City recorded their second 2-2 draw in three days at Hastings last night but this time it was City who scored a late equaliser to share the points. The goal came after a mix-up between Hatings keeper Kessell and a defender which allowed Mike Davis to walk the ball into the net. City’s opening goal had come over 90 minutes before as Graham Colbourne converted Scott Walker’s cross within the first minute. They held this lead into the second half after a series of misses by the home side but in the space of five second half minutes they found themselves trailing. The first came from the penalty spot after a push was spotted by a linesman and the second from a mistake by Colin Towler. Hastings then sat back and looked to have the game won, particularly after Davis had a ‘goal’ disallowed for a foul by Colbourne on the keeper, but the wingback got another chance and, to the delight of City’s 20 or so fans, made no mistake. Oh, and the burgers where among the most foul I’ve had the misfortune of buying.
Despite the disappointment of conceding an equaliser two minutes from time City came away from Halesowen greatful to have earned a point after the home side missed a series of great chances. In an entertaining game City brought in Jimmy Fraser, Dave Elsey and Lee Vickerman for Rob Skidmore, Mark Harrington and Martin Paul, with Fidell Richards partnering Graham Colbourne up front. And it was Richards who gave City the lead on 26 minutes, holding off two defenders and poking the ball home. Colbourne should have added a second, blasting wide when clean through shortly afterwards but just before the interval a mix-up at the back gave Elmes a free header. The second half saw the Yeltz dominate and only wayward finishing and some desperate defending kept the game level and when Colbourne beat Town keeper McDonnell to give Fraser a simple tap-in it looked like City might steal the game. With City’s goal leading a charmed life, as both Towler and Bodin produced brilliant goal clearances, it looked as the three point could be theirs, but as time ran out so, finally, did their luck. After Fraser had seen his shot come back off a post Town broke and, from the resultant free kick, an unmarked Piearce fired into the roof of the net. With around 6 minutes of stoppage time City were in danger of conceding a third but they held out for the point to remain in 6th place.
Next season could see the return to Twerton Park of ex-City favourite Adie Mings. The current Gloucester City top scorer has indicated he would like to move back to City during the summer, and City bosses Paul Bodin and Steve White are currently considering the option. I believe White is keen on the move but Bodin is not so sure. For what it’s worth I think Mings would be a great addition to the City squad as his 17 goals for Gloucester this season show he can be a force still at this level.
After two previous postponements City’s game at King’s Lynn finally got the go ahead last night but City will wish it hadn’t as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat. The decisive goal came midway through the first half from a King’s Lynn side boosted by the debut of ex-Norwich City star Jeremy Goss. An improved second half saw City go close on a couple of occasions but, in truth, they never really looked liked grabbing an equaliser in another disappointing performance. The closest they came was a deflected Jimmy Fraser shot that almost beat home keeper Martini, but the Morroccan international recovered to save well.
With a much improved performance City beat Atherstone United 3-1 in an eventful game at Twerton Park this afternoon. The match turned on the double sending off of City’s Graham Colbourne and the Adders Gary Redgate after a 75th minute scuffle. The physical approach of both sides had led to several incidents before Colbourne kicked out at Albrighton after the defender blocked his run. Redgate then threw a punch at the City striker before 21 of the players began a pushing and shoving match which ended with the dismissal of Colbourne and Redgate. At this point the game had been heading for a 1-1 draw after Scott Walker’s 25 yard screamer had equalised Atherstone’s against the run of play opener from Albrighton. But just five minutes after the fun and games Walker headed City in front from a Davis cross and then Davis grabbed the third to give City their first league win for a month.
Chairman Steve Hall will reveal to shareholders tonight at the AGM (The Pavillion, 7.30) that City’s financial problems are far from over and only a move to a new stadium will secure the club’s long term future. Despite reducing running debts since Hall and his fellow supporters took over the running of the club 18 months ago City are still over £400,000 in the red. The position has been worsened by the removal of a loan by major shareholders Corporate Equity designed to cover the coming years losses. With the banks refusing further loans and bailiffs already visiting Twerton Park, City are faced with, at least, breaking even next year. Only a move to new stadium complex with other money raiseing areas, such as a cinema, will overcome the current troubles. The position means City boss Paul Bodin will still be faced with building a team capable of getting back into the Conference on the tightest of budgets.
Away from the troubles off the pitch City have rearranged their home match with Boston United for Tuesday 20 April. They have also given a trial to Larkhall’s Lee Collier. The 18-year old recently left Yeovil Town after failing to break into the first team despite a series of impressive performances for their second string side.
Okay, so on the positive side it wasn’t cold and City didn’t lose, but if City have been involved in a worse game this season I haven’t seen it (and, yes, I’ve seen them all). After Worcester had a goal disallowed in the second minute the game had nil-nil written all over it. City did force a couple of good saves out of Worcester keeper Higgs but, in reality, the only interest was waiting next bizarre decision the referee would make. The best being blowing up for a free kick to City when Martin Paul had just been sent clean through. Scott Walker made his debut and did no worse than the rest, which is not really a compliment, but, all in all, not a performance to make you look forward to the remaining 12 games.
The postponement of the matches at Cambridge City and King’s Lynn due to waterlogged pitches has left City with an increasingly crowded run-in to the season. And the situation could get worse if Boston progress to the semi-final stage of the FA Trophy, as the second leg clashes with City’s visit on April 17. The Cambridge and King’s Lynn games have been rearranged for April 27 and March 23 respectively.
With their league and cups hopes lying beaten and bloody in the Twerton Park mud City have begun to look to next season with the signature of Exeter City left sided wingback Scott Walker. The teenager will go straight into tomorrows squad for the trip to Cambridge City, but is the first of a series of changes that City look set to make in an attempt to improve their chances of success next year. Making way for Walker is Gareth Loyden who has been released. Despite some encouraging performances earlier this season Loyden has only featured a couple of times from the bench recently, with Bodin clearly not rating his fellow Welshman.
City’s last chance of silverware this season ended as they lost in a penalty shoot out to Midland Division leaders Clevedon Town. Despite City creating a number of clear cut chances, particularly in the first half, the game ended goaless and, after Hervin, Davis and Bodin had converted their spot kicks to keep the game level, misses by Harrington and Paul handed a place in the final to Clevedon. In dreadful conditions City had always looked the Premier Division side but a string of great saves by Town keeper Richard Fey keep the scores level and as the game progressed the pitch, and Clevedon’s physical approach, began to contain City and a penalty shoot out always looked the most likely way to separate the sides. City now face two long away trips to Cambridge City and Kings Lynn.