October 2007

City left to reflect on what might have been in Torquay cup defeat (27/10/07)

Despite matching the Blue Square Premier leaders Torquay United for long periods of the game, a goalkeeping error and missed penalty cost City an FA Cup 1st Round meeting with Yeovil Town. The final scoreline of 2-0 flattered the Devon side but City only had themselves to blame for failing to get at least a draw against surprising average Gulls. A rush of blood, coming for but failing to collect a cross, by Paul Evans in just the 9th minute allowed Phillips to head Torquay in front. However, they should have been level after 13 minutes when a handball offence gave Lewis Hogg the chance from the penalty spot. But he saw his effort saved by the keeper and Scott Rogers headed the rebound over the bar. The rest of the half was an even affair with City coming the closest to scoring, Phil Walsh stabbing wide from close range just before the interval. The second half continued in the same manner but City couldn’t find an equaliser, even with the return of Scott Partridge, and they were punished for this eight minutes from when Stevens fired past Evans.

PREVIEW: CITY v Torquay United (25/10/07)

When the draw was made for the 4th Qualifying Round of this season’s FA Cup City should have half expected to be paired with Torquay United given their uncanny ability to find themselves facing the team sitting at the head of non-league football. Out of the last four times they have reached at least the final qualifying stage of the competition, three times they have been drawn out against the Conference leaders. In 1999-00 it was Stevenage Borough, 2002-03 Yeovil Town and 2004-05, this time in the 1st Round proper, Barnet. Only in 2000-01 when they drew Forest Green Rovers did they avoid the toughest fate possible. However, history is also on City’s side as far as these draws go, with two of the three ties ending in victories for the Twerton Park club. Stevenage were beaten in a replay, following a 1-1 draw at Broadhall Way, with a graham Colbourne strike. A Scott Partridge double saw off Barnet at Underhill five years later. Only in 2002-03 did City fail to spring a surprise victory, and even then it took a replay for Yeovil to progress into the next round.

City and Torquay United paths first crossed in the early 1920’s. City had joined the Southern League in 1921-22 from the Western League, then a year later the Gulls also made the move up having only been formed in 1921 when Babbacombe and Torquay Town merged. Torquay won the Western Division of the Southern League in 1926-27 – despite failing to beat City that season – gaining entry into the Football League at the expense of Aberdare Athletic, who dropped out after failing to be re-elected to the league. So, while City left in non-league football, Torquay went on to spend the next 80 years in league football. During this time City faced United’s reserve side 56 times – winning 30 of the meetings – plus the ‘first’ team four more times in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in the Western Counties League.

Complete record against Torquay United

During Torquay long tenure as a league club only four times did they earn promotion from the lowest level, in 1956-57, 1959-60, 1965-66 and 2003-04, spending just nine seasons in the second tier. Having had to apply for re-election in their first season as a league side, despite the lack of success, it wasn’t until 1984-85 they finished as the league’s bottom club again, which they then repeated the following season, both times being re-elected to the league. However, with the introduction of automatic relegation to the GM Vauxhall Conference in 1986-87 it looked as if their luck was finally to run out. They went into the final game of the season third from bottom, above Burnley and Tranmere, but with both these sides winning and Torquay trailing 2-1 late in the second half things looked grim for the Devon side. Seven minutes from time though a piece of football folklore was created. A Police dog by the name of Bryn appeared to think that Jim McNichol was running to attack his handler, and sank his teeth into the centre-half’s thigh. It was from the resultant four minutes of injury time that Paul Dobson scored possibly the most important goal in the clubs history, and kept them in the Football League, with Lincoln dropping into non-league football. They had another miraculous escape at the end of the 1995-96 season. Despite finishing bottom of the league they were saved when Stevenage Borough’s ground was deemed unfit for League football.

Three seasons later they were still struggling at the wrong end of the 3rd Division but a young(ish) striker they picked up on a free transfer from Cardiff City was soon scoring the goals to ensure their league survival for a few more years. His name was Scott Partridge. Despite leaving in February – a £100K transfer to Brentford – he finished top scorer with 15 goals. Scotty heads a considerable list of players who have played for both sides – including two members of the 1977-78 title winning squad Kenny Allen and Richard Bourne, who are guests of honour at Saturday’s game).

