February 2013

Paulton semi-final opponents and Chamberlain extends loan deal (28/2/13)

City will face Southern League Division 1 South & West side Paulton Rovers in the semi-final of the Somerset Premier Cup. The tie will take place at Winterfield Road on Tuesday 9 April (ko 7.30pm). The winners will meet either Bridgwater Town or Taunton Town in the final. And striker Elliott Chamberlain has extended his loan deal at Mayday Trust Park from Exeter City extended to a second month.

PREVIEW: Dover Athletic v CITY – Blue Square Bet South (28/2/13)

City begin a spell of three successive away games on Saturday with, on paper at least, the toughest of the triumvirate, Dover Athletic. Despite the disappointing draw with Truro City at Mayday Trust Park last weekend City remained eight points off the play-off positions and, with their recent impressive away form, a victory in Kent would keep alive hopes of a late run at the top five places as the 2012-13 campaign reaches its penultimate month.

Dover currently lie in third place but indifferent home form and a dreadful run at the start of 2013 have almost certainly cost them any hope of challenging top two, Salisbury City and Welling United, for the title. After winning just one of their opening seven league matches at Crabble Athletic Ground it was their unbeaten away record that saw them reach Christmas firmly involved in a three-way battle for the top spot. However, when local rivals Tonbridge Angels ended this record on Boxing Day it began a five-game losing streak that saw the other two sides pull away to leave Dover amongst the sides battling for a play-off place. This run also saw boss Nicky Forster placed on gardening leave and the following day the Whites announced the return of club legend Chris Kinnear as manager. Kinnear previously managed the club between 1985 and 1995, successfully guiding the club from the foot of the Southern League to the Conference, winning the Southern League Southern Division and then the Southern League Premier Division twice. The first of those title wins coming at City’s expense during the 1988-89 season.

Several postponements delayed the start of his second spell but when the team finally got back onto the pitch at the beginning of February it was in winning style as bottom side Truro City were beaten by three goals to two. They repeated this result and scoreline in their next outing but it was a considerably greater achievement, ending Welling United’s record breaking 13 match winning run. In front of just over 1000 fans at Crabble Athletic Ground they twice came from behind against the Wings before substitute Bricknell headed home the winning goal with four minutes left. A more straightforward 3-0 win at Weston Super Mare followed before a 1-1 draw at Boreham Wood ensured Kinnear will be defending an unbeaten record when City arrive on Saturday.

Complete record against Dover Athletic/Dover

The two sides enjoyed a number of memorable encounters during Kinnear’s previous tenure but it was the meeting in Kent during the 2003-04 season that most City fans will recall when looking back on trips that part of the Garden of England. City came into the game exactly one day short of a full year since their last away league win and when the hosts raced into a three-nil lead within half an hour it looked like another depressing afternoon was on the cards for the Romans. Millar had begun the scoring with a mis-hit shot on 16 minutes before Wilkins and Day took advantage of non-existent defending to score after 26 and 29 minutes respectively. When Iain Harvey was harshly adjudged to have fouled Spillar in the area minutes later it looked as if a repeat of the seven goal Worcester humiliation was on the cards. In what was a familiar scene for City followers (the 3rd time that season) keeper Paul Evans turned aside Day’s spot kick only for the referee to order it to be retaken. However, the same player blasted the retake wide and City were handed a lifeline. They should have pulled a goal back before the break when Matt Coupe’s header appeared to cross the line, but this was forgotten when Jeffries stabbed home from close range within a minute of the restart. Ten minutes later Scott Partridge fired home at the second attempt following a great cross by Drew Shore. For all City’s efforts for a third goal they appeared to be losing their momentum and time began to run out. This was until Gary Owers collected an intelligent square pass from Steve Jones and unleashed a cracking 30 yard shot into the corner of the net to spark delirious scenes amongst the City fans and players. Of course, the draw still meant City had gone a year on the road without success (two weeks later this run was ended at Moor Green) but understandably this was largely overlooked on the long trip back to the West Country.

