|Davidge heads to the seaside in attempt to get some playing time (30/1/07)
As expected Craig Davidge has headed out on loan, with fellow British Gas Business League side Clevedon Town the destination for the flying winger. The 22-year old expressed a wish to go out on loan to get some playing time under his belt having spent the majority of the season on the bench for City. He will spend a month with the Seasiders before returning to, hopefully, play a vital part in City’s run-in to the season.
A 25-yard screamer by Darren Edwards was enough to see off Hemel Hempstead Town in a closely-fought encounter at Twerton Park this afternoon. This 21st minute strike capped a great start to the game from City. They had the ball in the net after just 10 seconds only for a shocking offside decision to rule the ‘goal’ out and then a Mark McKeever shot was superbly saved by Smith. The keeper was less secure on several other occasions but last-ditch defending came to his rescue. After Edwards struck the visitors began to come into the game and with City’s defence struggling to cope with their pace they should have been level before the interval, although Lewis Hogg spurned a great opening to double City’s lead on the stroke of half-time. The second half saw City contain the Tudors much more effectively and this clearly frustrated them as Sippetts and Edwards were booked for dissent, the former for throwing the corner flag over his shoulder after a throw-in decision went against him. He then compounded this by having a hilarious tantrum when he was substituted moments later. City did have a couple of nervous moments but always looked the more likely to add to the scoring, however in the end it was a single goal that was thoroughly deserving of winning the game.
City can now focus full attention on their quest to secure the British Gas Business League title after they lost 3-1 to Tiverton Town last night to end their interest in the Errea Cup. Fielding just three players who started Saturday’s 5-0 win at Gloucester City, alongside Martin Paul and Jon Holloway who both came out of retirement to play, City ran the stronger home side line-up close before a second half brace from Cliff-Brown secured Tivvy a quarter-final berth. Tiverton went ahead after on 27 minutes, Bale firing home Vinnicombe’s cross, before City levelled through Mark McKeever’s low drive seven minutes after the interval. However, parity only lasted ten minutes when youth team keeper Eddie Quelch could only parry Bale’s shot into Cliff-Brown’s path and he made no mistake from six yards. And the Yellow’s striker completed the victory after 81 minutes when he converted a Vinnicombe corner.
Recently retired duo Martin Paul and Jon Holloway will turn out again for City this evening in the 4th Round Errea Cup meeting with Tiverton Town. Both players called time on their non-league careers earlier this season, Paul after an unsuccessful spell with Chippenham Town and Holloway due to a persistent back injury. However, they have agreed to turn out once more in City colours as manager John Relish again rests the majority of his first choice players. This will again give a chance for youth team stars Eddie Quelch and Adam Tyers, who both impressed in the 3rd round win at Clevedon Town last week, plus a number of fringe first players to make an impact.
Fans’ favourite winger Craig Davidge could be heading out on loan to regain his match fitness after spending the majority of this season on the bench. The 22-year old, who last week was offered a contract extension until 2008, has started just seven games this season compared to being named substitute on 24 occasions, although on Saturday he was not even amongst the five back-up players. Understandably there is a lot of interest in the pacy Davidge, however manager John Relish has yet to confirm whether he will be allowed to leave and he is certain to start in tomorrow’s Errea Cup game at Tiverton Town.
City moved three points clear at the top of the table with a 4-0 win at Gloucester City this afternoon which was every bit as comfortable as the scoreline suggests. Chris Holland had already had one header tipped over by home keeper Bath and Scott Partridge denied by a last ditch tackle before City’s nineteenth minute openerw when another Holland header, from a Mark Mckeever corner, was turned home by Darren Edwards. The Tigers had looked threatening on the break on several occasions although City finished the half strongly, Edwards and Lewis Hogg both going close. This misses were soon forgotten as with three minutes of the restart City were 3-0 up. First, Hogg’s cross was blocked into the path of Scott Rogers to fire into the corner of the net, then a minute later Partridge shot across Bath against the foot of the post and McKeever blasted the rebound into the roof of the net. The game now won City were content to sit back although when they did get forward they forced Bath into a series of fine saves. In stoppage they sealed the win with a fourth goal, Dean Clarke crossing for Phil Walsh to head home at the far post.
According to the Southern League website (so, don’t blame me if it’s wrong) City have rearranged two of their three outstanding league games. They will travel to Northwood on Monday 5 March (ko 7.45pm) before facing Merthyr Tydfil at Twerton Park on Tuesday 20 March (ko 7.45pm).
The likelihood of Bristol Rovers making a return to Twerton Park has increased following the decision earlier this week to give them the green light to redevelop their Memorial Stadium, turning it into an 18,500 all-seater stadium. City’s ground, which hosted the Pirates for 10 years between 1986 and 1996, is one of a number of potential temporary homes, although in a recent poll it was voted the top choice by Rovers fans. Several obstacles lie in the way of Rovers’ return, including the cost of bringing the ground back up to league standards, which Rovers would clearly be required to fund, and whether they could be accomodated alongside current tenants Team Bath.
Striker Justin Pritchard has left City to return to one of his former clubs Yate Town.
