Having been on the receiving end of several smash and grab reversals recently City handed out one of their own this afternoon to beat King’s Lynn by two goals to nil. They were thankful to keeper Paul Evans on two or three occasions in a one-sided first half but as the game wore on they grew in confidence and stunned the Norfolk side when John Williams executed a perfect lob to put them ahead after 72 minutes. And eight minutes later it got even better for City’s small band of supporters who made the long trip to East Anglia as Alex Sykes produced an equally stunning 25 yard shot that flew past home goalie Wilson into the roof of the net. This was hard on the home side as aside from Evans’ heriocs they saw a strong first half penalty shout waved away when a City defender appeared to block a shot on the line with his hand and had a ‘goal’ disallowed in the second for offside, but given some of City’s recent defeats there will be little sympathy in the Twerton Park camp.
City finally recorded a Twerton Park league victory after nearly a four month wait last night despite an astonishingly piece of inept – embarrassingly so – refereeing that, had Cirencester grabbed an equaliser, could have denied them their success. With a new 3-4-1-2 formation City deservedly led through Alex Sykes’ 6th minute strike and when Luke Corbett converted John Williams cross-shot on 31 minutes it looked as if City would run out comfortable winners. However, despite the linesman being perfectly happy with the goal and not a murmur of protest from the visitors the referee incredibly disallowed the strike for offside! At the time the decision seemed bizarre but when a video of the ‘goal’ showed Corbett not only several yards onside but behind Williams when he shot, it showed what a shocking decision it was. Thankfully, Cirencester were unable to take advantage of this huge stroke of luck and, but for several smart saves by former City keeper Mark Bryant, they could have been on the recieving end of a heavy defeat than the final 1-0 scoreline.
In what was billed as a ‘must win’ game to get their league campaign back on track, City were left beaten and embarrassed in the Twerton Park mud as Solihull Borough produced a perfect smash-and-grab performance to win 1-0. The visitors, who had conceded 11 goals in their last two away league games, were content to soak up City’s ponderous and predictable efforts and then with ten minutes remaining they broke away and Taylor fired the winning goal past Paul Evans. For all their possession and, at times, neat passing City looked woefully inadequate and incapable of breaking down even a struggling side like Solihull. Talk that they will be able to get back into the play-off hunt is increasingly sounding like a bad joke and they will soon be looking more toward the foot of the table than the top. Which is an absolute disgrace.
Teenage midfielder Yan Klukowski has become the third City player to earn international recognition this season after he was named in the England Under-18 Schoolboy squad that will travel to Jamaica next month for a eight-day tour. The 17-year old follows Alex Sykes and Russell Milton, who have both played for the England Futsal team, in representing his country after coming through a recent trial to trim the squad down from 32 to 16 youngsters.
City’s incredible bad luck with injuries this season continued after current player of the season Matt Coupe injured his back in a fall at work. The roofer fell about six feet from a ladder and, whilst escaping serious injury, suffered a recurrance of the back problem that has already sidelined him this season. Out of City’s first team squad only Jimmy Benefield and Sam Bailey have not been forced to miss games with injury this season and they have been particularly hard hit with keeper Paul Evans and star striker Scott Partridge both starting less than half of the seasons matches. Coupe joins Bobby Ford, Partridge, Mike Trought and Graeme Power on the current injury list.
City look set to be covered by a transfer window from next season after the Southern League advised the club that the FA intend to extend the system to include the league. The window, that only allows club to buy or sell players between the 1 and 31 January during the season, currently only operates in the Premiership but the FA look set to introduce it throughout the national game. Only out of contract players mave move outside the window, although clubs with an injury crisis may bring in new players so City probably will be able to get around the system!
City can now concentrate entirely on rescuing their league ambitions after they exited the Southern League Cup tonight in a single goal defeat to Merthyr Tydfil at Twerton Park. In a game (and competition) that manager Gary Owers clearly considered an unnecessary distraction City fielded a reasonably strong side and did dominate for long periods but failed to create any clear cut openings. The closest they came in the first half was from an Owers (playing at right-back!) shot against the outside of the post. The second half saw the Welsh side come more into the game but they appeared no more interested in winning than City. However, with 13 minutes left they were gifted a chance they they couldn’t miss when Steve Jones gave away possession on the edge of the box and Bale converted the resultant cross from close range. Luke Corbett did spurn a good chance after this to put the 132 spectators through the further nightmare of extra time, following neat work by substitute Josh Brigham, but he couldn’t apply a finishing touch. The only other event of note was Merthyr’s no.3 Keddle somehow escaping a red card for kicking Jimmy Benefield when the ball was trapped underneath him just minutes after getting booked for pushing Brigham in the face. Maybe by then even the referee had lost interest.
Failing to match the performances that had already beaten three higher league opponents in cup games this season City exited the FA Trophy yesterday with a 3-0 defeat against Conference side Canvey Island. After an even first half hour City fell behind on 39 minutes when Berquez stabbed the ball home from close range at the third attempt. Five minutes into the second half a poor clearance by Paul Evans allowed Boylan to hit a shot into the unguarded net from 30 yards. And the game was over for City six minutes later when Berquez ended a good move to roll home his second goal.