Mix and match City leave Odd Down and out in County Cup win (26/2/13)

Second half goals from Joe Lennox and Charlie Griffin secured City a semi-final place in this season’s Somerset Premier Cup at Mayday Trust Park this evening. As expected City lined up with a mixture of first team, academy and youth players but were too strong for the Western League Premier Division side. The visitors held out for over an hour before a neat move saw Lennox fire past keeper Hare. Griffin then had an effort cleared off the line but with eight minutes remaining he raced clear to slide the ball under Hare and complete the comfortable 2-0 win.

City’s home match with Welling United has been arranged for Tuesday 19 March (ko 7.45pm).

PREVIEW: CITY v Odd Down – Somerset Premier Cup Quarter Final (25/2/13)

City take a break from their Blue Square Bet South efforts tomorrow evening when Odd Down AFC make the short trip to Mayday Trust Park with a semi-final place in the Somerset Premier Cup at stake. With just one defeat in their last six games, plus the fewest goals conceded in the Conference South during this spell, City will enter this Bath derby in confident mood and look to reach the last four of the county cup for the first time since they lifted the trophy back in 2007-08.

However, they will no doubt face a tough test against the Downers who are enjoying another excellent Western League Premier Division campaign. Since winning promotion from the 1st Division in 2009-10 they have finished in 8th and 9th place, the former their highest ever finish since joining the competition in 1977. This season they are well-placed to improve on this record, currently lying in 8th place, level on points with fellow Bath side Larkhall Athletic. They come into the game with City unbeaten in their last six outings, which include a remarkable 6-5 win over Bradford Town in the Les Phillips Cup. Odd Down led the game 2-0, 4-2 and 5-3 before half-time before the Wiltshire side netted twice in the second period to take the game to extra-time. Just when the game looked to be heading for a penalty shoot-out the Downers grabbed a winning goal to secure a quarter-final home tie with Hallen. And it was the Bristol-based side who Odd Down travelled to in their last game on Saturday – the match finishing 1-1 with former City striker Josh Klein-Davies on target for the visitors. Odd Down have twice reached the final of the Somerset Premier Cup – losing 1–0 to Southern League side Clevedon Town in 2001 and going down 5–0 to Yeovil Town at the club’s Huish Park home three years later.

Complete record against Odd Down

The clubs have only met once before in a competitive game, also in the Somerset Premier Cup back during the 2002-03 season. City came into the 2nd Round tie on the back of a long wasted journey to Grantham Town the previous Saturday and fielded a strong starting XI. After a goalless first half, largely thanks to a series of excellent stops by Down keeper Westlake, City went ahead on 66 minutes through a Jim Rollo header. In control of the game now it took several more fine saves from Westlake to deny City and suddenly two goals in the space of a minute turned the game on its head, Wilson shooting home from close range and Whitecliffe firing a stunning volley past Mark Bryant. City then produced two quick fire goals of their own through Andy Mintern and Jason Eaton in the final five minutes but a minute later Whitecliffe struck again to take the game into extra-time. Westlake continued to perform heroics in the home goal, a penalty save from Eaton the highlight and with just two minutes City failed to deal with a Thomas free-kick and Wilson stabbed home the winning goal. Ironically Odd Down’s next fixture was against City’s reserve side and, with no first team fixture, manager Adam Pridham sent out an almost identical side, which this time comfortably beat the hosts 6-1, although not before they had gone a goal down.

Supporters are reminded that there are reduced prices for the game: £6 adults, £3 concessions/students, £1 u16s and programme 50p. As usual for Tuesday evening games parking at the ground is restricted to those with a reserved space.

