December 2008

Weston Super Mare look to tempt Hogg back with £2K offer (31/12/08)

Blue Square South rivals Weston Super Mare are reported to have made a £2000 bid for City midfielder Lewis Hogg. The former Bristol Rovers player joined City from the Seasiders in June 2006 and has made 112 appearances for the club, scoring 23 times, although it has been his 36 yellow and 3 red cards that has made most headlines. After a solid start to the season Weston have begun to slip back toward their more usual relegation struggle – they have finished in the bottom three for the last two seasons but stayed up on technicalities – and new manager Andy Gurney looks to be splashing out to avoid a repeat this campaign.

If Hogg decides to return to Woodspring Stadium he will join up with former teammate and City legend Scott Partridge. The 34-year old striker, who scored 78 goals in 170 games for City between January 2004 and March 2008, has just signed for Weston Super Mare having spent the first half of this season playing for Sheffield FC in the Unibond League Division One South.

PREVIEW: Dorchester Town v CITY – Blue Square South (30/12/08)

City begin 2009 as they finished the previous year with a meeting against Dorchester Town. And they will hope to register a quick-fire double over the Dorset side following their straightforward 2-0 win last week. However, they are unlikely to face such a below-par performance from the Magpies as the tame Boxing Day surrender, with the hosts no doubt keen to show they are a better side than they demonstrated in the game. Equally, though, given City manager Adie Britton’s post-match comments, he will also be looking for a better showing from his side. He said, “We were pleased with the result today but not pleased with the performance. There was so much about us that I thought was bad. We started a bit slowly but they didn’t create any chances. As the first half went on we got better, got the goal and bossed it until half-time. We should then have given them more of the same in the second half. But for some reason we have gone out and we have been sloppy. We go on all the time about the team. I am really not interested in individual performances. I just feel there are a couple of people around the club who are more worried about their performance than they are about the team. When people turn up in numbers on a cold day you want to put on a bit of a show for them and we did not do that today”.

Complete record against Dorchester Town

City’s record at Dorchester is not great with just three victories in their 13 visits – and only one of these at their current Avenue Stadium home. Last season a Lewis Hogg strike rescued a point against the struggling side but this represented an improvement on their previous two trips. It was on August Bank Holiday in 2003 when a single goal was enough to give all three points to the home side and end City’s three-game unbeaten start to the season. A month less three years before the sides had met in a much more eventful encounter. City went into the game missing goalkeeper Sal Bibbo and defensive lynchpin and captain Colin Towler, which the Magpies took full advantage of to race into a 3-0 half-time lead. However, within just six minutes of the restart City were incredibly back on level terms. Martin Paul’s header made it 3-1 before Graham Colbourne reached a Mike Davis pass ahead of keeper Wells to flick home then struck a 20-yard equaliser. The game calmed down for a while after this before with seven minutes remaining Keeler shot past teenage keeper Liam Bull to restore Town’s lead. The drama was not yet over as City pressed for another equaliser. A Jon Holloway effort appeared to have crossed the line but the referee failed to spot this, only to redeem himself three minutes into stoppage time by awarding City a penalty for hand ball. There was one final twist though when Paul’s spot-kick was saved by Wells to give Dorchester a remarkable win.

City need to go back over ten years to recall their only win at the Avenue Stadium, which came in an FA Trophy 1st Round clash in the 1998-99 season. Mike Davis had given them the lead but Dorchester were pressing for an equaliser when an offside looking Gareth Loyden raced away to secure City a 2nd Round meeting with Rushden & Diamonds. Their other two away wins against Dorchester had come at their previous ground – also known as the Avenue and situated just a few hundred yards from their current stadium. They had played at this ground since 1929, but made the move to the new venue following Tesco’s interest in building a supermarket upon the land. Construction took place at a cost of £2.3 million, of which £110,000 was spent on the playing surface. The ground is located on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall who, when the supermarket took over the site, insisted that any development took place through them. Accordingly, it was designed by the Duchy’s architects, with the Duke of Cornwall himself – HRH the Prince of Wales – taking his usual keen interest in all things architectural. Quite what he made of the recent name change to the Jewson Stadium – after the builders’ merchants sponsored the ground – has not been revealed.