With Darren Caskey’s City career ending after just a single game – he has joined one of City’s FA Cup victims Conference South Havant & Waterlooville, who no doubt are paying him more than City could dream of affording – Gary Owers has brought back Darren Hawkins for a third spell at Twerton Park. The 20-year old was recently released by Bristol City and spent a short spell with Conference side Tamworth. However, when this move did not work out Owers moved to sign him on a short term contract. Hawkins previously spent two loan periods with City, making 26 appearances and scoring 9 goals.
City’s injury woes continued after it was confirmed that Scott Partridge faces a month out with an ankle injury, although fears that he had broken his left ankle after falling awkwardly during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Halesowen proved unfounded. The absence of Partridge, who has scored 28 goals in just 41 appearances for City since joining from Weymouth exactly a year ago, is yet another injury setback with Bobby Ford out for another three weeks with a broken rib, and Graeme Power, Alex Sykes and Gary Owers all missing from the Halesowen game.
City have allowed striker Reinier Moor to join Clevedon Town on a month’s loan. The former Exeter City player has only scored a single goal in nine starts and 14 substitute appearances this season.
City have rearranged their two outstanding league clashes in February. The trip to Rugby United will take place on the 1st of the month and the derby match at home to Chippenham will be played three weeks later on the 22nd. Both games will kick off at 7.45pm.
City failed to build on an impressive first half performance and the classy debut of Darren Caskey to drop another two home points in a 1-1 draw with Halesowen Town this afternoon. With Caskey pulling the strings in the middle of the pitch they should have led by more than John Williams’ 17th minute strike at the break but they allowed Halesowen back into the game after half-time and it was no surprise when Lamey’s close range finish on 70 minutes levelled the scores. To make matters worse seconds before the goal Scott Partridge had been stretchered off with a knee (?) injury. Caskey almost won the game for City in the last minute but the Yeltz keeper blocked his shot, leaving City without a home league win since 8 October.
City have completed the signing of Darren Caskey this afternoon in time for the former Tottenham and Reading midfielder to make his debut against Halesowen Town tomorrow. The 30-year old, who also played for Notts County alongside Owers, has recently been playing for Peterborough United who knocked City out of the FA Cup last month. However, with the Posh struggling against relegation Caskey was released and will sign non-contract forms for City, although it could only be a short-term deal as he may be heading to the US at the end of January.
City’s on loan striker Luke Corbett has expressed his desire to earn a permanent move to Twerton Park after admitting his chances at Cheltenham Town are limited. The 20-year old has joined initially on a one month deal but if he can continue the impressive start he has made, he struck a stunning 40-yard goal on his debut against Team Bath and then produced a solid display in the defeat at Tiverton Town on Monday, the arrangement could be extended.
City’s frustrating ability to gift even the poorest of opponent’s a victory was again painfully evident this afternoon at Tiverton Town as they somehow contrived to lose 2-0 against the woeful Devon side. Having already beaten them twice this season the absence of Graeme Power, Gary Owers, Alex Sykes and Bobby Ford, plus Scott Partridge only well enough for a place on the bench, should have made little difference. However, two goals in the opening 15 minutes, both through City errors, allowed Tiverton a grip on the game that for all City’s possession they never relinquished. The first one six minutes saw Paul Evans completely mis-judge a corner and deflect the ball into his own net. It got even worse eight minutes later as Jim Rollo and Yan Klukowski left the ball for each other allowing Mudge to fire home. From then on the home side were content to sit on their advantage and frustrate City at every opportunity. The second half was completely one-way traffic but despite City passing the ball well on a dreadful pitch the vital goal would not come and Tivvy could celebrate a win that could not have been more of a present if it was wrapped in shiny paper with a bow on top.
City have rearranged their home league meeting with Cirencester Town for Wednesday 26 January (ko 7.45pm).
City overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit to run out 4-1 winners at a wet and windy Twerton Park this afternoon in their ‘away’ match against tenants Team Bath. In a dreadful first half neither side came to terms with the difficult conditions, creating just one chance each; City’s came from Gary Owers a minute before the interval, which Pecora turned over the bar, but ten minutes before Wojciechowski had given the University side the lead after Paul Evans could only parry Lewis’ shot. However, the second period was different story as, with the elements in their favour, City dominated. They took only nine minutes to draw level when Pecora inexplicably picked up a throw-in and from the indirect free-kick John Williams fired home from Gary Owers header across goal. Just after the hour mark Alex Sykes’ stunning 30-yard volley put City ahead and from then on City were in control. With ten minutes remaining Jimmy Benefield put them 3-1 up and six minutes later debutant Luke Corbett’s 40-yard effort, after a Pecora clearance had fell to him, completed the turnaround.
City have signed young Cheltenham Town striker Luke Corbett on a month’s loan ahead of this afternoon’s local derby against Team
Taxpayer Bath. The 20-year old has been with the Robins for two years, making just a single first team appearance although he has been a regular scorer for their reserve side, and has already had loan spells with Weston Super Mare (twice), Hednesford Town and Chelmsford City.