With just 10 minutes remaining on the clock City were fighting a desperate rearguard action holding onto their 1-0 lead, earned in the first half through a Steve White strike, when referee J R Hubbard ended a goalmouth scramble by awarding Nuneaton a penalty. Whether he was making up for not giving a clearer penalty earlier I don’t know but Ian Muir buried the spot kick to the huge relief of the majority of the 2000 crowd at Manor Park. White’s goal on 40 minutes capped a great first half performance giving City a deserved lead but the second period saw City pegged back by the league leaders. However, apart from one shot against the bar, City had defended their lead superbly until the referee’s intervention. The draw leaves City still 18 points adrift and, with Gloucester’s win at Halesowen, down to 3rd place.
City centre-back Peter Tisdale could be in line for a trip to Spain this summer with the Great Britain University squad for the World Student Games. The 18-year old has been picked to play against Northern Ireland at Lilleshaw on Sunday for the team, and a successful showing could earn a prestigous place in the squad for Spain. It will mean a busy weekend for Tisdale as he lines up in the City defence against Nuneaton on Saturday before joining his fellow students on Sunday.
Next weeks clash with runaway leaders Nuneaton Borough was set up perfectly as City kept their slim hopes of catching the Midlands side alive as they beat Crawley Town 2-0 at Twerton Park today. Goals from Martin Paul and Jimmy Fraser in either half saw City beat fellow Nuneaton chasers Crawley without ever really breaking sweat and moved them back into second place. They were also given a further boost with Nuneaton’s first home defeat at the hands of lowly Salisbury, although the gap remains an imposing 18 points.
City won their first game since the victory at Worcester on 7 December with a much improved performance, albeit against a poor Gresley Rovers side, running out comfortable 3-0 winners. Steve White opened the scoring stabbing home from close range on 13 minutes before two second half goals from Martin Paul completed the scoring. The financially struggling visitors had thier chances in the first half but Mark Hervin was equal to the threat and in the second half City took control with Jimmy Fraser and Stuart James having particularly good games, the former going close on a couple of occasions. The win lifted City back to 3rd place in the table now just 21 points behind leaders Nuneaton!
City made their customary early exit from the league cup in controversial circumstances at Witney Town last night in the much delayed Doc Martens Cup 2nd Round replay. Two penalties, the second three minutes into stoppage time, and a mistake by Hervin left City with only the Somerset Premier Cup as a realistic chance of silverware this season. Hervin’s weak clearance led to Witney’s first goal, cancelling out Martin Paul’s 21st minute opener, and then Elsey tripped Caffel to give the home side the lead. But City looked to be going through on away goals after Mike Davis buried a Bodin corner three minutes from time before the second spot kick, this time for a foul by Towler on McDonnell, ended their hopes.
The news that Garry Wotton may be out of action for up to 6 weeks has dealt City’s slim championship hopes another blow. The influential centre-half has a blood clot on his groin after a minor operation to remove a lump on his head went wrong. The lump was a legacy of a clash in City’s opening match of the season against King’s Lynn, which also left Wotton with a broken collarbone, and yesterday’s hospital visit was an attempt to finally clear the problem up. Although City are probably better equipped in the centre of defence than any other position in the team, even more so as loan signing Jim Rollo can also play there, the loss of Wotton is a blow as he has frequently been the rock on which City have built the best defence in the Dr Martens League.
Tonights Doc Martens Cup tie at Witney Town has become the third City match in a row to postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The sides will make a third attempt to play the 2nd round match on Thursday as the next round tie against Dorchester Town is due to be played next week.
City have made their first signing since the summer in bringing Jim Rollo in from Forest Green Rovers on a month’s loan. The utility player, who made a handful of appearances for City in the 96/97 season, will go straight into the squad for tomorrow’s game at Witney. Bodin admitted that he had tried to sign the player before this season had been watching him since, and has brought him in mainly as cover for the soon-to-be suspended Rob Skidmore.
City have also won the Safe Hands award for conceding the fewest league goals in December. This is the second time City have won this award and will keep Mark Hervin in keeper gloves for a little bit longer.
Just 15 minutes into our journey to King’s Lynn we recieved the dreaded phone call – the game had been postponed – so we went right round the roundabout just before Keynsham and headed back home. A 9.00am pitch inspection declared the pitch unplayable and so City lose yet another game to the weather. They’ll try again to play the Dr Martens Cup tie at Witney on Tuesday and this game will be rearranged in due course.
Tonights Dr Martens Cup 2nd round replay tie at Witney Town has been postponed due (I guess) to a waterlogged pitch. The game has been replanned for Tuesday 12 January. The winners of the tie will face a home tie with Dorchester Town in the 3rd round.
Once again City threw a dream start away as they lost 2-1 to promotion rivals Ilkeston Town. For the third time in the last four matches City went ahead in the first five minutes, this time a Towler header from a Bodin corner, but failed to capitalise. The visitors drew level after 15 minutes and got the winner 18 minutes before the end, with only 2 stunning saves from Mark Hervin preventing a more comprehensive defeat. In the last few minutes City almost grabbed an equaliser but Steve White twice shot wide from close range. The defeat sees City slip below Ilkeston into 5th place and, with Nuneaton and Boston both winning, 6-1 against Merthyr and 2-0 at Burton respectively, leaves them well adrift of the chase for the championship.
Another year, another draw and another 2 points dropped. On a heavy pitch, in windy conditions, Merthyr and City served up an entertaining game with both sides creating chances, but in the end they had to settle for a share of the points as the defences came out on top. In the City rearguard Gary Wotton stood out with an excellent performance. The closeest City came to earning the desperately needed 3 points was when a Jimmy Fraser shot hit the bar. Depsite the draw City moved a point closer to Nuneaton as they lost 2-0 to Halesowen but, with Crawley’s victory, they did drop to 4th place.