Having beaten the same opposition last New Year’s Day, City can record their fourth successive January 1 match of the year on Thursday. They helped revive any New Year hangover suffering City fans in 2007 with a single goal victory over local rivals Chippenham Town – Lewis Hogg scoring the decisive strike from the penalty spot. Two years before (in 2006 the first match took place on the 2nd) tenants Team Bath provided the opposition but were left to return to their ‘student’ digs on the wrong end of a 4-1 hammering, thanks to goals from John Williams, Alex Sykes, Jimmy Benefield and Luke Corbett. That win ended a run of eight New Year Day games without a win – including five in a row where City had failed to score (although in four of them so did the opposition, suggesting both clubs weren’t feeling in tip-top condition on the day).

City celebrate Boxing Day with well-timed Gilroy double (26/12/08)

City comfortably won the first part of their Christmas and New Year double-header against Dorchester Town at Twerton Park this afternoon thanks to two first-half strikes from top scorer Dave Gilroy. He struck on 25 minutes, latching onto Chris Holland’s header, then made it 2-0 six minutes before the break after Stuart Douglas’ shot had come back off the bar. City could even afford a missed penalty on 75 minutes, Gilroy wasting the chance to complete his hat-trick. The opening 20 minutes had seen the visitors play neat but ineffectual football as City started in their customary slow manner. They conceded a number of free-kicks around their box but the Magpies’ delivery was shocking and then from City’s first real attack Holland nodded a cross into the path of Gilroy and he drove the ball past Stewart. Gethin Jones and Holland were then denied by the Dorset side’s keeper but on 39 minutes Douglas broke clear, was unlucky to see his shot come back off the cross bar but the ball fell perfectly for Gilroy to slide it home. After the interval City became somewhat sloppy and Dorchester had the greater possession but it wasn’t until the 72nd minute they tested Steve Perrin when he easily saved Mudge’s scuffed effort. Five minutes later it should have been 3-0 when Douglas was felled in the box by Shelton only for Gilroy’s weak penalty to be saved by Stewart. City could had added to the scoreline after this but will be more than satisfied with the win and look for a repeat when the sides meet against on New Years Day.

PREVIEW: CITY v Dorchester Town – Blue Square South (23/12/08)

Thanks to the peculiarities of the Blue Square South fixture computer (fag packet?) and an away draw in the FA Trophy, City’s Boxing Day meeting with Dorchester Town is their one and only home match in December. So after three successive long trips to Braintree, Torquay and Welling, City will head back to Twerton Park to face the in-form Dorset side. They come into the game on the back of just one defeat in their last eight league outings that has seen them pull away from the relegation zone.

After a surprise win at Braintree on the opening day of the season, Dorchester then failed to win in their next eleven matches and looked to be facing a repeat of their relegation struggles from last season. The 2007-08 season was definitely one to forget for anyone connected with the Magpies, despite it starting on the positive note that the club would be going full-time for the campaign under the leadership of the Poole based property developer Eddie Mitchell. He brought in former player Shaun Brookes as a Director of Football (aka manager) in place of previous boss Mick Jenkins and when they had an impressive 3-0 win at St Albans City to begin the campaign it looked as if this bold move might pay off. However, when they failed to repeat this success in their next five outings it started to look like less positive. Two wins against Sutton United and Fisher followed but, with crowds well below the rumoured 1000 mark required to finance the full-time move, it all began to go horribly wrong and with just a solitary win at Cambridge City in their next 25 league matches they were left staring relegation back to the Southern League firmly in the face. The club was also dogged by rumours of financial problems and despite ending this run with a single goal win over Basingstoke Town in March it was too little too late and they finished the season in 21st place. Although (naturally) Weston Super Mare, who finished one place above them, were saved from relegation by Cambridge City’s demotion, there looked to be no such help for Dorchester. This all changed when Boston United were thrown out of the Blue Square North and Nuneaton Borough went into liquidation, so despite neither of these clubs playing in the Blue Square South it was the Magpies who benefited and retained their place in the division.

