Several hours of heavy rain caused the late postponement of today’s meeting between City and Merthyr Tydfil at Twerton Park. With water standing on large areas of the pitch the referee had no option to cancel the game just fifteen minutes before the scheduled 3pm kick-off. This is a scene being repeated across all almost the British Gas Business League Premier Division. Three other games (Gloucester v Yate, Mangotsfield v Chippenham, Tiverton v Team Bath) were also postponed and an incredible five matches (Cirencester v Corby – 17 mins, Halesowen v Clevedon – HT, Hitchin v Cheshunt – 50 mins, Maidenhead v Banbury – 15 mins, Wealdstone v King’s Lynn – HT) started but were abandoned due to waterlogged pitches. The team most affected by an abandonement has to be Hitchin, as they lead 2-0 in a game that a victory would have taken the top of the table. Doh!
As expected City will face Clevedon Town at the Hand Stadium on Tuesday 16 January in their rearranged Errea Cup 3rd Round tie. And the winners will face the 4th Round trip to Tiverton Town a week later.
Striker Arek Zarczynski looks to have played his final game for City after receiving an offer to join Israeli side Hapoel Ashkelon. The Polish forward scored seven times in thirteen starts and three substitute appearances after joining from Forest Green Rovers in October, his final goal a penalty against Farnborough Town in the FA Trophy. His departure once again leaves City with just two recognised strikers in Scott Partridge and Darren Edwards, and this may signal the return of Phil Walsh when his loan spell with Tiverton Town ends early next month.
City responded to their disappointing defeat at Hemel in emphatic style with a five-goal hammering of Team Bath at Twerton Park yesterday. In complete contrast to the Hemel match City took full advantage of early chances to race into a three goal lead within just sixteen minutes. The opening goal came after eight minutes when Team Bath keeper Chitty failed to hold a Scott Rogers free-kick and Gethin Jones – making his first start after six weeks sidelined with a knee injury – reacted quickest to slide the ball into the net. Three minutes late Steve Jones repeated his feat of last season against the University-based side, scoring a stunning strike from 30 yards that flew past the hapless Citty. City’s dream start was completed by Darren Edwards when he found himself free eight yards out and lobbed the ball home in the 16th minute. Team Bath had several chances to pull a goal back as the half progressed but found Paul Evans in impervious form and on the hour mark a great move involving Edwards and Scott Partridge saw the latter cross for Mark McKeever to head home number four. The fifth and final goal came from the penalty spot nineteen minutes from time, Lewis Hogg winning and converting the spot-kick, to record City’s biggest ever win over their tenant’s and maintain their record of having never lost to the full-time side.
City began their Christmas fixtures in the worse possible way this afternoon as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Hemel Hempstead. Their first away league defeat of the season – and only the second in the calendar year of 2006 – came via a mis-hit shot from Thomas that looped over Paul Evans after 32 minutes but, once again, City only had themselves to blame for not converting the chances they created. Chris Holland had a header cleared off the line and Scott Partridge suffered the same fate after shakey keeper Smith could only parry his first headed effort. Mark McKeever then fired over from close range, although the first half closed with only a stunning last-ditch tackle by Mike Green preventing the home side going two goals up. The second half saw Hemel content to disrupt and slow play down and City struggled to counter this approach. Darren Edwards headed straight at Smith and substitute Craig Davidge’s cross shot was also too close to the keeper. Inbetween these chances City’s afternoon was summed up when Partridge’s low shot beat Smith only to hit the inside of the post, roll along the line, hit the prone keeper on the back before he could gratefully fall upon it.
City have rearranged two of their three outstanding league games. They will travel to Maidenhead United on Tuesday 13 February (ko 7.45pm) and exactly one month later (Tuesday 13 March ko.7.45pm) comes the slightly shorter journey to Tiverton Town.
City could also make a trip to Ladymead in the Errea Cup following the draw for the 4th round. The winners of the 3rd tie between City and Clevedon Town will face Tivvy and this meeting is likely to be played on Tuesday 16 January, although this date has yet to be confirmed.