Stoppage time drama as Low resuces City from Truro embarrassment (23/2/13)

For ninety minutes this afternoon City and Truro City served up a whole-hearted, but desperately lacking in quality, game of football at Mayday Trust Park before two stoppage time goals produced a remarkable and unexpected climax. The visitor’s struck first when Andy Watkins produced a stunning dipping shot that flew past Jason Mellor and looked to have earned the Conference South bottom a rare victory. However, two minutes later City avoided the embarrassment of a second defeat this season against the White Tigers, Josh Low firing into the roof of the net after Gethin Jones had flicked on Aaron Brown’s long throw. In truth, neither side had done enough prior to this to deserve the win as City struggled to deal with the hard-working Cornish side, belying their almost certain relegation back to the Southern League at the end of the season. Elliott Chamberlain shot against keeper Payne’s legs after 15 minutes but this was as close as either side came in the first half. There was little change into the second period as City were reduced to a couple of optimistic penalty appeals. As the game reached its final quarter Truro began to enjoy more possession but rarely looked to have the quality to make this count until out of nowhere Watkins – who had been linked with a move to City earlier in the season – produced a rare moment of class. When Charlie Griffin had a close range effort cleared off the line moments later it appeared Truro would head back to Cornwall with the three points but there was still time for Low to pounce, much to the relief of the majority of the 574 crowd.

PREVIEW: CITY v Truro City – Blue Square Bet South (21/2/13)

Having climbed back into the Blue Square Bet South top ten for the first time since Boxing Day thanks to back to back 3-0 wins over Tonbridge Angels and Eastbourne Borough, City will look to maintain this upward momentum when Truro City visit Mayday Trust Park on Saturday. With the play-offs places still eight points away and the sides between there and the Romans having played one or two fewer games, a post-season berth may still be an optimistic expectation. However, the recent improvement in form has, at least, turned the focus of attention away from the bottom of the table toward the higher reaches and the hope now is that remains the case for the rest of the season.

When City travelled down to Cornwall back at the beginning of October it looked a very real possibility that the meeting would be Truro’s final ever game. The cost of their meteoric rise from South Western League to the Conference South in just six years had caught up with the club. Chairman Kevin Heaney had stepped down a couple of months earlier after being declared bankrupt and they had filed for administration with players going unpaid and a HMRC winding-up order over a tax bill of £15,000 hanging over the White Tigers. A week after the game with City, Truro’s administrators failed to meet the deadline for the Football Conference’s requirement of a £50,000 bond that would enable the club to continue in the Conference South. This bond was to cover the costs of visiting clubs should Truro be liquidated during the season and their results be expunged from the record. A reduced amount was offered by the club, and was refused by the Conference. The match at home to Dover Athletic on 13 October was called off, and the club was expected to be expelled from the league with liquidation probably following such an expulsion. However, on 12 October the Conference gave the club another week to pay the bond, in the light of “encouraging” information from the administrator. Membership of the Conference was to be reviewed again on 18 October if the bond was not paid. After a preferred bidder pulled out on the morning of 19 October, the bond remained unpaid and the club was set to be expelled from the Football Conference, but discussions continued and City were reprieved later the same day when two businessmen, Pete Masters and Philip Perryman, paid the £50,000 bond. The pair completed a deal to purchase the club on 14 December 2012.

Whilst events off the pitch have stabilised, on the pitch Truro look almost certain to return to the Southern League at the end of the season. Even without the ten point deduction for going into administration they would be well adrift as the foot of the table but with this they are 19 points away from safety with just 14 games remaining. They have won just one of their nine league matches since the turn of the year – a 2-1 victory at Hayes & Yeading – although, as narrow defeats against the top 3 clubs, Salisbury City (4-3), Welling United (4-3) and Dover Athletic (3-2) show, they have not lacked fighting spirit in many games. Two departures at opposite ends of the pitch this month have not helped their situation, though. Goalkeeper Luke McCormick, who joined the club in November, agreeing to play for free having recently been recently released from prison, made the move to npower League 2 Oxford United on transfer deadline day. Teenage striker Keiffer Moore had been one of the stars of Truro’s difficult campaign, scoring 13 goals after stepping up from Cornish League football. Unsurprisingly this had brought the 6’3 striker to the attention of a number of higher level clubs but it was fellow Conference South side Dorchester Town who secured his services with an 18-month contract. And he came back to haunt the White Tigers almost immediately, scoring both goals in Dorchester’s 2-1 win over his former side earlier this week.

