|Whippet recalled as suspensions and injuries threaten to take their toll (28/2/07)
City have recalled winger Craig Davidge from his loan spell at Clevedon Town. The 22-year old, nicknamed the whippet, had just started his second month with the Seasiders but City have taken advantage of a 24-hour recall clause as suspensions and injuries threaten to affect their small squad. Darren Edwards and Lewis Hogg are facing one and two bans respectively, and several players are carrying injuries. Scott Partridge (neck) and Chris Holland (illness) would have both doubtful for last night cancelled trip to Mangotsfield United and Steve Jones (Achilles), Jim Rollo (calf) and Sekani Simpson (groin) are all suffering minor knocks.
City were denied the opportunity to restore their eight point lead at the top of the British Gas Business League Premier Division after tonight’s game with Mangotsfield United was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. A 5pm inspection confirmed the inevitable after intermittent rain all day and the game joined the other three league clashes scheduled for this evening in being cancelled. Last night City’s advantage at league summit was cut to five points after tenants Team Bath beat Gloucester City with a last-gasp strike in the 2-1 victory.
City have agreed to extend Craig Davidge’s loan deal with Clevedon Town into a second month. However, they will now have the option of a 24 hour recall arrangement and the winger would not be allowed to play against City if he is still at the Hand Stadium when the clubs meet on March 27.
City’s unstoppable form continued yesterday as they struck four times for the second away match in a row, this time it was Hitchin Town on the end of a hammering. While the 4-1 scoreline against Rugby Town four days earlier slightly flattered City that was not the case this time as the home side could have had little complaint if City had won by a bigger margin. Star of the show was Darren Edwards with his first hat-trick in City colours. Scott Partridge, Mark McKeever and Gethin Jones had already spurned openings before a deflected Partridge cross gave Edwards a simple header in the 33rd minute. Five minutes later he burst clear and although keeper Parkin blocked his shot, Partridge was first to the ball to chest it home. Only another three minutes had passed when Steve Jones flicked on a McKeever corner for Edwards to head home. The second half was a more even contest but it was City who completed the scoring after 73 minutes when a mis-kick by Parkin allowed Edwards to volley home his third goal.
City have completed the signing of Steve Perrin to provide cover for no.1 shot stopper Paul Evans as the season reaches it’s final third. The 36-year old former Forest Green Rovers and Chippenham Town keeper will continue to turn out for Melksham Town in the Western League but if Evans is injured he provide experienced cover. He was due to make his return to City colours last night in a friendly at Paulton Rovers but the match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
City have finally confirmed the dates of their trips to Northwood and Clevedon Town. They had originally been due to travel to Clevedon on Saturday 3 March and the London-based side two days later. These dates were switched to give City a shorter midweek trip but the Seasiders already had a match that week. However, this matter has now been sorted and City will face Northwood on Saturday 3 March (ko 3pm) and Clevedon on Tuesday 27th March (ko 7.45pm). There could still be one more fixture change for City as Tiverton Town, who they were due to be facing on Tuesday 13 March, are now in Errea Cup semi-final action that night.
City overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit with a four goal second-half blitz – including three goals in four minutes – against Rugby Town this evening to stretch their lead at the head of the British Gas Business League Premier Division to eight points. It had all looked so different at the interval as the home side were deservedly a goal in front, Stone scoring in the 20th minute. City had only looked threatening from set-pieces in a strangely lifeless display, however after the break everything changed. A change in formation allowed Sekani Simpson more space down the right flank but it was the familiar combination of Mark McKeever and Chris Holland that drew City level on 53 minutes – the latter heading home via a post. City were now dominating the game but it wasn’t until eleven minutes from time they went ahead, and four minutes later it was 4-1. Steve Jones headed in another McKeever free-kick and a minute later Scott Partridge stroked home Darren Edwards low centre. And the rout was completed when McKeever fired into the roof of the net moments later. The excellent evening was completed when Paul Evans saved a last minute penalty from Stone.
Banbury United almost made City pay for missing a series of chances this afternoon but in the end they were beaten by a first half penalty kick from Lewis Hogg, which maintained the Romans five points lead at the top of the table. The decisive goal came after 25 minutes, with Hogg firing home his third spot kick of the season after Scott Partridge was felled in the box. Darren Edwards had already fired over from close range and after the goal Mark McKeever and Chris Holland were both denied by vetaran keeper Alan Judge. The visitors also came close on several occasions with efforts that went narrowly wide. The second half began with City on top but Scott Rogers, Edwards and Partridge all felled to take advantage. Desparate for the vital second goal Edwards had his shot blocked from a great Sekani Simpson cross and Hogg just failed to apply the vital touch to a Phil Walsh centre. This meant the closing few minutes were a nervy time for City as Evans went full stretch to turn away a Gardener shot and Forinton then failed to hit the target when an equaliser seemed certain.
