed from Swindon Town in September 2001 and played 94 games for City, scoring 8 times, in the next three seasons, and he won the player of the year award for the 2002-03 campaign. However, injury sidelined him for most of the next season, including a hernia problem that required an operation that the City Supporters Club contributed nearly £1500 toward, and he was finally forced away from football in June 2004.

City have made a number of changes to their fixture list during the opening months of 2006. They will now face King’s Lynn at Twerton Park on Saturday 28 January with the original fixture against Yate Town on that date moved to Saturday 25 March, which was previously free. They have also brought the Somerset Premier Cup quarter-final meeting with Mangotsfield United forward a week to Tuesday 28 February (ko 7.45pm).

Seven days of Christmas signal City approach for Mangotsfield midfielder (20/12/05)City have put in a seven-day notice of approach for Mangotsfield United midfielder Chris Lane. The pacy youngster has been at Cossham Street since June 2004 when he joined from Western League Brislington but is not currently under contract allowing City’s approach. However, the Southern League Premier Division side look determined to try to hold on to Lane and it remains to be seen if City can prise him away from the Bristol-based club.

Stoppage time strikes seal comfortable Twerton Park success (17/12/05)A goal in the stoppage time of both halves was enough to see City to a comfortable 2-0 win over Cheshunt this afternoon at Twerton Park. In an entertaining first half both sides struck the crossbar, Barry McConnell the unfortunate City player, but whereas this was as close as the visitors would come, City should have had the game sewn up by the interval. Andy Sandell and Scott Partridge were both denied by excellent saves from Cheshunt keeper Peat and several others chances came and went. Just when it looked as if the game would reach the break level Phil Walsh rose highest to head home a Sandell corner. The goal forced Cheshunt to be more adventurous in the second half but apart from a couple of self-inflicted nervy moments in the City box they never looked capable of getting back into the game. It took City until the 90th minute, however, to secure the three points when Walsh capped his best outing in a City shirt by crossing for substitute Craig Davidge to head into the net.

This afternoon’s win was midfielder Barry McConnell’s final appearance for City after he agreed to sign for Conference strugglers Tamworth.

Paul completes switch to Southern League rivals Mangotsfield United (12/12/05)As expected Martin Paul has completed a move to Southern League rivals Mangotsfield United. Despite interest from Conference South sides Weston Super Mare and Newport County, Birdy has choosen Cossham Street as his destination in search of regular first team football. In a similar agreement to one made when he started his second spell with City after switching from Chippenham Town, Paul will not be allowed to face his former club when City meet United in their league clash on Saturday 14 January. He will be eligible for the Errea Cup meeting ten days later as that competition does not have any cup-tied restrictions, although he will miss the Somerset Premier Cup clash in March for that reason.

City manager John Relish will face his former side Merthyr Tydfil for the first time on Tuesday 17 January at Penydarren Park following the rearrangement of this fixture.

Davidge arrives in nick of time to help end Twerton Park goal search (10/12/05)Substitute Craig Davidge produced a flash of class to help City finally overcome a resolute Grantham Town team determined to frustrate their hosts at Twerton Park this afternoon. With his first meaningful involvement he flew past the visitors full-back and provided a perfect low cross for Scott Partridge to convert from close range. Two minutes later Partridge’s stunning dipping 20-yard shot made it 2-0 and secured City’s first home league victory since October 11. Prior to this it had been another familiar afternoon for the City faithful as a visiting side arrived at Twerton with no attacking ambition worthy of the name and, for all City’s possession, they rarely looked like losing the goalless draw they so keenly desired. However, as the second half progressed City did begin to build up some pressure as Partridge and Tony Bird both went close and with fifteen minutes remaining the arrival of Davidge finally broke the deadlock.

Chris Holland’s loan spell with Weston Super Mare had been extended into a second month, although City now have the option of a 7-day recall clause.

Striker Martin Paul, who requested a move away from Twerton Park early this week, looks set to sign for Southern League rivals Mangotsfield United.

Birdy puts in transfer request after his patience finally runs out (7/12/05)City striker Martin Paul has put in a transfer request after finally running out of patience in his search for a regular starting place in the City line-up. The 30-year old, who struck his 100th goal in City colours at Solihull toward the end of last season, has started just a single league game this season having to be content with two further outings in the Somerset Premier Cup where he has added another four goals to his ton.

City will face Mangotsfield United in the 4th Round of the Errea Cup after the Bristol side beat Merthyr Tydfil 4-1 last night in their delayed 3rd Round meeting. The game will take place at Cossham Street on Tuesday 24 January (ko 7.45pm).

One hundred and twenty seconds of madness cost City Hitchin victory (3/12/05)A double lapse of concentration in two second half minutes cost City victory this afternoon after they allowed Hitchin Town to come back from two goals down to salvage a point in a 2-2 draw. An Andy Sandell brace, after 22 and 59 minutes, looked to have set City on their way to an easy victory, with the Canaries looking second best in every area of the pitch. However, on 65 minutes an unmarked Lamacraft headed a corner past Justin Shuttlewood and before the celebrations had died down Sozzo’s close range finish levelled the scores. City managed to regroup after this double setback and prevent the home side from completing the turnaround but despite the late introduction of Tony Bird and Martin Paul they couldn’t find a way to recover the two points they had lost in that moment of madness.

Midfielder Alex Sykes has joined Southern League rivals Gloucester City on loan in an effort to regain match fitness following his three-month layoff with a groin injury.

Captain Jon Holloway will miss next Saturday’s meeting with Grantham Town after receiving his fifth booking of the season against Yeading last week.

Shuttlewood goes from villan to hero to save City’s Errea Cup hopes (1/12/05)After gifting Tiverton Town a first half equaliser goalkeeper Justin Shuttlewood produced a series of stunning second half saves to help City to a 2-1 Errea Cup victory at the Devon side’s Ladysmead ground last night. His weak clearance allowed Mudge to level the scores five minutes before the interval after Scott Partridge had headed City in front on 14 minutes. City restored their advantage ten minutes after the break when Adie Harris fired home after Partridge had hit the post. This was the second time City’s top scorer had hit the upright, alongside a disallowed first half strike, and for a spell City produced some of their best football this season, carving through the home side at will. However, they failed to add to the scoring and had to be thankful for Shuttlewood as he denied Mudge twice and Nogan with incredible point-blank blocks in the closing 15 minutes.

With City’s progress in the Errea Cup their rearranged league meeting at Salisbury City has been put back a week to Tuesday 31 January (ko 7.45pm).

The draw for the quarter-final of the Somerset Premier Cup has been made and City will face a home tie with Southern League leaders Mangotsfield United. The game will take place on Tuesday 7 March (ko 7.45pm) which will mean the league meeting with Team Bath due to be played on that date will have to be rearranged.