In spite of effectively managing the side to relegation Brookes was retained and began the task of avoiding a repeat scenario. Rather than repeating the ill-fated plan of using young player on a full-time basis the club brought in more experienced names. These included two who had been in the targets for City at one time or another. They had attempted to tempt striker Jamie Mudge to Twerton Park from Tiverton Town on several occasions without success, and he made the switch to The Avenue Stadium after a season with Western League side Dawlish Town. They also captured ex-Yeovil Town midfielder Nick Crittenden, who had been all set to sign for City before Dorchester’s reprieve gave him the chance to play at Blue Square South level but nearer his Weymouth home. Other signings included Torquay United’s record appearance holder Kevin Hill, Bashley striker Ryan Moss for a fee of £5000 and former AFC Bournemouth keeper Gareth Stewart.

They suffered a blow in the opening day win over Braintree with the loss of Ivan Forbes to injury for the season but once again it is off-field issues that have so far dogged their campaign. With chairman Mitchell reportedly pumping between six and seven thousand pounds a week into the club and crowds slightly down on last season’s already disappointing level there had been ongoing stories of a potential merger with another struggling Dorset side – and main rivals – Weymouth. Mitchell initially admitted that he had been examining the possibility of an amalgamation between the two clubs but he recently came out and said there was no chance of this happening (with the caveat ‘in the near future’). He followed this up with an appeal to the club’s supporters and the local community to raise £20,000 to ensure the side could be kept together.

Complete record against Dorchester Town

With both meetings between the sides last season coming during Dorchester’s dreadful run, City will have been slightly disappointed to have only taken four points from the games. The first match took place on Boxing Day at The Avenue Stadium, with a Lewis Hogg goal cancelling out Jones Awuah’s strike. On New Years Day the teams met again at Twerton Park where a Chris Holland header after just 14 minutes settled the game. This was City’s first win over Dorchester in six attempts after their most recent victory came during the latter stages of the 2000-01 season. The Magpies were in a desperate battle to avoid relegation from the Southern League Premier Division when they arrived at an almost waterlogged Twerton Park and following a forgettable first half were only kept at bay by a great performance from keeper Sal Bibbo after the break. Then against the run of play Mike Davis fired City ahead with 22 minutes left and within another seven minutes it was 3-0 as Jon Holloway converted from the penalty spot and Martin Paul scored from close range.

Gilroy nicks Welling consolation goal away from Coupe (22/12/08)

Video evidence has shown that City’s consolation goal against Welling United on Saturday was not scored by defender Matt Coupe but top scorer Dave Gilroy. Coupe vollyed toward goal after Richard Evans’ free-kick hit the bar and it appeared to go straight in but closer inspection of the incident shows that Gilroy got a vital touch with his head to prevent a defender clearing the ball to register his 12th strike of the season.

City on the rise despite narrow Welling defeat (20/12/08)

City’s run of three successive league wins came to an end this afternoon as they lost 2-1 to Welling United in an entertaining encounter at Park View Road. Both sides missed a series of chances to add to the scoring, so two first half goals for the home team meant Matt Coupe’s second half goal was nothing more than a consolation. City started the game slowly with Welling penning them in their own half but just as they looked to be getting a foothold in the match the Wings took the lead, Sheringham firing home in the 17th minute after the ball had broken kindly to him just inside the area. And it got worse for City nine minutes later when Fazakerley hit a volley from the edge of the box that gave Steve Perrin no chance. Dave Gilroy should have pulled a goal back before the interval, sending a free header narrowly wide, and a trademark Chris Holland header was directed straight at Masters in the home goal. City began the second half on top, although Perrin had to save well from Fazakerley, and after Stuart Douglas had wasted a goal chance, Coupe netted from close range after Richard Evans’ free-kick had struck the bar. Gilroy shot tamely at Masters moments later but this goal seemed to wake Welling up and with City trying to push forward Sheringham and Fazakerley missed great openings to increase their lead. Despite the defeat City actually moved one place up the Blue Square South table thanks to Bromley’s 4-0 defeat at Maidenhead.

