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Tuesday 16 January 2007
errea Southern League Cup
3rd Round
at Meadow Park, Gloucester

New Tigers Badge: no-one knows why...

Gloucester City


Didcot Town


HT (1-0)
FT (2-2)

B.Ashford (17), M.Fowler (74pen)
City home kitHemel kit
I.Concannon (49,65),
S.Beavon (117)
C.Thompson ©
J.Heapy ©
(for 10, 76) A.Harris
R.Brooks (for 8, 71)
(for 6, FT) T.Hamblin
(for 9, 76) J.Welsh
G.Jones (for 7, HT)
A.Leardyd (for 3, 76)
City: C.Thompson (foul obstruction 27), J.Cox (late challenge 37), D.Wilkinson (dangerous play 72)
Didcot: J.Brooks (foul tackle 61), J.Heapy (foul preventing scoring 73), P.Bedwell (handball blocking shot 82), I.Concannon (dissent 88), G.Goodall (repeated fouls 110)
Dismissals: none

T-Ender City MotM: Jimmy Cox - lively attacking runs provided a threat right to the end, improving game by game as he gets sharper.

grass trim rule

City crashed out of the league cup as ultimately tiring legs gave out against a sharp Didcot side who belied their lower division status and finally demonstrated their much vaunted attacking power to devastating and decisive effect. However City can look back on a much improved first half display and a string of missed chances that eventually cost us dear - not least a second Fowler penalty that should have sealed the tie before extra time. Whilst their were still signs of our familiar defensive fragility at least Tim Harris can take some comfort from some promising performances in the match that may give him some options if he looks to shake up his regular line-up in the near future.

City started this match in very determined fashion and despite the slightly light weight looking team put out there we actually had a spark about us all too lacking in some recent outings. A stiff breeze helped us get forward quickly and we could have put the game out of the visitor's reach in the first 15 minutes. Ashford almost got his head on to a deep Wilson corner and then a few minutes later Jimmy Cox went even closer as he slapped a fierce drive onto the Didcot bar after some good work by Tustain found him in space. City were winning a string of corners and one of those saw Aaron Wilson force a stumbling save from the lower division's keeper who looked slightly out of his depth against players able to shoot accurately from distance.

It looked as if City would eventually score and sure enough the opening goal came soon after, and the Didcot keeper looked suspect again and played a part as he flapped at a well flighted Michael Noakes free kick. With the keeper exiting somewhere out in no-man's land the ball flew right across goal and it was debutant Ben Ashford who capped his step up from the youth team with a goal, reward for his bravery in forcing his way to the far post to bundle the ball home from close range.

That goal seemed to settle City who played some neat football but were unable to make their dominance continue to be converted into chances. It was a bit too frustrating for Jimmy Cox who was now finding his runs rarely rewarded with a pass. He took his frustrations out on the already suffering keeper, and was booked for a rather lacklustre late push as he saw another chased ball mopped up. The ref was having an odd evening, he spotted Grant Goodall's repeated trips on Aaron Wilson but despite their frequency seemed content to let them go without any yellow card.

City were made to pay for their lack of cutting edge when they found themselves pegged back soon after the half-time break, Didcot revitalised by their orange slices. Didcot's attacking partnership of Ian Concannon and Stuart Beavon has been prolific for the Railwaymen, but having been kept quiet for so long they suddenly sparked into life. Beavon wriggled free and his low cross was flicked away by Tomkins, but only as far as Concannon who showed great control to bring the ball down and smash his shot straight past Lee Matthews.

That equaliser helped the game as City became a lot more direct and City could have scored when Webb's thumping effort was spilled by the Didcot keeper, but he did enough to get to the rebound just ahead of Cox who was sprinting in on the loose ball. The match was far more open now and teenage triallist Lee Matthews got a chance to show what he can do with a fine diving save to get a hand to a crisp Beavon shot. However there was little the keeper could do when City got hit yet again by a pacey counter-attack, a cleared Noakes free kick turned instantly into attack by a long ball that found Concannon well placed to close in on goal and put his side ahead.

City had gone from a position of some comfort to chasing the tie, but there was plenty more drama to come as City's pace in attack was forcing Didcot into a number of rash tackles. The ref was to become a figure of controversy in the last part of the game though as his reluctance to book players evolved into a reluctance to get out the red card. Cox latched on to a clever Webb pass and was clean through on goal when his heels were clipped by the stretched leg of Jamie Heapy. The Didcot skipper was the last man and it seemed a cert he would be dismissed, but some how the ref opted for leniency and showed him yellow. At least Mike Fowler stepped up to slot the spot kick home to level the tie.