Complete record against Truro City

Truro will travel up to Bath for the first ever time with the two previous meetings between the clubs both taking place in Cornwall. The first of these was an FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round during the 2007-08 season. The White Tigers came into the game boasting a 100% record from their opening nine games of the campaign but City got off to a dream start when Chris Holland headed home a Mark McKeever corner after just two minutes. City had also enjoyed a good start to the season, and for ten minutes looked like a Conference South side taking on Western League opposition but from the moment the Cornishmen won a 17th minute penalty they were largely second best. Thankfully Willis pulled the penalty wide of Paul Evans’ goal and for all the home side’s possession, City stood firm to reach the interval ahead. The host’s frustrations, both on and off the pitch, were evident as City continued to weather the storm and as the game reached its final quarter they appeared to have run out of steam. The introduction of record scorer Yetton gave them new impetuous though and it looked like he had won his team another penalty in the final minute. He went down under Holland’s challenge but even as the referee pointed to the spot his attention was drawn to an earlier offside flag and their hopes were finally dashed. There was no such escape for City in the aforementioned game earlier this season as record Yetton started the game and netted twice either side of a Kurtis Guthrie goal – his final strike for City – to secure a result that for a while looked like it would see the White Tigers go out in a winning note.

Preece on the double as City improvement picks up pace (19/2/13)

City recorded a second 3-0 win in the space of three days at Eastbourne Borough this evening to continue their climb back up the Blue Square Bet South. The hosts started the game well and pushed City back for the opening ten minutes with Gorman blasting their best chance high over the bar. Having withstood this early pressure City began to get themselves back in the game and created several good openings. It wasn’t until seven minutes before the interval though that they made this dominance pay when Mark Preece headed home an Aaron Brown corner. And in first half stoppage time it got even better for City as a mistake on halfway allowed Elliott Chamberlain to race clear and coolly slot the ball past Potter. With a two-goal cushion City were content to sit back and absorb what attacking threat Borough could muster and this approach worked perfectly as, with 17 minutes left, Potter dropped a corner under no pressure and Preece poked home his second and City’s third of the evening. The victory lifts City up to ninth place and a repeat on Saturday against Truro City could move them to within just two points of the play-off places.

PREVIEW: Eastbourne Borough v CITY – Blue Square Bet South (18/2/13)

The games continue to come thick and fast for City as Tuesday night sees them making a long midweek trip to the south coast where they will face Eastbourne Borough. The long awaited home win over Tonbridge Angels on Saturday finally put a bit of breathing space between City and the relegation places and, with bottom club Truro City visiting Mayday Trust Park next weekend, a positive result in East Sussex could see the Romans back amongst the group of sides more interested in a top five finish than the bottom three.

City should travel to Eastbourne in confident mood given their recent away form, with two wins and two draws in the last four outings – all against sides currently above them in the table. Like City, The Sports have struggled at home, having to go back to mid-November for the last league win in front of their own fans, a narrow 1-0 victory over Truro City. Since then Salisbury City, Havant & Waterlooville and Weston Super Mare have all headed back home with the three points, whilst fellow strugglers AFC Hornchurch shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. Again in common with City their recent away form has been much better with wins at Maidenhead United, Havant and Staines Town. However, they couldn’t keep up this good run last Saturday, going down 2-0 at fast improving Sutton United. The U’s dominated a one-sided first half, going ahead through Ottoway on 18 minutes before Rent’s penalty twelve minutes later made it 2-0. Eastbourne were much improved after the interval and looked to have been handed a way back into the game when Charles was tripped in the box only for the referee to ignore the penalty appeals. Although they went close on a couple of further occasions the home side always looked in control after this lucky escape. The defeat left Eastbourne in 19th place, just one above the relegation zone, with 31 points from their 26 games.