PREVIEW: Welling United v CITY – Blue Square South (18/12/08)

In a reversal of the Blue Square South opening day fixtures City travel to Kent on Saturday to face Welling United. The Wings are currently three places and one point above City in the increasingly tight group of clubs on the edge of the play-off positions. This represents a massive improvement on last season when they spent the majority of it battling at the other end of the table. Only a run of four wins in their final six league outings avoided a bottom three placing and they have built on that finish this campaign.

Their season could not have got off to a better start than the 4-0 win over City at Twerton Park. Star of the game was debutant Ryan Martin who struck a hat-trick (although City will not have to worry about him repeating the feat as he left the club in October) and he followed that up with a winning goal against Braintree Town three days later. After a draw with Basingstoke Town in their next match two more victories saw them among the early season pacesetters. However, this excellent start was followed by five league games without a win – during which time, like a number of Blue Square South sides, they also exited the FA Cup to lower league opposition – for them a first hurdle loss to Ryman League Division 1 South Whyteleafe – and since then their form has been slightly inconsistent with four wins, three draws and two losses. They did enjoy a confidence boosting FA Trophy win this week though, as two goals in the opening 18 minutes saw them beat troubled Blue Square Premier club Weymouth. Unfortunately for the Wings there were just 262 spectators in Park View Road to witness the victory, which earned them a 2nd Round trip to Hednesford Town.

The opening day meeting at Twerton Park saw seven players making their debuts for the visitors but manager Andy Ford has continued to be a busy man in the transfer market since then. Former Stevenage Borough defender Chris Nurse joined in September, but only made two appearances before heading away from Park View Road along with Sol Pinnock and the aforementioned Martin. Also flying the Kent coop was defender Craig Braham-Barrett who joined League 1 side Peterborough United in a £10,000 deal. Joining the club were 22-year-old striker James Baker from Eastleigh and a young defender Sanchez Ming who had recently been with Fisher Athletic. Attacking midfielder Loui Fazakerley then arrived from Bromley and most recently Brentford striker Moses Ademola has joined on a one month loan deal. Several other players have also been released during this time.

Complete record against Welling United

If City have a sound reason to seek revenge for the 4-0 August defeat then they will also have bad memories of last season’s Park View Road meeting to exorcise. City twice struck the woodwork then conceded a goal two minutes from time to suffer their first defeat as a Blue Square South club. In truth, Park View Road has not been a happy hunting ground City in recent years, with just one win in their last seven trips up the M4 and M25, this solitary success in a sea of six defeats coming in the 2002-03 season. After a goalless first half the home side began to get on top in the opening exchanges of the second period but around the hour mark a deflected Jason Eaton shot gave City the lead and Welling imploded. Oboagye received a straight red for a two-footed tackle on Andy Minturn, and several of his teammates were fortunate not to join him, and 15 minutes later Andy Williams was bundled over in the box allowing Eaton to shoot home from the penalty spot. Within three minutes it was 3-0 when another Welling foul ended with Gary Thorne firing a 25-yard free kick into the net. The Wings grabbed a consolation goal just before the final whistle when Mark Bryant was harshly adjudged to have handled outside the box – Farley shooting past Thorne, standing in for the red-carded keeper.

City fail to exterminate Gulls in tame FA Trophy exit (13/12/08)

Two second half strikes were enough to give Torquay United a deserved victory over City in their FA Trophy 1st Round clash at Plainmoor this afternoon. City had matched the Blue Square Premier side for 52 minutes but a fortunate rebound gave Mansell a simple chance and 17 minutes later Dsane ensured it would be the Gulls in Monday’s 2nd Round draw. City had set their stall out to contain Torquay with the 4-5-1 formation that had served them so well at Chelmsford City four weeks ago, and this approach worked well in a first half that saw the home side dominate possession by rarely look like beating Steve Perrin in the City goal. They were restricted to a handful of half-chances and as the first period progressed City came more into the game as an attacking force. The start of the second half saw City’s best spell of the game and only a great save by Bevan prevented Staurt Douglas giving them lead. However, moments later Matt Coupe blocked Hargreaves’ shot only for the ball to deflect to Mansell who made no mistake from 12 yards. City’s straight away threw on top scorer Dave Gilroy and he should have equalised almost immediately but dragged a shot wide after racing onto Adam Connolly’s pass. With City forced to push forward, Torquay were beginning to look like a side chasing a place in the Football League and with 21 minutes left Green touched the ball past Coupe before squaring for Dsane to fire home. Perrin’s flying save prevented Green making it 3-0 a few minutes later but City never looked like getting back into the game and their FA Trophy hopes ended somewhat tamely after such a promising first half.

