City have lost the services of left-winger Jamie Cook after he turned down the option of extending his loan deal until the end of the season to return to Conference side Stevenage Borough. The 24-year showed brief glimpses of his undoubted talent during his five outings for City with his brilliant solo goal at Hinckley United the clear highlight. However, with both Andy Williams and Russell Milton returning to full fitness, plus Drew Shore, City are not short of options on the left flank.
Tonight’s Severnside League match with Gloucester City was cancelled as the Tigers could not raise a side. This is the second time the planned meeting between the sides has been postponed at the last moment due to Gloucester’s inability to find eleven players.
Steve Jones, City’s captain, has pleaded his innocence after receiving a red card for his part in an off-the-ball incident with Dorchester’s Justin Keeler in the closing stages of Saturday’s 0-0 draw between the sides. The former Forest Green Rovers centre-back said, “It was all handbags, really. I asked him (Keeler) to kick the ball out because Paul Evans was down and then when he ran back past me he kicked me on the heel. I just pushed him away and then he has head-butted me. The ref has said that the linesman told him I swung a punch. It might have looked like that from where he was but I didn’t and I did nothing wrong – I just pushed him.” Jones will now miss three of City’s six remaining games beginning with the trip to Tiverton Town on April 10.
Another vital player who could be out of action for some time is keeper Paul Evans. The recent arrival suffered a groin injury just before the above incident and is now struggling to be fit for next weeks local derby against Chippenham Town.
City missed a perfect chance to climb into the play-off postions as they were held to a goalless draw by Dorchester Town at Twerton Park this afternoon. They wasted at least half a dozen clear cut openings with Scott Partridge the main culprit and when Gary Owers 25-yard free-kick thumped against the bar with 10 minutes remaining it was clear that it was not going to be City’s day. Their cause was not helped by an inept referee who turned down two blatent City penalties in the first half and then let the visitors get away with numerous infringments clearly aimed at disrupting the game. It was no surprise when his weak handling of the game saw a flare-up right on 90 minutes that ended with City captain Steve Jones and Magpie’s Justin Keeler receiving red cards.
City recorded their first Severnside League victory last night, overcoming Salisbury City by four goals to nil. The goals came from a Josh Jeffries treble and Ricky Hulbert but it was the return to action of Russell Milton that was the major plus of the night. The midfielder, who has been sidelined for two months with a knee injury, played an hour and set up the first two goals. Andy Williams also continued his return from injury by playing the full 90 minutes.
A quality finish and piece of opportunitism from veteran Stafford Rangers striker Neil Grayson, on his home debut, left City on the wrong end of the 2-0 scoreline yesterday. The former Forest Green front man struck twice in two second half minutes just as it looked like City would hold out for a creditable goalless draw. The first came on 69 minutes after a strong run and neat finish, then two minutes later Heath’s cross was only parried by Paul Evans and Grayson fired home from six yards out. This was somewhat harsh on City as they had matched their high-flying opponents in very difficulty windy conditions. Both sides attempted to keep the ball on the deck but chances were at a premium. Frankie Bennett sent an overhead kick inches wide in the first half and Jim Rollo forced a smart stop out of Lindley with a wide assisted second half shot. Grayson blasted the home side’s best chance into the side netting around the hour mark before making no mistake with his next two openings.
City have arranged two Severnside League games. They will travel to Salisbury City on Tuesday 23 March (ko 7.30pm) before facing Gloucester City at Twerton Park on Tuesday 30 March (ko 7.45pm). These matches should see the return of midfielder Russell Milton after two months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Following the events of last season, when City’s 2-1 victory at Chippenham Town was marred by a perimeter wall collasping injuring former midfielder Jamie Gosling, and showing the Wiltshire side’s Hardenhuish Park ground is still barely capable of staging Dr Martens League football, this season’s meeting has been made all-ticket with the capacity limited to just 1500. City will receive an allocation of 450 tickets and the club has announced the following selling arrangements:
Tickets will be limited to 1 per person.
Current season ticket holders have until 5pm on Wednesday, 24 March to apply by post or in person by submitting voucher A of their season ticket booklet with the requisite amount.
Supporters Club and Supporters Society members will have from 5pm on Wednesday, 24 March to apply in person to the club office to purchase a ticket, on production of their membership card. To assist this, the ticket office will be open at the following times:
Wednesday,24 March – 5pm – 8pm
Thursday, 25 March – 9am – 5pm
Friday, 26 March – 9am – 8pm
Saturday, 27 March – 10am – 5.30pm
Monday, 29 March – 9am – 8pm
Tuesday, 30 March – 9am – 8pm
Any unsold tickets will be available to the general public from Wednesday, 31 March during normal office hours.
The price of tickets is: Terraces: adults £7.00; all concessions £4; Seats: adults £7.50; all concessions £4.50
Frankie Bennett’s first goal of the season and a stoppage time strike from Steve Tweddle saw City record a vital 2-0 victory over Eastbourne Borough at Twerton Park this afternoon. The win lifts them out of the bottom two for the first time since October and leaves the play-off positions just a single point away. The first half was goalless but City had dominated the game without turning this control into clear cut chances. This was forgetten within two minutes of the second half starting when a move begun by keeper Paul Evans’ quick throw out ended with Bennett tucking the ball into the corner of the net. With teenager Sam Bailey having another outstanding game at the back The Sports never looked like finding an equaliser. Tweddle and Scott Partridge wasted chances to increase the lead before a stoppage time cross from Jamie Cook was converted from close range by Tweddle. With the four teams directly above City in the table before the game, Dorchester Town, Hednesford Town, Grantham Town and Chippenham Town, all losing it was a perfect afternoon all round.
Midfielder Andy Williams returned to action on Tuesday night with a 60 minute appearance against Melksham Town in a hastily arranged friendly match. The 2002-03 player of the season has been sidelined since October due to a hernia injury that required surgery, with the Supporters Club covering half the £2700 cost of the operation. The game, that finished goalless, also saw Iain Harvey and Steve Tweedle, both returning from long injury lay-offs themsleves, play the full 90 minutes alongside a side containing a number of promising youth players including Yan Klukowski and Josh Brigham.
It wasn’t pretty and it took an own goal two minutes from time to guarantee victory but these facts won’t worry City as they secured a vital three points in a 2-1 win over Hinckley United at Middlefield Lane this afternoon. After a largely forgettable first half City took the lead on 66 minutes when loan signing Jamie Cook showed his class with a run from just inside the Knitters half and a neat finish. The home side had shown little before this but they drew level eight minutes later when Jenkins lobbed Paul Evans. However, City weren’t to be denied their second away victory of the season when substitute Steve Tweddle fired a low cross in from the right that Cartwright could only turn into his own net.
Striker Danny Cleverley has joined Screwfix Western Premier Division leaders Paulton Rovers after it became clear that his first team opportunites were limited under manager Gary Owers. The 20-year old has made 35 appearances this season, scoring 4 goals, but not since the clash at Welling United in mid-December has he started a league match and 16 of his outings have come as a substitute. With a half fit Steve Tweddle and loan signing Jamie Cook preferred to the popular ex-Bristol Rovers trainee in City’s last two games it was clear this situation was unlikely to change. In total Danny played 82 times for City (36 as substitute) and scored 13 goals. He will best be remembered for the excellent volley against Yeovil in last season FA Cup and the stunning goal against Weymouth back in September’s 3-3 draw.