A 23rd minute goal from Phil Walsh against his former club Clevedon Town was enough to secure City a 4th round berth in the Errea Cup last night. The decisive strike was down to his typical never-say-die attitude as he charged down an attempted clearance by Clevedon keeper Greaves, the ball rebounding straight into the net. Despite the somewhat fortunate nature of the goal City were good value for the lead as they took the game more seriously than it deserved. This was mainly down to the side featuring a number of fringe first-team players plus youth stars Eddie Quelch and Adam Tyers, all who seemed determined to show they were worth a start in more than just this meaningless competition. Mike Green, Walsh and Craig Davidge all went close to increasing City’s lead after the break and in return Gurney forced a fine save out of Qulech before clipping the outside of the post with another long range effort. Darren Edwards spured a great late opening to secure the win and Quelch again came to City’s rescue in the closing moments, tipping Romdhane’s header over the bar. City now face a trip to Tiverton Town on Tuesday 23 January (ko 7.45pm) in the 4th Round.
Fears that keeper Paul Evans may have broken a bone in his had seem to be receeding but he will still not be risked in tonight’s Errea Cup 3rd Round tie at Clevedon Town. The South African was injured early on in Saturday’s 5-0 win over Cheshunt and had to play through the pain barrier to record his third successive clean sheet. However, after a couple days rest it appears that the injury is less serious than feared and Evans should be fit to face Gloucester City on Saturday. His absence means City will go into this evening’s match with youth team keeper Eddie Quelch between the posts. He may not be the only member of the youth side to play at the Hand Stadium as City rest a number of first choice players in a game that few at Twerton Park will shed a tear if the home side are victorious.
City showed little sign of rustiness following their enforced 12 day break from action as they overcame relegation-strugglers Cheshunt 5-0 at Twerton Park this afternoon. Star of the victory, that lifts them back to the top of the British Gas Business Premier Division, was Scott Partridge with a second half hat-trick. The visitors had a great early opportunity to catch City cold only for Paul Evans to block the effort. City then began to get on top without ever looking particularly threatening, until a minute before the break Darren Edwards found space in the box to lift the ball over the keeper. After the break it was all City. On 58 minutes Partridge’s close range finish made it 2-0 and nine minutes later he turned home a Chris Holland knock down. He completed his seventh hat-trick in City colours in the 73rd minute as the ball dropped over a defender and he lifted it past the keeper. He then had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside but City completed their second successive five-goal home win eleven minutes from time as substitute Phil Walsh crossed for Lewis Hogg to slide the ball home.
City’s concerns over a possible end-of-season fixture pile-up increased today with the postponement of this evening’s clash with Mangotsfield United. A 2.30pm pitch inspection found Cossham Street unplayable and meant that City have lost two matches to the weather in the last three days. Two further cancellations in December plus a number of cup replays means they have played two games less than at the same stage last season and up to four games less than a number of British Gas Business League rivals.
With both the players and supporters coaches sat in the Twerton Park car park ready to head up the M4 the (not unexpected) call came through to confirm that this afternoon’s British Gas Business League clash with Northwood is off due to a waterlogged pitch. Despite the Northwood Road pitch recovering to some extent during the week, overnight rain and a forecast of more to come has left it unplayable. City will now turn their attention to the top of the table clash with Mangotsfield United on Tuesday (weather permitting).
City have rearranged one of their outstanding matches – they will travel to Rugby Town on Tuesday 20 February (ko 7.45pm).
Sekani Simpson and Mike Green have both been offered contract extensions to keep them at Twerton Park until the end of the 2007-08 season. Simpson joined City from Forest Green Rovers in October and, although several injuries have meant he has only started seven games, the 22-year old is seen as a excellant prospect. Green, who is also 22, has been one of City’s most consistent and versatile performers this season, following his arrival from Cinderford Town in the summer. And returning to Twerton Park next week will be striker Phil Walsh. Completing a trio of 22-year old’s, Walsh has spent the last three months out on loan, the first two at Paulton Rovers then at Tiverton Town. This second deal ends on January 8 and, with the departure of Arek Zarczynski, he will return to Twerton Park.
A penalty by Lewis Hogg – following a clumsy challenge on Darren Edwards by keeper Snoddy – eight minutes from the end of a typically competitive derby meeting between City and Chippenham Town was enough to secure the local bragging rights for the visitors. In increasingly wet and windy conditions both sides struggled to produce any quality football, although City did look the more composed side and, unlike in last season’s two encounters, they did not let the Bluebirds constant gamesmanship disrupt them. Playing down the slope in the first half City were on top and had the ball in the net on 17 minutes, only for Mark McKeever’s tap-in to be ruled out as the ball had crossed the goalline before Edwards picked him out. This was as close as they came and after the interval Chippenham began to get the upper hand. Their main threat came from a number of free-kicks, mainly won through the ease that Gilroy et al went to ground, although City also had a nervous moment when Paul Evans appeared to handle outside his area, but the well positioned referee adjudged that it was his body the ball struck. He was not so well placed when ex-City ‘star’ Paul Milsom felled Edwards with a punch to the back while waiting for a throw-in, however justice was done when he pointed to the spot twenty minutes later. There was time for Gilroy – on a rare occasion staying on his feet – to fire over from close range but this was the closest Town came to denying City victory.