Complete record against Eastbourne Borough

The meeting will be the eighth between the clubs and they share an identical record, with one win apiece, five draws and six goals scored each. It needed late drama in the Mayday Trust Park game earlier this season to preserve this record though. The Sports opened the scoring on 25 minutes through Ibe’s cool lob over Jason Mellor. Then when Charles’ header on the stroke of half-time made it 2-0 a first ever win in Bath looked on the cards. However, City came back strongly after the break, Sean Canham and Adam Connolly both testing keeper Ross and Tom Nichols seeing a header cleared off the line. This pressure finally told with 14 minutes left when Dan Ball’s deflected shot found the corner of the net. Charlie Griffin then headed against the bar and Mark Preece fired over an inviting net but on 90 minutes the visitors failed to deal with a Kerry Morgan free-kick allowing Gethin Jones to slide home the equaliser from a narrow angle.

Angels halo slips as City finally a delight to behold (16/2/13)

City finally recorded a first home success of 2013 this afternoon as goals from Noah Keats, Kerry Morgan and Charlie Griffin fired them to a 3-0 victory over ten-man Tonbridge Angels. The opening half-hour gave little indication of the final outcome as City’s attacking 4-3-3 formation made little impression and it was the visitors who enjoyed the greater possession, although they failed to trouble Jason Mellor in the home goal. In fact it Angels Worgan who was first called into action, blocking Griffin’s 31st minute shot with his legs, and this signalled a change in the balance of the game. Then in first half stoppage time Worgan again did well to parry Keats effort but, after Griffin’s follow up shot had hit the post, he was helpless as the same player fired the ball into the roof of the net. Despite losing captain Gethin Jones at half-time City doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Morgan raced onto Elliott Chamberlain’s pass and slid the ball past Worgan. Two minutes later Morgan again threatened to break clear only to be taken out by Schulz’s dreadful challenge which earned the defender a straight red card. It took just six minutes for City to make their numerical advantage count, Griffin netting his 14th goal of the season from Chamberlain’s low cross. City could have added further to the scoring, Chamberlain shooting into the side-netting, debutant Jordan Walker being denied a penalty when he appeared to be tripped by Piper and Brad Norris firing wide after further great work by Chamberlain, but after their recent Mayday Trust Park struggles a three-goal win was more than welcome.

PREVIEW: CITY v Tonbridge Angels – Blue Square Bet South (14/2/13)

Saturday will see City again look to end their disappointing run of home results with Tonbridge Angels the visitors to Mayday Trust Park. Whilst the performance against Dorchester Town earlier this week was a considerable improvement over the previous outings against Staines Town and Bromley, the end result was the same and once again saw City slip back to within a couple of points of the relegation zone. City’s total of 32 points at this stage of the campaign during the past four Conference South seasons would have seen them safely clear of the bottom three and probably only three or four wins from dispelling any relegation concerns. This year however the closeness of the table means even sixth place Weston Super Mare are still arguably in a relegation battle and a total of over 50 points could be needed to ensure safety.

Therefore the meeting with Tonbridge – one point and three places above City – could easily be billed as a relegation clash but both sides will prefer to focus on a win that would give them a little breathing space and move them nearer that total of 50 points. Back to back home defeats against Farnborough and Chelmsford City ended a decent mini-run of results – taking seven points from a possible nine – that had lifted the Angels up to eighth place. Whilst Tonbridge could consider the reversal against Farnborough somewhat unfortunate, losing by the odd goal in five, they were well-beaten 4-0 by the Clarets.

If Tonbridge do enjoy a successful trip to Bath six of their supporters may be forgiven for not celebrating too energetically. Phil Hurst, Robert Whiting, Steve Stilwell, Ashley Baker, Colin Hill and Darren Apps will be donning their walking boots for a 320-mile round-trip to a match. The fans will be walking 30 miles a day to Bath to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and kick-start fundraising for a much needed new clubhouse at Tonbridge’s Longmead stadium. The six left the ground at 7.30am on Monday will reach Bath around lunchtime on match day. They will then set off on the return journey the following day, arriving back at Longmead on February 22, ready for the home game against Dorchester Town on Saturday. Visit www.justgiving.com/tonbridgeangelsbathandback if you would like to sponsor the walkers.