Torquay’s tenure as a league club finally came to an end on April 14 2007, following a 1-1 draw at home to Peterborough United. They have adapted to life as a non-league club exceptionally well and currently sit two points clear at the top of the Blue Square Premier, having won 21 of their 14 games, scoring an impressive 44 goals in the process (although they have also conceded 25 goals in this period). City’s hopes of keeping such a potent attacking force out may depend a lot on whether keeper Paul Evans (ankle) and Chris Holland (back) overcome their injuries before Saturday. However, with Partridge likely to retain his place on the bench, having finally returned to the squad at Newport after eight months out with a serious neck injury, the scene is set perfectly for a unforgettable return to action and add to City’s Conference leaders scalps.

City recall winger Davidge ahead of big FA Cup weekend (25/10/07)

Ahead of this Saturday’s big FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round meeting with Torquay United, City have recalled Craig Davidge from his loan spell at Clevedon Town. The speedy winger missed last nights victory at Newport County due to a minor knock he picked up in the Seasider’s FA Trophy win over Rugby Town on Saturday but should be available for the Gulls clash, having been refused permission to play in their FA Cup games, so avoiding being cup-tied.

City have rearranged their Twerton Park league clash with Hayes & Yeading United – originally scheduled for this Saturday – for Tuesday 27 November (ko 7.45pm). They will face Clevedon United in the 2nd Round of the Somerset Premier Cup at Hand Stadium on Wednesday 14 November (ko 7.45pm). The Setanta Shield 2nd Round trip to Newport County is due to be played the following week, although the actual day is to confirmed (probably the Monday).

Hogg spot on to fire City back to Blue Square South winning ways (24/10/07)

City put Saturday’s big FA Cup date out of their mind to get back to winning ways in the league tonight with an amazing 3-2 victory over Newport County at Spytty Park. In an absorbing tussle City fell behind on 35 minutes when Evans fired past an unsighted Steve Perrin – in goal in place of injured Paul Evans – before Scott Rogers’ stunning 25-yard drive levelled proceedings three minutes before the interval. City’s defence, already missing Chris Holland due to a back injury in addition to Evans, suffered another setback between the goals when Gethin Jones limped off. However, with Jim Rollo and Matt Coupe forming an unusual centre-back pairing, City withstood strong Newport pressure in the second half. They had still looked dangerous on the break and after 74 minutes a free-kick by Mark McKeever was headed home by Phil Walsh. This lead lasted only two minutes as Evans was allowed too much room before blasting the ball past a rooted Perrin. City were not to be denied their second win over the Exiles in two weeks though when Darren Edwards was bundled over in the box and Lewis Hogg kept his cool to slot home the penalty with five minutes left. The goal led to unpleasant scenes on the terraces as a large number of home fans took their frustrations out on City’s travelling support with a barrage of anti-English abuse and threats but this was dealt with well by the stewards and police presence. After five minutes stoppage time the referee brought the game to an end leaving City to celebrate an excellent and deserved victory.

Classy Tiverton deny City trip to Yeovil in FA Youth Cup (23/10/07)

City’s youth side was denied a trip to Yeovil Town in the FA Youth Cup this evening when they lost 3-0 to Tiverton Town. The 3rd Qualifying Round match at Twerton Park went the way of the impressive Devon side through goals from Alex Faux, Sean Szabo and Ed Squires, to which City’s young side had no answer. Tiverton will now go on to face the Glovers in the 1st Round round proper of the competition.

PREVIEW: Newport County v CITY (22/10/07)

Despite being less than three months into the 2007-08 season City come face to face with Newport County for the third time this Wednesday – with another clash due in the Setanta Shield in the next few weeks. After the 1-1 draw in the league meeting at Twerton Park in September and the memorable 2-1 Spytty Park FA Cup victory ten days ago, City will no doubt come up against a Newport side determined to record their first success over City this season. And with John Relish’s team likely (and understandably) having one eye on Saturday’s big FA Cup date with Torquay United this may well be their best chance. Whilst City were losing to Basingstoke Town in their last outing, Newport were leaving it late before grabbing a point in a 2-2 draw against struggling Bognor Regis Town, which took the Welsh side above City in the Blue Square South table for the first time this season.