City’s Blue Square South meeting with Basingstoke Town scheduled for Tuesday 16 December will have to be rearranged after the Stoke’s FA Trophy game with Brackley Town was postponed today due to a waterlogged pitch, meaning they will have to try again on Tuesday.

Keeper Evans faces spell on sidelines after finally undergoing knee surgery (13/12/08)

City goalkeeper Paul Evans is set for two to three months on the sidelines after finally undergoing knee surgery. The big South African, who has missed the last three matches due to suspension after his red card at Chelmsford City, has been struggling all season with a longstanding knee problem and has had some bone growth shaved of the troublesome joint. Regular stand-in Steve Perrin will be between the posts while Evans recovers from the operation.

Supporters given chance to vote for City’s greatest ever goals (12/12/08)

Supporters will get a chance to vote on the best ever goal scored by City in a special evening at Twerton Park on Friday 30 January. The top 100 goals will be shown then those present will be able to vote on their favourite three. The evening will also feature a number of former and current players whose goalscoring exploits will be shown, including Paul Randall, John Freegard, Paul Bodin, Martin Paul, Jerry Gill, Adie Mings, Rob Cousins, Adrian Foster, Andy Sandell and others to be confirmed. The scorer of the winning goal will be presented with the John Skinner Trophy, named after the long time City fan who died earlier this year, by his widow Ruth. A DVD of the top 100 goals will be available to buy before the event with details to follow shortly. For a taster of the DVD click here.

Summer signing Gibb set to finally make City bow (11/12/08)

Summer signing Ali Gibb could be in line for a place in City’s squad for the FA Trophy meeting with Torquay United on Saturday having recovered from the broken ankle he suffered in pre-season. The vastly experienced 32-year old was sidelined after picking up the injury against Melksham Town in July but returned to full training a few weeks ago and with City sweating on the fitness of Gethin Jones, Mark Badman and Sekani Simpson, he could make the bench for the game.

PREVIEW: Torquay United v CITY – FA Trophy 1st Round (10/12/08)

City face a tough task to keep their FA Trophy hopes alive on Saturday when they head down the M5 to face Blue Square Premier promotion hopefuls Torquay United. The Devon side currently sit in 4th place with eleven wins and six draws from their opening 22 games. Their last league outing though ended in a surprise 4-2 defeat at lowly Eastbourne Borough, which brought a 14 match unbeaten league run to a shuddering halt. This run came after the Gulls season got off to a poor start with just one win in their first seven games. They were then languishing in 18th place but a narrow 2-1 win over Northwich Victoria at the beginning of September, thanks to a penalty deep into stoppage time, finally kick-started their season. As Torquay climbed the Blue Square Premier table they also began an FA Cup run that has seen them reach the 3rd Round, thanks to wins over Chipstead, Evesham United and Oxford United, all at home. They now face Championship club Blackpool, again at Plainmoor.

The 2008-09 season is the Gulls second as a non-league club following their relegation from the Football League in May 2007. For the first half of the 2007-08 campaign an immediate return to the professional ranks of the game looked likely but they began to fall away from rivals Aldershot Town in February and three successive defeats at the beginning of March put paid to their title hopes. In the end they had to settle for a 3rd place finish and a play-off semi-final against arch rivals Exeter City. The first leg at St James Park saw goals from Sills and Zebroski give the Gulls a 2-1 victory and when Hill – in his record equalling 473rd appearance for the club – made the aggregate scoreline 3-1 just before the hour-mark of the 2nd leg a place in the play-off final looked a certainty. However, with 20 minutes left Harley gave the Grecians hope and when Rayner was adjudged to have fouled Logan in the box on 81 minutes the scores were level. With extra-time looming the majority of the near-capacity 6000 crowd at Plainmoor were stunned when Exeter’s Logan headed home a minute from time before Carlisle netted in stoppage time to complete the remarkable turnaround. Five days later Torquay had to lift themselves for the small matter of a Wembley Stadium appearance in the final of the FA Trophy against Ebbsfleet United. They couldn’t manage this though, losing by a single goal scored by former Gull McPhee just before half-time.