Complete record against Tonbridge/Tonbridge Angels

Tonbridge’s last visit to Twerton Park in January 1976 ended in a 6-1 win for the home side and City have enjoyed the upper hand with twelve victories in the nineteen meetings. The Angels have twice travelled back to Kent with the full points, a 2-1 victory in February 1953 and a 3-0 win during the final week of the 1957-58 season. Both sides had struggled at the wrong of the table during the latter campaign, with City’s problem a lack of fire power – only four clubs scored fewer than their final total of 65 – whereas Tonbridge’s difficulties were at the other end of pitch, conceding exactly 100 goals that season. However, neither side was in danger of relegation with the Southern League expanding to two divisions the following season, initially on a regional basis before forming a Premier Division in 1959, which both clubs would qualify for a year later.

Griffin double can’t prevent another Mayday Trust Park defeat (12/2/13)

Despite two high quality strikes from top scorer Charlie Griffin, City suffered a fourth successive home defeat this evening, losing 3-2 to Dorchester Town. The visitors capped a bright start by going ahead on 20 minutes when former City striker Ben Watson was allowed the room to fire past Jason Mellor. Up to that point City had struggled to impose themselves on the game but seven minutes later Griffin was bundled over right on the edge of the area and stepped to curl the free-kick past leaden-footed keeper Matthews. Lifted by this City enjoyed their best spell of the game however on 38 minutes their failure to clear the ball was punished by Malsom to restore the Magpies advantage. Once again Griffin stepped up to restore parity two minutes before the interval, executing a great lob that Matthews could only push into the roof of his net. The second half saw both sides search for a winning goal, City’s passing game contrasting with Dorchester more direct approach, and it was the latter who secured the three points ten minutes from time, Pugh climbing highest to head home a corner.

PREVIEW: CITY v Dorchester Town – Blue Square Bet South (11/2/13)

Having taken eight points from a possible twelve in their last four away league outings, City will look to bring that form back to Mayday Trust Park when Dorchester Town visit tomorrow evening. In contrast just a single point has been secured in the same number of games at home, and the previous three visitors, Weston Super Mare, Bromley and Staines Town, have all headed away from Bath with a victory under their belt.

The Magpies are currently level with City on 31 points, albeit having played two games fewer. Their goal difference is remarkably 14 worse than City’s (and the third worst in the Conference South) largely due to having been on the wrong end of a 4-0 scorline on four occasions. Since the sides were due to meet just after Christmas, Dorchester have won twice, drawn four games and lost three times (including two of the aforementioned four-nil’s), a record which given how tight the table is has seen them climb from 21st to their present 13th position. Their most recent result was a shock 2-1 win over league leaders Salisbury City that even surprised manager Phil Simpkin. The Whites exerted early pressure on a heavy The Avenue pitch but a rare foray forward by the hosts on 26 minutes saw Smeeton fire them ahead. This seemed to stun the Wiltshire side but after the interval they began look more threatening only to find ex-City goalkeeper Jason Matthews in top form. However, with 15 minutes left another former City player, Ben Watson, doubled the Magpies advantage. And even though White made it 2-1 moments later Dorchester withstood late pressure to record a memorable victory.

Complete record against Dorchester Town

City will hope Dorchester’s exertions may catch up with them at Mayday Trust Park but they have strengthened their forward options with the capture of highly-rated teenage striker Keiffer Moore from struggling Truro City. The 18-year old only joined the White Tigers in the summer from local football but 13 goals – including one against Dorchester in the 2-2 draw on New Year’s Day – this season attracted interest from a number of other clubs and Dorchester lured him away from Cornwall with an 18-month contract.

City offer ticket deal for upcoming Magpies and Angels matches (11/2/13)

With two home games this week – Dorchester Town and Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday 12 February (ko 7.45) and Saturday 16 February (ko 3.00) respectively, the club has a deal for our loyal City fans, as we want you to be able to come to both matches. If you buy a ticket for the Dorchester game, you can also buy one of the same face value for the Tonbridge game at half price. If you are a full price ticket purchaser, that equates to £18 for the 2 tickets, and tickets at every level are discounted by the same percentage.