This will be the second time City and Newport have played each other four times in the same campaign (although, should the sides be paired together in the FA Trophy it could be five or six!) the previous occasion coming during the 2001-02 season. The first meeting that season was a lively encounter at Spytty Park which City lost 1-0, finishing the match with nine men with Bradley Thomas and James Zabek seeing red. The Exiles player involved in the incident that led to the dismissals was one Martin Paul – falling to the ground following a confrontation with Thomas. He also scored Newport’s winning goal on a night where he received a less than loving reception from City supporters. Five weeks later the sides met again in the league and Thomas turned from villain to hero, scoring the second goal in a 2-1 victory. Adrian Foster had put City ahead before Thomas doubled the lead. This time Birdy’s involvement in the game was reduced to the more mundane hitting the post and Newport’s goal three minutes from time was no more than a consolation.

Twerton Park was again the venue for the next meeting, a 1st Round FA Trophy tie. Paul was back on the scoresheet for Newport, levelling the match after Foster had given City a 20th minute lead. A free-kick just before half-time put the Welsh side ahead before a third goal midway through the second half. City did pull a goal back through a Jamie Gosling penalty just before the final whistle but it wasn’t enough to prevent a cup exit. Nine days later City did gain minor revenge, dumping Newport out of the Dr Martens Cup at Spytty Park thanks to a Foster hat-trick.

Complete record against Newport County/Newport AFC

This week’s game could see City without one of their FA Cup hero’s, after keeper Paul Evans picked up an ankle injury in the Basingstoke defeat. If he does miss out it would probably mean the return of Steve Perrin between the posts, although if the big South African (no doubt still celebrating after the rugby on Saturday) has not recovered in time for the FA Cup clash with Torquay, City could have real goalie problems as Perrin is cup-tied. City will also hope Sekani Simpson has recovered from the groin injury that sidelined him on Saturday.

Lacklustre City pay the price to suffer first home defeat of season (20/10/07)

City suffered their first home defeat of the season this afternoon, paying the price for taking an hour to get going, with a single goal defeat against Basingstoke Town. And the day got even worse when keeper Paul Evans was stretchered off near the end of the game with an ankle injury, although initial reports are that the problem may be less serious than first thought. Having weathered a lively start by Basingstoke, City looked in control of the game, although only from set-pieces did they look threatening – twice striking the crossbar. They were then caught cold within three minutes of the restart – Charles nipping in ahead of Evans to turn the ball into the net. After the visitors nearly doubled the lead eight minutes later City finally woke up, with substitute Phil Walsh the main instigator. However, an equaliser would not arrive for all City’s dominance – with Scott Rogers, Mark McKeever and Lewis Hogg all going close. Gethin Jones and Walsh also saw efforts hit the frame of the goal as it began to look like it wasn’t City’s day. This was confirmed when they had to play the last ten minutes with ten men – having used all their substitutes – and Hogg in goal after Evans was carried off.

Hectic schedule sees City strengthen squad with return of McKay (19/10/07)

With league and cup games coming thick and fast City have strengthened their squad with the signature of midfielder Justyn McKay from Swindon Supermarine. The 21-year old midfielder featured for City in pre-season but was allowed to join the Southern League side due to budget constraints with a view to signing him when finances allowed. And with City’s run to the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, chairman Geoff Todd has loosened the purse strings to allow manager John Relish to bring in McKay. He will go straight into the squad to face Basingstoke Town on Saturday where Matt Coupe (hamstring) and Sekani Simpson (groin) will hopefully overcome injuries picked up in Tuesday’s Setanta Shield win over Weston Super Mare.

City’s youth side will again grace the Twerton Park pitch in the FA Youth Cup when they face Tiverton Town for a place in the 1st Round proper on Tuesday 23 October (ko 7.45pm). Admission prices will be £2 Adults/£1 concessions.

