City finally got the better of Chippenham in a typically
bad-tempered and fractious match at Meadow Park that will have seen
the Gloucester players exorcise some of the ghosts of the Eastleigh
cup exit the previous Saturday. Neither team has been in the best
of form so perhaps the scrappy nature of the match should not have
come as a surprise, but while this may not be a game that will live
long in the memory it was a gutsy display and a vital result.
There was little rhythm to the match with both teams
struggling to find team mates with their passing and a match punctuated
by niggling fouls. City could have taken an early lead after Robertson
upended Aaron Wilson and Bevan
hot his head to the resulting free kick, but the loose ball fell
to Lyndon Tomkins whose shot flew over. City had obviously been
told to take no chances after the weekend's defensive collapse and
this was largely aimless route one stuff, but even that has an art
that seemed beyond us in the first half. Aaron Wilson's pace was
a useful outlet and he hared on to one clearance to deliver a good
cross from wide, Whittington getting a near post touch only for
Bevan to turn and blaze his snatched shot high over the bar.
Chippenham's main contribution was to join in with
the poor passing and to routinely kick over Wilson and Whittington,
Simon Charity some how not getting booked for a bad hack at Aaron.
The free kick saw us come the closest yet to scoring with Tomkins
thumping a header just wide after Bevan flicked on the original
cross. Chippenham had even less to show for all the midfield huff
and puff, their best effort being a fierce 30 yard drive from the
impressive Kevin Halliday which forced new keeper Jacob
Giles to warm his hands with an athletic tip over.
The second half couldn't have been any worse and at
least there was some real excitement and controversy, not that any
of that looked likely when Tom Webb ended a good charging run down
the left with a pull back to Aaron Wilson who scuffed his shot wide.
An even better chance came minutes later, this time Wilson was the
provider and his hanging cross into the goal mouth seemed perfect
and inviting for Whittington but the loan striker some how couldn't
make contact. City could have gone ahead when Alex Sykes sent in
another good cross but this time Tom Webb was pushed out of the
way by Iain Harvey, a shove that the ref missed.
Too often we're guilty of not scoring when we put
together good periods of pressure, but this time finally we got
the break through we deserved. Webb did well to battle back down
the right and won the ball, pushing it forward to Jody
Bevan who still had plenty to do with defenders around him.
The forward was able to turn and from virtually the touch line some
how managed to squeeze the ball between the near post, the defender
and the keeper. The ball dribbled through and rolled over the goal
line to disbelief from the Chippenham defence and sheer delight
from Bevan and the City fans. The burly forward takes a lot of punishment
in games and more than deserved his goal.
With memories of Saturday's debacle still fresh the
City nerves were even worse now we were ahead - and could we defend
the lead? The signs were encouraging when Lyndon
Tomkins did really well to get in a near post header to deny
sub Alan Griffin on the line. Things were to get worse yet for City
though - with Webb red carded and City reduced to ten men. The ref
had missed a whole string of niggling fouls from the visitors, as
well as the trips and heavy challenges the Chippenham side were
full of those nasty niggling little pushes, elbows and deliberate
treading on toe tricks that never fail to seem to wind us up. Webb
and Wilson had got the worst of it and it suddenly all came too
much for Webby as Harvey swung an elbow in his face. The next loose
ball saw Tom Webb fly in at the
Chippenham player, a tackle born of righteous vengeance but still
an ugly effort that fortunately largely missed Harvey who may not
have deserved to be so lucky. The ref had little option to show
the red card for the intent, but the Chippenham players childish
pushing and shoving was little to be proud of and seemed calculated
to ensure the referee felt little option but to send the player
The heat was really up now and City did well to keep
their heads in the midst of some appalling behaviour from Harvey
and Robertson in particular, but despite the bad challenges and
the bombardment of long balls into the City box we did manage to
keep on clearing our lines. The ref hardly helped with two bizarre
yellow cards. Bevan was accused of stamping on Halliday despite
having only chased the ball down and for the player to make one
of those miracle recoveries as soon as the card came out, while
Joe Tustain had only been on
the pitch a minute when he was booked too - for something that only
the ref could even begin to explain. It didn't make for a soothing
last few minutes but when the final whistle came it did make for
an even better feeling to have beaten the twelve men of Chippenham
with our ten.
T-Ender Match Snaps
The camera don't do night
time - donations towards better kit always gratefully received.
The only change was
in goal where City boss Tim Harris sprang a surprise with the loan
signing of Jacob Giles from Newport County replacing the long-serving
Matt Bath in the Gloucester goal. Harris is himself a former City
keeper and apparently feels Matt should be dominating his penalty
area more, and his failure to do so has led to him carrying the
can for the Cup exit at Eastleigh.
"It's not about us
winning, it's about that lot losing."
Aaron Wilson is going
to be a big threat this season and Chippenham were forced to reshuffle
their side down the right to try and contain him.
Captain Chris Thompson
had extra reason to celebrate this win, marking his 200th City appearance.
It's hard to over state
how important this match was for the team. Having thrown away our
Cup position on Saturday it would have been too simple to have lost
this game and see our season start to unravel. Not only does this
win show we can battle for a win and protect a lead, it also keeps
the league campaign interesting. More than anything though - it
was good to beat Chippenham who always seem to reserve their ugliest
fouls and worst behaviour for us.
King's Lynn are starting to show the form that made them one
of the pre-season favourites and tonight they mauled Hemel Hemsptead
5-1 on their own ground, Jack Defty getting a brace and former
Manchester United youngster Alex Notman marking his return from
retirement with a goal. Halesowen's impressive start to the season
is starting to slip and they lost out in a 4-2 thriller to Rugby
with Jason Taylor's hatrick sending the Butlin Road crowd home
happy. Cirencester's stuttering form continues with a 0-0 home
draw with Yate.
In the Cup replays City's next opponents Banbury United will
be disappoiinted to lose at home 2-1 to Tonbridge Angels, while
a top of the Southern League clash saw Merthyr Tydfil finally
progress at the expense of Bath City, winning 3-2 in the Valleys.