Mellor the star as resolute City make another point in Boreham draw (9/2/13)

Another whole-hearted performance from City earned them a deserved point against play-off chasing Boreham Wood this afternoon in an entertaining goalless draw. It was a resolute defensive effort from the Romans as they enjoyed an even share of possession even though Jason Mellor was the busier of the two keepers. He was quickly off his line to deny Pires early on before produing a stunning one-handed save to turn away Thalassitis’ 20th minute shot that looked destined for the top corner. For City Elliott Chamberlain curled a shot wide and Mark Preece looked to have a strong penalty shout when a Wood defender clambered all over him at a corner. The second half opened with another fine stop by Mellor, pushing Thalassitis’ low shot round the post at full stretch, but City began to gain the upper hand without testing home shot-stopper Russell. He almost gifted City the lead as the game reached the final quarter when his poor pass went straight to Kerry Morgan but the substitute’s first touch was poor and the chance was gone. Mellor capped a fine all-round performance in the final minute, tipping a Thalassitis header over the bar, to secure City’s first back to back clean sheets of the season.

PREVIEW: Boreham Wood v CITY – Blue Square Bet South (7/2/13)

City make their first ever trip to Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park home on Saturday looking to build on their excellent 1-0 win over Farnborough earlier this week. That victory – thanks to loan striker Elliott Chamberlain’s first goal for the Romans twelve minutes from time – moved City up seven Blue Square Bet South places and another three points in Hertfordshire could see them back in the top half of the table for the first time since the end of 2012.

The Wood come into the game on the back of a 4-0 defeat at Welling United but still comfortably occupying the final play-off position, five points ahead of sixth placed Weston Super Mare and only a couple behind Chelmsford City and Dover Athletic. Prior to the Wings game they had enjoyed three successive wins – all at home – and would have had high hopes of ending the Kent side’s record breaking winning run, especially with their highly-rated keeper Sam Mott away on England C duty. Even though Welling went ahead on 27 minutes – Clarke stabbing the ball home after it came back off the crossbar – the Wood were competing well. However, a second goal in first-half stoppage time was a real blow and two further goals for the hosts just past the hour mark gave them a comfortable, though slightly flattering, 4-0 win. With the Wood having yet to suffer back-to-back league defeats this season City will expect to meet a side fired up to ensure this proud record is maintained. They have also only conceded six goals at home in the league this season further emphasising the task facing City.

The run of three wins and a draw in January earned Wood boss Ian Allison – a former Arsenal winger – the Conference South manager of the month award. Having been busy in the loan marker during the month, striker Michael Thalassitis joined from Stevenage along with Woking’s Loick Pires, the final day of January saw Piero Mingoia arrive on a long term loan until the end of this season from close neighbours Watford. Both Arsenal and Watford enjoy further connections to Boreham Wood with the Gunners ladies side and the Hornet’s reserve team sharing their Meadow Park ground.

Complete record against Boreham Wood

The first ever meeting between the clubs back in September at Mayday Trust Park ended in a largely uneventful 0-0 draw. It was City’s first goalless match for 20 months – the previous coming against Luton Town in January 2011 – and brought a three-game league losing streak to an end. The Romans enjoyed the best of the first period – Kurtis Guthrie and Chris Allen going close – before the visitors improved after the interval. However, with both sides looking equally unthreatening up front the eventual outcome will have surprised few in the 508 crowd.

City provide perfect riposte to doom-mongers with impressive Farnborough win (5/2/13)

City bounced back from their disappointing defeat against Staines Town on Saturday to beat Farnborough by one goal to nil at a chilly Cherrywood Road this evening. The home side came into the game boasting the best home record outside of the Blue Square Bet South top two but found City in much more resilient form than of late. The first half was largely controlled by City, Mark Preece going the closest to scoring when his 20th minute header was cleared off the line. Sekani Simpson came within inches of a rare goal ten minutes before the interval but Boro ended the half with their best spell of the game and continued this into the second period. However, City stood firm with Jason Mellor only called into action on a couple of occasions and with 12 minutes remaining a long ball forward gave loan striker Elliott Chamberlain a sight of goal and, at the second attempt, he found the net to the delight of City’s travelling fans. Although understandably City looked to close the game out after this they came the closest to adding to the scoring – Kerry Morgan twice missing good openings – but that mattered little at the final whistle as the much needed three points lifted them back up to mid-table ahead of another tough-looking encounter at Boreham Wood on Saturday.