PREVIEW: CITY v Basingstoke Town (18/10/07)

After the last few weeks when City’s attention has, as is common to non-league sides around this time of the year, been focused on the FA Cup, it seems somewhat fitting on their return to league action they come face to face with a side that their last four meetings have all been in the World’s Greatest Cup Compeition™. Basingstoke Town provide the opposition at Twerton Park as City look to narrow the gap on Eastbourne Borough and Lewes at the top of the Blue Square South table.

The last time the two clubs met was in a 2nd Qualifying Round replay at Twerton back in October 2000. The first match at the Camrose had finished 1-1 three days earlier and after a goalless 90 minutes, strikes from Mike Davis and Graham MacLean put City into the next round. Despite this exit the FA Cup has provided the Hampshire side with it’s most memorable occasions in recent years. After reaching the 2nd Round proper for the first time in 1989 – where they lost to Torquay United – they next tasted cup success in 1997-98 when they beat Wycombe Wanderers in the 1st Round on penalties in a replay at the Camrose, following a brace of 2-2 draws. The next round saw them face Northampton Town and after another draw they exited the competition on penalties in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The next season they again reached the 1st Round – losing 2-1 against Bournemouth – but it was another eight years before they got through the qualifying rounds again. A famous 1-0 victory at League 1 side Chesterfield in the 1st Round gave them a tie with local rivals Aldershot Town. However, they couldn’t overcome their high-flying neighbours, losing 3-1 in a replay. It was also in the FA Cup that the ‘Stoke have recorded their only win over City – a 3-1 success at Twerton Park in 1997 – Martin Paul grabbing City’s consolation goal.

City have also met Basingstoke four times in league matches – although these all date back to the earlier 1970’s – and league success has been much harder to come by in recent years for them. After moving up to the Southern League in 1971 – following five succesive seasons in the Hampshire League where they never finished lower than second – success at this higher level proved harder to come by – just the 1984-85 Southern League South Division title added to their honours. A switch to the Ryman League in 1987 made little difference and they flitted between the Premier and First Division for the next 17 years. It looked as if they would miss out on a place in the newly formed Conference South in 2004 after a 4-1 home play-off defeat against Lewes followed their 14th place finish only for Hendon to turn down a place in the new league, allowing Basingstoke to sneak in by the back door. They nearly took full advantage of this luck the next season, missing out on a play-off place by just a single point. However, the last two season have seem them struggle to retain their Conference South place with two 19th place finishes.

Complete record against Basingstoke Town

A reasonable start to this season – although various off the field problems were rumoured – has faded in recent weeks and they come into the meeting with City on the back of four – two league, two cup – defeats, which has seen them slip to 12th place and manager Francis Vines making a plea to his board a couple of weeks ago for more money to strengthen his squad.

City confirm Torquay United FA Cup arrangements (17/10/07)

Despite rumours that the game could be moved to the Sunday to avoid clashing with Bath Rugby’s meeting with Leicester, City have confirmed that their FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round clash with Blue Square Premier leaders Torquay United will take place on Saturday 27 October (ko 3pm) as originally planned. The game is NOT all-ticket, however, it will be necessary for Stand and Clubroom season tickets holders to apply for tickets to reserve their seats. The admission prices for the game have been increased slightly with adult terrance costing £10 (£7/£4 concessions) and stand seat £12 (£8/£5 concessions).

Edwards double sees City to extra-time Setanta Cup victory (17/10/07)

City earned themselves another trip across the Severn Bridge to face Newport County last night by overcoming Weston Super Mare 3-2 after extra time in the 1st Round of the Setanta Cup. Played in pouring rain by two sides who looked like they’d rather be anyway other than Twerton Park, the game had been a non-event for 76 minutes before Chris Holland headed a Mark McKeever corner goalwards where Matt Coupe applied the finishing touch. Based on what had gone before this appeared to be enough to win the game, but four minutes later McGregor was given the room to fire past Paul Evans and the game went into extra-time. Darren Edwards restored City’s lead from the penalty spot – after handball by a Seagull defender – on 94 minutes but McGregor grabbed his second moments later to make it 2-2. The winning goal came on the stroke of half-time when Edwards converted from close range. The 2nd round match at Newport is due to take place week commencing November 12.