City were left with only themselves to blame as they exited the FA Trophy last night in a single goal extra-time defeat against Farnborough Town. The game should never have gone into the extra period as City created enough openings to have run out comfortable winners but, as in Saturday’s draw, they failed to turn them into goals. And they were made to pay for this when, midway through the first period of extra-time when Garness’ deflected shot looped over Paul Evans. Almost immediately after the goal thick fog descended on Twerton Park and the rest of the game was largley obscured from view. The first half had seen Arek Zarczynski shoot into the side netting, Chris Holland headed narrowly wide and Matt Coupe fire over from close range. Zarczynski also curled a 20-yard shot just past the post and only a ball that flew across the City six-yard box with no-one to apply the final touch caused City a nervous moment. The second half was even more one-sided, although an unmarked Charles did head a rare Farnborough attack against the bar, but time and again City got into an excellent position only to waste the final ball or shot. Mark McKeever, Zarczynski and Mike Green all wasted chances and then Partridge, taking advantage of a defender’s mistake, raced clear but saw his low shot hit keeper Scriven’s legs.
The draw for the last 32 of the FA Trophy has given the winners of tomorrow night’s replay between City and Farnborough Town a home tie with Braintree Town. The Essex side currently lie seventh in the Conference South and secured their place in the Trophy 2nd Round with a 3-0 win over Ashford Town (Middlesex) on Saturday and are managed by one of non-league’s biggest ‘characters’ George Borg. The tie will take place on Saturday 13 January.
Following their three wins out of three league matches over Wealdstone, Cirencester Town and Stamford in November City have been named GX Soccer Team of the Month.
For the third time in the FA Trophy this season City will face a replay after they drew 1-1 with Farnborough Town at Cherrywood Road this afternoon. They can feel somewhat unfortunate not to definitely be in the 2nd Round after they created enough clear-cut chances to have easily beaten the Conference South side. City started the game brightly but fell behind on nine minutes when a slip by Jim Rollo let in Garness to lift the ball past Paul Evans. Despite the dreadful pitch City continued to take the game to their higher league opponents, Scott Partridge, Matt Coupe and Arek Zarczynski all going close, although Farnborough did occasionally look dangerous on the break. Eight minutes into the second half City were level after a handball in the box gave them a penalty which Zarczynski confidently stroked home. This preceded City’s best period of the match but Partridge was twice denied by keeper Scriven and the closing stages saw the home side on top, the closest they came to stealing the victory seeing Coupe clear off his own goalline.
Player-coach Andrew York has left City after deciding to call time on his playing career. The 38-year old defender joined City in the summer of 2005 but only played 13 times (just once this season), although he was an unused substitute on 43 occasions, as he mainly undertook a coaching role alongside John Relish and Adie Britten. The highlight of his long career was playing for Barry Town during their domination of Welsh football and European exploits. He is unlikely to be replaced either in a playing or coaching capacity as City are currently slightly over their playing budget.
City winger Craig Davidge could be back playing as soon as the Boxing Day meeting with tenants Team Bath after revealing how lucky he was not to have suffered more serious injuries following his collision with a Twerton Park perimeter wall on Saturday. At first it was thought that he had broken his collar bone and dislocated his shoulder but these fears proved unfounded, although he was left with severe bruising and whiplash.
The return of Adie Harris in City colours was delayed until the weekend at the earliest after tonight Errea Cup meeting with Clevedon Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The midfielder had agree to rejoin City back in November but red-tape had prevented him playing before now, however a heavy downpour at around 5pm put paid to his comeback match. The game has been reshceduled for next Tuesday in place of the league clash at Maidenhead United, however this will be dependent on a positive scoreline in City’s FA Trophy tie against Franborough Town on Saturday.
