City are facing a mini injury crisis ahead of their FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round meeting with Merthyr Tydfil at Twerton Park on Saturday. Definitely missing is Matt Coupe due to suspension, and he could be joined on the sidelines by Gethin Jones (pelvic injury), Jon Holloway (back and hamstring), Scott Rogers (thigh) and Craig Davidge (hamstring). On the positive side, though, Phil Walsh may return to the squad having recovered from his bruised foot.
City’s youth side comfortably moved into the 2nd Qualifying Round of this season’s FA Youth Cup last night with a 3-1 victory over Bitton AFC. Goals from Baggs, Tyers and Pursall, with Tilling netting the home side’s consolation strike, were enough to secure the win, with only a man of the match performance from Bitton keeper Langdon preventing a bigger winning margin. They will face either Bristol Manor Farm or Cirencester Town in the next round to be played week commencing Monday 9 October.
City and King’s Lynn, the pre-season title favourites for the British Gas Business Football League, shared the points this afternoon in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Twerton Park. This was just about the fair result as both teams created, and missed, a hatful of chances. The visitors started strongly and three times in the opening 20 minutes should have scored only to be denied twice by stunning point-blank saves from Paul Evans. During this spell City had also hit the bar from a Chris Holland header, but on 22 minutes Jon Holloway made no mistake, heading home a Mark McKeever corner from 12 yards out. Lynn spurned several more openings before the interval and the second half followed a similar pattern. Evans produced another excellent finger-tip save but with 22 minutes left he was finally beaten by a curling shot from substitute Frew. The introduction of Craig Davidge minutes later saw City finish the stronger, Nat Pepperell heading his great centre over and then Holland hitting the post with a stabbed shot, but in the end it would have been harsh on either side to have lost the game.
Scott Rogers returned to haunt his former club Tiverton Town last night, scoring twice in City’s 3-1 FA Cup replay victory. The midfielder spent six seasons at Ladymead but there was no doubt where his loyalties now lie as he helped City come from a goal down to secure a meeting with Merthyr Tydfil in the 2nd Qualfying Round. The home side took the lead after just four minutes, Bale slipping the ball past Paul Evans following good work by Mudge. Whilst the game did not have the nastier streak that Saturday’s first meeting, at times, did it was a typically competitive encounter between the sides, although not helped by a characteristically fussy performance from referee Mr Knapp. On 24 minutes City drew level when Rogers fired the ball into the roof of the net from a Craig Davidge cross. Jon Holloway then hit the crossbar with a header before Evans denied Booth with a great stop. Three minutes before the break City went ahead with a stunning move involving Rogers, Lewis Hogg and Scott Partridge that ended with the former driving a low shot past Rock. Evans was again called into action to save a Harris effort early in the second half but with 22 minutes left City secured the victory. Davidge’s throw was inadvertedly flicked on by a Tivvy defender and Partridge executed a perfect overhead kick to find the corner of the net.
The winners in tomorrow night’s FA Cup replay between City and Tiverton Town will face another British Gas Business Football League Premier Division side in the 2nd Qualifying Round after today’s draw. Merthyr Tydfil will be the opposition at either Twerton Park or Ladymead on Saturday 30 September. The Welsh side earned their place in the draw with a late goal against another Southern League side, Cirencester Town, on Saturday in the 3-2 victory.
City’s league meeting at FA Cup opponents Tiverton Town has been moved back 24 hours to Wednesday 6 December (ko 7.45pm).
Despite being reduced to ten men with around 20 minutes remaining of their FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round meeting with league rivals Tiverton Town, City can consider themselves unfortunate to be facing a replay on Tuesday evening after the match ended goalless. After a largely uneventful first half where the sides cancelled each other out the game improved after the interval with City looking the much more threatening side. Partridge shooting straight at keeper Rock and Steve Jones flashing an effort inches wide before a clear handball in the area was missing by the referee. The official had frustrated City all afternoon as he was continually taken in by the visitors diving and he further incensed them when he showed Matt Coupe a straight red card for his lunge at Mudge. It wasn’t that the challenge didn’t warrant a dismissal but that earlier in the half a similar foul by Tivvy’s left-back received only a caution. Even after going a man down City looked the likelier to find a winning goal, with Chris Holland going closest with an injury time header. There was also further controversy when a Town substitute escaped a booking despite a blatant dive and moments later felled Jim Rollo with a disgraceful challenge only to see a yellow card.
There wasn’t the same excitement as last season’s meeting between the sides, or even Tuesday seven-goal thriller at Halesowen, but both Banbury United and City will feel they could have won yesterday’s entertaining encounter that finished one goal apiece. The home side can look to a penalty miss in the closing minutes of the first half, Paul Evans saving Fuller’s effort and Baird putting the rebound wide of a gaping net. City, in turn, failed to turn a dominant opening 20 minutes into goals and were made to battle their way to a point after Banbury went ahead just after the interval. The goal came from Bridges’ close range finish after a mis-hit cross decieved City’s back line. It took City until seven minutes from time to deservedly earn a share of the points when veteran keeper Judge failed to hold a Craig Davidge cross-shot and Scott Partridge claimed his fifth goal of the season from an acute angle.
City enjoyed an emotional rollercoaster of a game last night in overcoming Halesowen Town by the odd goal in seven. Three times they led and three times the impressive home side pegged them back before a Chris Holland header with six minutes remaining finally broke their resistance. It took City just seven minutes to begin the scoring, Lewis Hogg opening his account for the club with a neat flick. After this bright start City were soon forced onto the back foot, although it took the Yeltz until the 39th minute to level though Szewczyk’s finish from eight yards. Mark McKeever then missed a great chance to restore City’s lead but a minute before the break he turned provider, crossing for Matt Coupe to head home. Six minutes into the second half Szewczyk made the most of City’s inability to clear the ball to fire home his, and Halesowen’s, second goal. Back came City and just past the hour mark Scott Partridge produced the best strike of the match, turning his marker before blasting a shot into the top corner. This lead lasted just two minutes as further slack defending from City allowed Crowley to round Paul Evans and slot the ball home. The game was now there for the taking for either side and it was City who did just that when McKeever’s corner picked out Holland and his header flew into the net.
With just six goals scored in their opening five games City have recalled Justin Pritchard from his spell with Taunton Town. The 26-year old scored four times for City in pre-season but was allowed to join Taunton to ensure he got further games under his belt. However, with both Phil Walsh and Nat Pepperell struggling for form manager John Relish has moved quickly to bring him back to Twerton Park and he goes straight into the squad for this evening’s trip to Halesowen Town.
Two first half defensive lapses helped condemn City to their first defeat of this fledgling season against Stamford at a damp Twerton Park yesterday. They had already had an escape when Taylor missed a great chance after just three minutes but they failed to heed this warning and four minutes later Harris, despite looking several yards offside, beat Paul Evans to a long ball forward and rolled it in the net. Slowly City began to get on top after this early setback, with Scott Partridge twice forcing excellent saves from Daniels keeper Pledger and Matt Coupe having a shot blocked on the line. However, the visitors doubled their lead on 34 minutes when an uncharacteristic error from Gethin Jones allowed Angel to break clear and cross for Harris to flick home his second goal. City got back into the game within seven minutes of the restart when Pledger failed to hold a Lewis Hogg shot and Partridge buried the rebound. The rest of the half was nearly as one-sided as the England against Andorra game later in the evening but City could not find another goal, as Partridge hit the bar from 12 yards, substitute Phil Walsh brought another fine save from Pledger and several other openings went begging.