City handed toughest draw in FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round (15/10/07)

City have been given the hardest possible draw in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round when they were paired with Blue Square Premier leaders Torquay United. The Gulls were only relegated from the Football League back in May but look strong candidates for an immediate return, having won eleven of their sixteen games this season. Whilst on paper the game looks a near impossible task for City they only have to go back two years for the last time they faced a side sitting at the top of the non-league pyramid – then it was Barnet, and two Scott Partridge goals fired City to a 2-1 victory at Underhill. Co-incidently, if Partridge has fully recovered from his neck injury he could come face to face with one of his former sides. He spent a year with the Gulls in the late 1990’s and was top scorer during the 1998-99 season. The tie will take place at Twerton Park on Saturday 27 October (ko 3pm).

Battling City hold off Newport to make reach final FA Cup Qualifying Round (13/10/07)

City withstood a late rally by Newport County to reach the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory at Spytty Park last night. They got off to the perfect start when Mark McKeever curled a stunning 25-yard free-kick into the top corner after just four minutes. City should have had a penalty midway through the half when Dave Gilroy was felled in the box, but typically the officials missed the foul. Newport began to exert pressure but found Paul Evans in superb form. The second half continued in the same vein with the home side dominating possession but City looking dangerous on the break. And with sixteen minutes left one such break saw substitute Phil Walsh fire a low 20-yard shot past Thompson. However, the game was over and, despite a foul on Sekani Simpson, Hillier headed past Evans to pull a goal back six minutes later. The last 10 minutes plus five minutes stoppage time Newport threw all they could at City but they withstood the barrage and reached the 4th Qualifying Round for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

PREVIEW: Newport County v CITY (11/10/07)

For the second time this season City face Newport County in a Friday night game, this time for a place in the final qualifying round of this season’s FA Cup. The two sides met at Twerton Park exactly five weeks before this encounter in a match that perfectly summed up the footballing cliché, ‘a game of two halves’. The first half almost entirely belonged to the visitors, although only a mistake from keeper Paul Evans allowed them to reach the interval one goal ahead. The second period saw City dominate, levelling on 64 minutes through Dave Gilroy and wasting several good chances to win the game. Since that 1-1 draw Newport have hit form, with four successive league victories, whilst City were also unbeaten before Saturday’s unfortunate reversal at Havant & Waterlooville.

This FA Cup meeting will be the fourth time the sides have clashed in the competition. The first two encounters were pre-war and ended with comfortable victories for the Welsh side before City recorded their first win over Newport – then still a league side – by two goals to nil in 1965. It wasn’t until 1996 that the two teams path’s crossed again when they were paired together in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. At that time they were playing under the name Newport AFC and languishing in the Dr Martens League following their bankruptcy in February 1989. In their final season as a Conference side City went into the game firm favourites but came up against a side determined to record a giant-killing act. Even a goal for City from Mike Davis after just four minutes failed to subdue them and by the 23rd minute they were ahead, Brazil and Burton beating City keeper Dave Mogg. It was Mogg who prevented the Exiles going further ahead and just before half-time a spectacular overhead-kick by Shaun Penny pulled City level. The second half began with Newport still looking the better side but Davis grabbed his second on 53 minutes – following up a Paul Tovey free-kick – then an own goal by Donovan put City in control. Davis grabbed his hat-trick five minutes from time to complete a flattering 5-2 scoreline. City’s line-up for the game was:

Dave Mogg, Mark Madge, Grantley Dicks, Chris Honor (Shaun Penny 29), Richard Crowley, Paul Tovey, Mark Harrington, Mike Davis, Graham Withey, Stuart James (Iain Harvey 74), Mike Wyatt.

Whilst most of these names will be familiar to City fans, there was also a recognisable name at no.3 in the Newport team – Relish. Not though City’s current boss John – who was well into his forties at this time – but his son Lee, who played one season with Newport before going on to play for Cinderford Town and Weston Super Mare, and is currently turning out for Welsh League side Caerleon.