Last season also saw Torquay enjoy success in the FA Cup with a memorable 1st round 4-1 win over League 1 side Yeovil Town in front of the BBC cameras at Plainmoor before exiting the competition 2-0 against Brighton & Hove Albion. To progress that far United had beaten City by two goals to nil at Twerton Park in the Gulls’ first qualifying stage match of the competition since they were elected to the Football League in 1927. A mistake by keeper Paul Evans gifted the visitors a lead after just nine minutes but City were literally handed the perfect chance to equalise from the penalty spot, only for Lewis Hogg to miss from 12 yards. The rest of the game was evenly contested before Stevens ensured it was the Devon side would face Yeovil with a goal nine minutes from time.

Complete record against Torquay United

This match was the first time the clubs had faced each other since 1975 and Saturday’s FA Trophy tie will be the first trip City have made to Plainmoor for nearly 34 years. It was a Western Counties League match that took City to Devon in January 1975 and goals from Glyn Broom and John Fairbrother earned them a 2-2 draw. Only one part of the ground remains from that time, the Buckfastleigh Racecourse stand which was erected over 80 years ago. The rest of the ground has seen change mainly in the last ten years. The old Mini Stand behind one goal made way for the all-seating Family Stand, which also houses offices, the boardroom and the club shop, as well as the pub and restaurant Boots and Laces, and the 200 Club bar. The Cowshed, made out of corrugated iron and wood, was replaced the popular side terrace that runs the length of the ground and in 2001 the new Sparkworld Stand was opened opposite the Family Stand to accommodate away fans, where City’s travelling support will be housed.

City get The Full Monty with Carlyle evening at Twerton Park (8/12/08)

Over 100 film and football fans were at Twerton Park tonight to enjoy and evening with world famous actor Robert Carlyle. The event was arranged and hosted by Ken Loach, a long time friend of the 47-year old having directed him early in his film career. The first half of the evening saw clips of Carlyle’s films, including the James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, Trainspotting and The Full Monty, with the Scot discussing each role. After an interval the audience were given a chance ask the Partick Thistle fan any questions on his long and varied career. The event was also a forerunner to a series of Carlyle films that will be shown at Twerton Park, again hosted by world-renowned director Loach, in February and March, with further details to follow.

City show Braintree the way with second half finishing masterclass (6/12/08)

Four second half goals without reply fired City to a remarkable victory at Braintree Town this afternoon which had never looked likely during a one-sided opening half-hour when the home side could (and should) have been out of sight. As early as the 2nd minute Steve Perrin turned a Jones shot onto the crossbar and Hockton headed wide from the follow-up cross. Hawes then shot inches wide and a weak Chris Holland header almost let in Hockton. The Iron were cutting through City at will but still could not take advantage, Riddle twice going close, then from a corner Perrin ended up in his own net but the ball somehow finished wide of the goal. Marks and Hockton were denied by Perrin and, as the hosts eventually seemed to run out of steam, City finished the half the stronger with Dave Gilroy seeing a shot deflected for a corner and Richard Evans testing home keeper Holloway with a well-struck shot. At the break City replaced Stuart Douglas with Darren Edwards and this change turned the game in City’s favour. Within seven minutes of the restart Holland rose to meet an Evans corner and his header found the net through a crowd of players. Ten minutes later it was 2-0 when Gethin Jones met a Jim Rollo free-kick to loop a header over Holloway. And the game was all but won three minutes after when Edwards neatly flicked home Gilroy’s cross. On 70 minutes Braintree showed why they are near the foot of the Blue Square South fair play league when Shinn was sent off for elbowing Sekani Simpson. It was now City who looked like scoring with every attack and eight minutes from time Gethin Jones’ cross was blocked by a defenders arm allowing Edwards to confidently net his second from the penalty spot.