City were chasing the win and Tim Harris sent on both Adie Harris and Jason Welsh in search of another goal. It was the veteran sub's extra turn of pace that finally made Didcot seem to crumble as Adie raced clear of the defence after latching onto the end of a one-two with Cox. The keeper seemed beaten and when Adie lifted the ball into the goalmouth it needed a desperate hand from Paul Bedwell to keep the ball out of the net. With Cox, Welsh and Wilko all descending on what looked like a goalbound shot anyway it looked like another clear straight red, but again the ref confounded the incredulous home fans with a yellow card. But we did have another penalty to surely take the lead. Fowler again stepped up, but this time he tried to shift his kick at the last moment and his powerful effort crashed back off the bar with such force it was beyond the City players trying to follow up.

City should still have sealed it when Welsh picked up a pass inside but ran out of room to shoot into the side netting when a pull back across goal could well have found other players. City were kicking themselves as extra time came, but we were now in full flow and more chances came our way. Fowler's corner was met by Welsh, but this time Didcot cleared off the line without using their hands. A few minutes later Adie Harris crossed after being put clear by a clever Wilko flick, but this time it was Mike Fowler who dragged his shot wide.

City were now shooting from all angles and Jason Welsh saw another decent drive charged down by a tied looking Didcot defence. However in the second half it was our turn to look tired and after all the missed chances there was a kind of sick inevitability that it would be Didcot rather than us who would manage to find the net. It had looked as if the match was drifting toward penalties with both sides looking out on their feet, but Didcot sub Glyn Jones still had the energy to dissect our defence with a clever pass which found Beavon, who showed his finishing prowess with a crisp strike past Matthews.

It was a rather cruel end to a game that was full of incident and attacking football, but a game which will leave City wondering exactly what they must do to kill off home games.


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
Didcot in the league cup
Meadow Park: game on.
City pressure the Didcot goal in 1st half
Alright so the camera's crap under the lights - but look: you can still see that their keeper can't catch.

Team Selection:
Unsurprisingly Tim Harris took the chance to give run outs to some of the younger memebers of the City squad and rested both Neil Mustoe and Jamie Reid. Rookie keeper Lee Matthews made a debut in goal while City youth team defender Ben Ashford also finally got to make his first team bow. Lyndon Tomkins made a welcome return from injury in the centre of the beleagured City defence, with Michael Noakes, Michael Fowler and Joe Tustain all also recalled to the starting line-up.
TBBM Said:

Obviously the league cup hasn't exactly gripped the Gloucester City fans' imagination - there was no bloke behind me, or indeed anywhere near really. Best bit though had to be the chorus of "keep him on" as Didcot's struggling goalkeeper received the physio's kiss of life after Jimmy Cox's slightly half-hearted late shoulder charge in the first half.

Tactics Board:
With so many new faces in the side the tactical fancy stuff was kept to a minimum with a plain 4-4-2. Good to see Chris Thompson able to get forward a little more from right-back though, and also noticeable how much more solid we look with Noakes in the team.
Anorak Corner:
City have won the Southern League Cup just once, way back in 1956. We've now not managed to win a tie in the competition since November 2000 when a Paul Chenoweth brace took us past Clevedon Town in the 1st Round.
T-Ender Verdict

Plenty of reasons to be positive from this game, but there is a nagging concern that we've yet again chucked away a game that more clinical finishing and concentration in defence would have seen us win. Didcot are a powerful attacking side, and with youngster Ben Ashford making an encouraging debut we still kept them quiet for long periods. For all of that though we still acked the confidence to finish off lower division opposition, and while an early exit from the league cup will not cause anguish it does mark the surrender of our last chance of silverware. Glory is a sparse commodity as a Gloucester City fan and right now I'd like to see us lift an egg cup.

Highlights Elsewhere:


Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report

Further Reading:

BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: C. Williams (Ch#!tenham) City League Pos: n/a City Form: LLDDWD

Ref Watch:

6 - spotted the fouls but didn't quite seem to play his cards right.

Attendance: 126    
Conditions: chilly with light showers
Lorry Score:


Match Report:
by t-towel

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