Complete record against Newport County/Newport AFC

For the match at Spytty Park City fans will be segregated, as were their Newport counterparts at Twerton Park. They will be housed in Block A and B of the Main Stand. There will also be no access to the clubhouse as it is home fans only.

City edge out Paulton to make FA Youth Cup progress (10/10/07)

A goal from top scorer Marsh three minutes from time gave City’s youth side a 3-2 victory over Paulton Rovers to reach the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup at Twerton Park last night. City took the lead in the 3rd minute through Spoors but found themselves 2-1 down at half-time thanks to a brace from Paulton’s Flower. However, City levelled on 68 minutes through captain Pawley and in the 87th minute Marsh drilled the ball home to complete the comeback. City will face the winners of tonights tie between Tiverton Town and Bitton.

Partridge still three weeks away from full comeback after training return okay (7/10/07)

Scott Partridge has been given the okay to resume training but, a restriction on heading the ball, means he is still three weeks away from returning to action. The striker met with the surgeon who inserted two artifical discs into his neck to repair a collasped disc problem last week and was cleared to take part in training but not head the ball for a couple more weeks, ending seven months on the sidelines.

City’s hopes take a dive with narrow Havant defeat (6/10/07)

City suffered their second defeat of the season this afternoon by a single goal to Havant & Waterlooville at Westleigh Park. The decisive strike came after just nine minutes – Pacquette beating Paul Evans at the second attempt – and the Hawks were good value for this early lead. After the opening 20 minutes though City came more into the game, only to find a Havant rearguard in good form. For all their possession City only occasionally threatened, Dave Gilroy and Mark McKeever forcing blocks from keeper Scriven. Just before the break Edwards’ close-range effort was deflected over by a defender only for the referee to award a goal-kick which was one of series of wrong decisions by the embarrassingly poor official. With the home side taking full advantage of such woeful refereeing the game threatened to boil over several times, but clearly Havant were happy to have the game broken up and delayed as much as possible. However, it looked as if City had finally earned a chance to grab a deserved point in the final minute when Edwards beat the offside trap to race clear. He knocked the ball past Scriven only to have his trailed leg clipped by the desperate keeper. It was as clear a penalty as you are ever likely to see but the referee summed up his awful performance by viewing it as a dive and booking the furious striker. McKeever then fired a shot straight at Scriven in stoppage time and with that chance went City’s hopes – but playing against twelve opponents is never an easy task.

Newport FA Cup tie switched to Friday night (4/10/07)

City’s 3rd Qualifying Round meeting with fellow Blue Square South side Newport County will now take place on Friday 12 October with a 7.45pm kick-off. The Welsh side offered City the option of either this time and date or a 1pm kick off on the Saturday, so the game does not clash with England’s Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia, and they opted for the evening clash. This will be the second time the clubs have met under Friday night lights, having played out a 1-1 league draw at Twerton Park last month.

City’s opponents in the 2nd Round of the Somerset Premier Cup will be Clevedon United after they beat Keynsham Town 2-1 last night. The match will take place at the Hand Stadium on a date to be confirmed.

City’s youth team will make a rare Twerton Park outing when they face Paulton Rovers in the FA Youth Cup 2nd Qualifying Round on Tuesday 9 October (ko 7.30pm). Admission prices are £2 for adults and £1 for all concessions.

PREVIEW: Havant & Waterlooville v CITY (4/10/07)

City return to league action after a couple of contrasting cup victories with a journey to the South coast to face Havant & Waterlooville at Westleigh Park, which has been a happy hunting ground for them in their last two visits. Their last trip came in October 2004 for an FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round tie, where from Alex Sykes and John Williams fired City to a 2-0 win. The result was all the more impressive as at the time Havant were in the division above City, having made the cut for the Conference South the previous season. The Hawks had sneaked into the newly formed league with a win at Newport County in their penaultimate game of the 2003-04 season, which four days earlier had not looked likely when they were thumped 4-1 by City, with Scott Partridge grabbing a hat-trick.