Craig Davidge is back home and recovering from the injuries he received in his horror collision with a perimeter wall toward the end of yesterday’s match against Hitchin Town. The 22-year old suffered whiplash to his neck and impact injuries to his chest and his right shoulder, which is heavily bruised and swollen. He was released from hospital last night after treatment and is recovering at home but is still unclear how long he will be sidelined for.
City lost by two goals to one against Hitchin Town, and their place at the top of the British Gas Business League in the process, yesterday but it was a serious injury suffered by Craig Davidge that make the result a secondary concern. The winger had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes when, after a typical run and cross, he collided with the perimeter wall at the Bath End of Twerton Park. It was immediately apparent that he was in serious trouble and the game was stopped for 40 minutes while an ambulance was summoned and paramedics treated him on the side of the pitch before taking him away to the RUH. The game itself had been an entertaining encounter with City somewhat unfortunate not to have got something out of it. A Scott Rogers mistake on 22 minutes had allowed French to race clear and put Hitchin 1-0 up before fourteen minutes later Scott Partridge turned home Matt Coupe’s pass to level the game. Both side had chances to score again after the break but it was the visitors who went ahead after 70 minutes, Dillon heading past Paul Evans. City had looked capable of equalising again until the break in play but after the game restarted only a mix-up between a Hitchin defender and keeper that almost let in Chris Holland came close to giving them a share of the points.
City have been denied the opportunity to open a four-point gap at the top of the British Gas Business League Premier Division by the postponement of this evening’s clash with Tiverton Town due to a waterlogged pitch. A win at Ladymead, where City have already tasted FA Cup success this season, would have lifted them four points ahead of second place Mangotsfield United after the Bristol-based side could only draw 1-1 against Cirencester Town last night.
The arrival of Darren Edwards has ended one stiker’s time with City and left another spending further time out on loan. Phil Walsh has joined Tiverton Town on a month’s loan after spending 3 months with Paulton Rovers on a similar deal. However, the spell will not begin until after the side’s meet tomorrow evening. And former Newport County forward John Phillips has moved to Yate Town. He made just one start and six substitute appearances in his short spell at Twerton Park, scoring a single goal against Taunton Town in the Somerset Premier Cup.
City have missed out on the signature of Taunton Town striker Steve Cook, after he choose to join local rivals Chippenham Town.
City’s top of the table meeting with Mangotsfield United scheduled for Tuesday 12 December has been put back until Tuesday 9 January. On the original date City will instead travel to Clevedon Town to play their Errea Cup 3rd Round tie.
In the FA Trophy 1st Round City will face a trip to Conference South side Farnborough Town after they beat Maidenhead United 3-0 in a 3rd Qualifying Round replay this evening.
Darren Edwards got his City career off to a goalscoring start with his new club’s second goal in this afternoon’s 3-0 Twerton Park victory over Halesowen Town. His poachers strike, after Chris Holland had headed a Mark McKeever corner goalwards, came on 64 minutes. Scott Partridge had put City ahead a minute after half time, lobbing the Yeltz keeper from Paul Evans’ long clearance that had put him clear on goal. City completed the routine win six minutes from time when Amos headed a corner past his own keeper under pressure from Matt Coupe. The first half had been a disappointing affair after City started brightly, Edwards just failing to get on the end of a low cross and Lewis Hogg shooting wide following a neat build-up. The visitors came back into the game after this but, with Coupe and Holland again outstanding, rarely troubled Evans’ goal. The three points stretch City’s lead at the top of the table to two points, with just Mangotsfield United of the other top seven sides also winning.
The search for a striker to partner Scott Partridge and shoot City to the Conference South appears to finally be over after they secured the signature of Yate Town forward Darren Edwards. The 26-year old who is currently the British Gas Business League Premier Division top scorer with eight goals has put pen to paper on a two-year deal. He scored 38 goals in just 58 appearances for the Bluebells and has also played for Mangotsfield United and Tiverton Town.
The arrival of Edwards could signal the end of Phil Walsh’s City spell. He is currently on loan at Paulton Rovers and has attracted interest from fellow British Gas Business League Premier Division side Tiverton Town.