City and Gulls agree to entrance fee reduction for FA Trophy tie (4/12/08)

City and Torquay United have agreed to reduce the admission prices for their FA Trophy 1st Round clash at Plainmoor on Saturday 13 December. City fans will be housed in the Sparkworld Stand (which despite its name is a terrace) end of the ground with standing prices set at £10 for adults, £7 concessions and £1 for children. City’s Supporters Club have already filled up one coach and are now taking provisional bookings for a second coach. To book your seat contact Martin Powell at home any evening, 7pm to 10pm, or weekends on 01373 301143.

PREVIEW: Braintree Town v CITY – Blue Square South (3/12/08)

City travel to managerless Braintree Town on Saturday looking to score their first ever goal against the Essex side after drawing a blank in both meetings last season. The first clash at Twerton Park in February ended goalless before a goal in each half was enough to give the Iron a 2-0 win at Cressing Road two months later. And they will meet a side in surprisingly good league form – with only one defeat in the last ten Blue Square South matches – considering they sacked their manager just two weeks ago.

Lee Patterson – who joined the club from City’s recent FA Trophy opponents East Thurrock United – lost his job on the back of an embarrassing 6-2 FA Trophy defeat at Southern League Farnborough Town. He had only travelled the 30 or so miles north to Braintree in October 2007 following the sacking of George Borg – who took the club to court over the dismissal but lost the case – after a poor start to the 2007-08 season. He soon turned the club’s fortunes around – taking them to the FA trophy ¼ final – and a 1-0 win against Eastbourne Borough in the final league match of the campaign – along with other results going their way – saw them grab the final play-off place. This was the second successive season they had made the Blue Square South play-offs. In 2006-07 they reached the final with a penalty shoot-out win over Havant & Waterlooville before losing narrowly to Salisbury City, but this time they suffered a heavy two-leg defeat against Eastbourne to condemn them to another season at this level. However, with a summer spent strengthening his squad Patterson would have expected his side to be amongst the challengers again this season only to watch them lose their four opening games of the 2008-09 season. They finally got off the mark with a 1-1 draw at Chelmsford City before hammering City’s tenants Team Bath 4-1 at Cressing Road. Two defeats followed this victory but then three successive league wins looked to have turned their season around and they began to climb away from the foot of the table. During this improved league form though the Iron crashed out of the FA Cup with a 4-0 defeat at Ryman League Division 1 South side Kingstonian. And when they suffered an even more embarrassing FA Trophy replay exit – after drawing the first game 1-1 – the Braintree board moved to relieve Patterson of his job. Player assistant – and long-time Iron – Bradley Quinton took over in a caretaker capacity and has seen his side take four points from a possible six in his two games in charge – with only an injury-time equaliser by Havant & Waterlooville denying him a 100% start.

Off the pitch Braintree have been looking to move away from Cressing Road, that has been their home since 1923, to a new facility at Pod’s Brook Road. The most recent news on the plan is that the local council have decided to promote a different site, with Panfield Lane being their preferred option. Despite this, the club are delighted that the relocation is now being proposed as part of the Town’s Core Strategy Growth in the draft Local Development Framework. They now hope to persuade the Council that the site at Pod’s Brook Road is the better alternative and a final decision is expected by May 2009.

Complete record against Braintree Town

Having only spent five seasons in the Southern League during their long history it was no surprise that last season saw Braintree meet City for the first ever time. The game at Twerton Park was a largely forgettable encounter although City wasted a great chance to win the game on 20 minutes when Lewis Hogg rolled a penalty kick wide. The return match at Cressing Road saw City enjoy long spells of possession but fail to turn this into clear-cut chances. By contrast Braintree took full advantage of their only two efforts on goal in the game – Burgess sliding home Moran’s header after 16 minutes and Hawes firing a 20-yard volley past Paul Evans early in the second half.