The Hawks immediately appeared to be one of the title hopefuls in the Conference South, their ambition backed up by the signing of Premiership striker Dean Holdsworth, but a slow start to the season (and their early FA Cup exit at the hands of City) saw manager David Leworthy sacked in November and as late as February 2005 they were propping up the table. However, just two defeats in twelve games lifted them out of the relegation battle and into a mid-table finish. The following season saw them just miss out on a play-off place, before they went one better last year by making the end of season games with a fourth place finish. The season was to finish in heartbreak though with a penalty shoot-out defeat against Braintree Town.

Understandably Havant were one of the pre-season favourities for the Blue Square South title this season, a view no doubt influenced by the appearance that they are not afraid to spend big in an attempt to move up the non-league football ladder. Since the club formed from the merger of Havant Town and Waterlooville in 1998 – and with average crowds that rarely exceed 500 – they have attracted a series of former Premiership and Football League stars, including Holdsworth, Fitzroy Simpson, Paul Wood, Liam Daish, Alan Knight, Richard Pacquette, Gareth Hall, David Lee, David Howells and Robbie Pethick. The finanical pressure at Westleigh Park was graphically shown before this season began when, having agreed to an admission charge of £8, they suddenly decided this was not enough to support manager Iain Baird in his title aspirations and increased it by 25% to £10. It would appear that Baird would have preferred an even bigger increase as earlier this week he quit the club to join fellow Blue Square South side Eastleigh, citing their greater resources as one of the reasons for the unexpected switch. It is unclear yet, although doubtful, that the Hawks will revert to their original admission price plans following his defection.

Complete record against Havant & Waterlooville/Havant

Prior to their two victories at Westleigh Park City did not have a great record against the Hawks, winning just two of their first nine meetings. City had also faced one of the clubs that were part of the 1998 merger, Waterlooville, on a number of occasions with about as much success. In fact, Waterlooville inflicted one of only four league defeats City suffered during the 1989-90 promotion season, winning by a single goal at the now extinct Jubilee Park ground. City will hope tha top scorer Dave Gilroy will have overcome the food poisoning that hospitalised him earlier this week, but midfielder Scott Rogers is likely to miss the game after limping out of the FA Cup win at Truro City with a calf injury.

It’s men against boys as City ease to Somerset Premier Cup victory (3/10/07)

At a damp and misty Twerton Park last night City made light work of beating Team Bath to ease into the second round of the Somerset Premier Cup. Goals from Martin Paul, a Lewis Hogg penalty and Phil Walsh gave them a 3-0 win that was every bit as comfortable as it sounds. Birdy’s close range finish gave them the lead on 17 minutes and eight minutes later a harsh handball judgement allowed Hogg to fire home from the spot. To be fair to the University side they forced several excellent saves from Paul Evans, but ten minutes from time City completed the scoring when Walsh’s low shot found the corner of the net. City will face a trip to either Clevedon United or Keynsham Town in the next round of the competition.

City handed tricky FA Cup draw that they won’t Relish (1/10/07)

The draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup have given City a tough trip to fellow Blue Square South side Newport County. City have already faced the Exiles, where boss John Relish spent over 13 years as a player and manager, this season, where a Dave Gilroy goal earned them a point in a 1-1 draw at Twerton Park. They will travel over the Severn Bridge to Spytty Park on Saturday 13 October (ko 3pm).

City’s Setanta Cup 1st Round meeting with Weston Super Mare at Twerton Park has been moved from Tuesday 9 October to Tuesday 16 October (ko 7.45pm).

City fan hospitalised following Truro Railway Station attack (1/10/07)

City supporter Neil Weston was left with a broken jaw and fractured ribs after being beaten-up following City’s 1-0 FA Cup victory over Truro City on Saturday. The incident took place at Truro railway station when the 36-year old and his 56-year old Father-in-law were attacked at around 6.10pm. Mr Weston underwent an operation yesterday to have four metal plates inserted in his jaw. Police are appealing for witnesses to the attack. The first suspect, a white male is in his late forties, he is 6ft 3 tall with a stocky build, and short cropped greying hair. He was wearing a green polo shirt. The second man was in his mid-30s, and was 5ft 9 tall with short cropped dark hair and was of average build. He was wearing a yellow mustard t-shirt. Witnesses can contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.