City have moved to sign another goalkeeper to provide cover for Paul Evans by putting in seven-days notice for Steve Perrin, who is currently turning out for Melksham Town. The 36-year old made eight appearances for City during the 2004-05 season, including the two memorable FA Cup games at Barnet and Peterborough. Was playing for local rivals Chippenham Town until last December when he semi-retired, agreeing to provide cover for the Bluebirds if required. However, the drawn-out and mysterious sacking of his brother, Darren, from the Chippenham manager’s seat saw he vow never to play for the club again and City have moved to secure an experienced back-up for no.1 Evans.
Perrin is likely to make his return to the City line-up in a friendly against Paulton Rovers next Thursday 23 February (ko 7.30pm). With City having played an unchanged starting XI in the last six league games the match will be a chance for the rest of the squad to get a run out.
Two goals from Scott Partridge and Lewis Hogg in the final minute of the first half saw City overcome Maidenhead United, and the weather conditions, at York Road last night. The game was in doubt right up to kick-off as persistent rain left the pitch covered in puddles but the referee decided to start the game and despite the conditions worsening as the rain continued to fall the game lasted the full 90 minutes. The opening half hour saw the sides adapt well to the conditions, supporting the referee’s decision, both hitting the frame of the goal and forcing excellent saves out of the keepers. City also had the ball in the net from a Darren Edwards header only for the linesman to rule that the ball had gone out before Partridge crossed it. Just as it seemed that the game would descend in a watery stalemate (copyright: KK) City struck twice in a minute with the half time interval imminent. First, Partridge fired home after keeper Ramos had parried Mark McKeever’s shot, then City’s top scorer turned provider supplying Hogg to roll the ball home – although there was a nervous moment when the ball almost stopped in the mud. After the interval both sides increasingly struggled to cope with the deteriorating conditions, although Scott Rogers did strike the crossbar with a shot early in the half. The referee was coming under increasing pressure from the home side’s bench to abandon the game but at no point was the player’s safety in doubt and he sensibly allowed the match to be completed.
City have made a switch to the trips to Nortwood and Clevedon Town. They will now meet the London-based side on Saturday 3 March (ko 3pm) before facing their more local rivals Clevedon on Tuesday 6 March (ko 7.45pm).
City were left the happier of the two sides despite conceding a late penalty in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with fellow title challengers King’s Lynn. The point keeps City six points ahead of the Norfolk side and moves them four points clear at the top of the table. The game itself saw the home side make a lively start but fall behind to Chris Holland’s 23rd minute header from a Mark McKeever free-kick. Scott Partridge wasted a great chance to double the lead soon afterwards as City reached the interval in control. If they had expected an onslaught from Lynn into the second half this didn’t materialise although they did have greater possession. City almost caught them on the break on a couple of occasions, before having a lucky escape on 63 minutes when Defty’s header struck the foot of the post. However, ten minutes later the game was level again. Jim Rollo appeared to win the ball with a prefectly timed tackle on O’Halloran but the referee viewed that he had got the player first and pointed to the spot – Nolan firing the penalty down the centre of the goal. This finally woke up the home crowd but only a Cooper header ever threatened Paul Evans’ goal and in the closing minutes Partridge nearly grabbed the win, shooting wide from 40 yards after a poor kick by keeper Chrichton.
For the second time this season City have been named GX Soccer Club of the Month after their five league wins plus Errea Cup victory in January.
City produced another thoroughly professional performance this afternoon to overcome Mangotsfield United by two goals to nil at a sunny Twerton Park. The Bristol side came into the game in third place but never troubled City as they cruised to their sixth successive league win without conceding a goal. It took City just seven minutes to go ahead, Gethin Jones’ ball forward sending Scott Partridge racing clear to fire past keeper Book. Without ever needing to get out of second gear City comfortably held this lead and, for the second week in a row, a shocking offside decision denied them a second goal before the break, Partridge the unfortunate player. Four minutes after the break the visitors hopes of getting back into the game were dealt a blow when Shatford was shown a straight red for his challenge on Scott Rogers. This incident was the culmination of Mangotsfield’s frustrations, which had largely been vented via continual moaning at a lenient referee up to that point. City made sure of the three points on 68 minutes when Darren Edwards headed home Partridge’s cross. The victory keeps City three points clear at the top of the table and sets up next week’s long trip to King’s Lynn, still the most likely challengers to City for the title, perfectly.