PREVIEW: Farnborough v CITY – Blue Square Bet South (4/2/13)

If City are to halt their worrying drift back toward the Blue Square Bet South relegation zone this week they are going to have to do it the hard way with tough away trips to two top seven sides, Boreham Wood on Saturday and, before that, Farnborough tomorrow evening. The one goal defeat to Staines Town on Saturday, City’s third successive home loss, saw them slip to 18th place and with the table finally beginning to stretch out they are in danger of not only losing touch with the play off places but being stranded with the group of sides involved in the battle to avoid the drop. However, the division is still tight enough that if City can defy the form book and earn six points from the two games the outlook for the rest of the season would suddenly look a lot brighter.

Since the original date for this clash fell victim to the snow Farnborough have maintained their play-off form but these hopes suffered a serious setback when they received a surprise points deduction. On the pitch they bounced back from a 3-1 defeat to Eastleigh to inflict just a fourth defeat of the campaign on leaders Salisbury City. Both sides were reduced to ten men in the opening fifteen minutes – Boro keeper Bradshaw seeing red for up-ending White outside the box before White’s captain Dutton followed him after blocking Laidler’s shot with his hand. Connolly missed the resultant penalty but a minute before the interval Donnelly’s deflected shot put the home side in front. The striker – who has since signed for Conference Premier title chasing Newport County – grabbed his second in the final minute which made White’s goal for Salisbury moments later only a consolation. They followed this impressive result with a hard fought 3-2 win at Tonbridge Angels which would have moved them within two points of the play-off places but for the four point deduction they had received earlier in the week.

They were punished failing to secure international clearance for their former Congolese midfielder Medi Abalimba in the opening month of the season. Boro gained eight points from the games the player took part in but the Football Conference exercised its discretion and only deducted half this amount. The club appealed against the Conference’s decision on the grounds of ‘severity of sentence’ but the deduction was upheld by a Panel of FA Councillors at Wembley last Monday. This was the second successive season Boro have suffered a points deduction – they lost five last year for financial irregularities – and manager Spencer day admitted he came close to quitting over the incident.

Complete record against Farnborough/Farnborough Town

If City are looking for a positive omen going into the game their last home league win came against Farnborough back at the start of November, thanks to two goals from Charlie Griffin and an injury-time strike from now Down Under striker Sean Canham. This victory came in the middle of a spell of four wins in five Conference South outings, the sort of run they will be keen repeat and ensure the final third of the season is spent looking toward the top of the table rather than the bottom.

City Pack the Park but can’t stop Swans sailing off with win (2/2/13)

With the first 1000+ crowd of the season this afternoon the Pack the Park campaign was a success but unfortunately the team could not match this achievement going down 1-0 to Staines Town. The visitors bossed the game for long periods but just when it appeared City had held out to earn a point Marsh struck with two minutes left to deservedly win the game for the Swans. In a generally uninspiring first period Staines created the best of the few openings, City keeper Jason Mellor denying Marsh with his legs after seven minutes, pushing Wheeler’s shot away then turning another Marsh effort over the crossbar late in the half. In first half stoppage time Chris Allen saw a goalbound shot deflected away for a corner and the second half began with more promise from City. Mark Preece’s header from a Marc Canham corner was cleared off the line then Adam Connolly lifted a shot past keeper Turner but just the wrong side of the post. This proved false dawn though and Staines were soon back in charge. A combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Mellor, though, looked set to see the game end goalless but with two minutes left Wheeler out-muscled Preece on the halfway line. He raced toward goal and although his shot was blocked by Gethin Jones it dropped kindly to Marsh who finally fired past Mellor into the roof of the net.