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Tuesday 28 November 2006
FA Trophy
3rd Qualifying Round
at Meadow Park, Gloucester
Trophy logo

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

Gloucester City


Eastbourne Borough


HT (1-3)

M.Whittington (6), A.Wilson (61)
City home kit
P.Harding (18,23), A.Tait (37), S.Ramsay (46,70)
C.Thompson ©
P.Armstrong ©
C.Agatter (for 10, 87)
(for 9, 52) A.Sykes
D.McArthur (for 11, 76)
(for 2, 52) J.Miller
M.Crabb (for 9, 76)
(for 3, 76) D.Wilkinson
City: J.Reid (late tackle 35)
Eastbourne: S.Ramsay (late tackle 30), M.Smart (fighting 82)
Dismissals: Eastbourne: M.Crabb (dangerous tackle 82)

T-Ender City MotM: Tom Webb - made himself busy in midfield and often our best attacking weapon when able to get forward.

grass trim rule

Gloucester City exited the Trophy with a disappointing 5-2 mauling from Eastbourne Borough who took advantage of some shocking defensive gaps to demonstrate their shooting technique and leave the home fans wondering exactly what is missing from a side that can impress in spurts but seems unable to click into a consistent winning team. City can point to a makeshift back line and were missing both of our centre-backs, but even against Conference South opposition this was a performance where most City players were found wanting in quality if not in effort.

It looked as if it could be a very different game in the opening minutes as City came close to creating early chances for Joe Tustain. First Noakes and Wilson combined to produce a cross from the left that just eluded the home strikers, then Webb charged down the right and his low centre was pushed wide by Tustain at the near post. The Eastbourne defence seemed sluggish and dazed in the face of the City pressure, and they were soon punished for their slow response. Michael Whittington was allowed to run across the face of the defence without being closed down and tried a speculative shot from 25 yards. Although on target Lee Cook, the Borough keeper, seemed to have it comfortably covered but hilariously pushed the ball gently over his head to drop into the net. The visitors were not impressing and a City deluge looked possible - as it turned out they might just have been giving us a goal head start.

One of City's mounting problems is that we are simply too wasteful with our chances and Fowler was unlucky when a clever run across the defence to meet a Noakes cross ended with him getting his header all wrong and wide. There were soon signs that Eastbourne were starting to warm up and really we should have been on warning when Matt Bath made a fine double save, reacting to beat out the initial shot and recovering to smother the follow-up at the feet of the attacker. However a couple of minutes later and further problems down the left saw us slow to clear our lines. When the cross came back in from the other wing Pat Harding on the Borough left had time to bring the ball down and place his shot just inside the post from a tight angle.

Our defensive woes were apparent again five minutes later when we first failed to get rid of the ball despite several opportunities to get it clear, and when the ball came back in again Harding was again entirely alone on the far side of the penalty area. The winger used his time well to drill in a good finish from the narrowest of angles to beat Bath and put Borough into the lead. Things got worse for City as a schoolboy error helped Eastbourne stretch the lead before the break. Reid was booked for a reckless challenge but the free kick seemed routine until Thommo's hurried clearance was brought down by Adam Wilde. He clearly used his arm, but the ref saw nothing wrong with it and with our players all staring at the ref like statues Allan Tait picked up the ball and smashed it beyond the helpless matt Bath. Rotten refereeing - but surely our players have been around long enough to have learnt about playing to the whistle?

Even at two goals down half-time hopes were high of a second half charge against as a creaky looking Eastbourne side defended in front of the T-End. Within moments of the re-start that hope was dead in the mud as Eastbourne's Scott Ramsay chased down a defensive clearance, racing beyond a static City defence before knocking the ball beyond Bath. The ball dropped over Chris Thompson, but the City skipper was having an uncharacteristically terrible day. You had to feel for Tim Harris who must have been felling a fortnight working on the defence had not been time well spent.

Finally Tim Harris chased the game, pushing Welsh up front with a reshuffle that also put Alex Sykes into midfield. With Matt Bath again making a fantastic close range save it looked as if it was too little too late, but the City chances were starting to come and Welsh holds the ball up well to provide an attacking platform. Hope was rekindled when Aaron Wilson produced a wonderful strike from 30 yards and on the right touchline. The winger chipped the ball towards the far post, and with Eastbourne's keeper wildly back-peddling in the T-End mud the ball dropped into the net. It was a wonderful goal, although you had to think the keeper should have again been as pink faced as his fetching shirt.

That gave us a little belief and Welsh looked like he was in a position to run through on goal but instead tried to pass the ball on to Whittington and the move broke down. Two other City attacks were thwarted by what can be conservatively described as marginal offside decisions, and that's being wildly generous to the linesman who seemed to have his flag in his eye all night. At least we now had even more excuse for our defensive gaps as we were doing our utmost to push forward and neither full-back was providing much cover. Eastbourne's Pat Harding could have had a hatrick as he cut in from the left wing and with no-one able to get close fired a raking shot onto the City cross bar.

That would have been a more fitting way to finally seal the game that Eastbourne's fifth goal on 70 minutes. A long punt forward from an indirect free kick for another offside decision sailed goalward and dropped into the net with Ramsay sticking his arm up despite the City defence being convinced he hadn't touched it. The ref did more to endear himself to the City faithful as he awarded a goal, the complete disbelief of both sets of players and lack of any traveling support lending the whole thing a strangely surreal and comic quality.

There was little left for either side to fight for, but Eastbourne's sub Matt Crabb managed to entirely misread the game and get himself sent off having only been on the pitch for six minutes. Jonny Miller had made a solid impact down the right having himself come off the bench, but quite why Crabb decided to launch himself at the City full-back only he will know. Not only was it two footed, it was high over the ball and the kind of tackle that breaks legs - it was a relief when Miller gingerly got back to his feet. Even this ref gave Crabb his marching orders, despite talking to his assistant who gave every sign of having failed to see the tackle despite being 20 feet away. Eastbourne's Matt Smart got booked for lunging at a City player in the predictable mass squabble, but several players from both teams could easily have been booked as they handbagged each other.


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
The camera don't do night time - donations towards better kit always gratefully received.

Team Selection:
With Tom Hamblin banned and Lyndon Tomkins out for another few weeks with his hamstring problem City were left without a specialist centre-back in the side. That left Chris Thompson and Jason Welsh the losers in the 'defender lottery' and Joe Tustain partnering Whitts up front. Reid got the nod at right-back after Miller's howler against Mangotsfield.
TBBM Said:
"I think we need to forget the double bagging and just work on the single bagging for now."
Tactics Board:
Thommo and Welsh might both be OK as centre-backs alongside another player used to playing in the position - with the pair of them back there it was as painful as the ceremony to swith on Gloucester's Christmas lights. Even putting Mustoe back there helped, and Welsh certainly carried a much greater attacking threat than the sadly hapless Tustain. By the time we made the switch though we were 4-1 down and there was too much left to do.
Anorak Corner:
This 5-2 defeat is our heaviest FA Trophy exit since that of 1986 when we went out 4-0 at Trowbridge Town. It was also City's heaviest beating since Tim Harris took charge and the wrost since our 4-0 defeat at King's Lynn over a year ago in November 2005.
T-Ender Verdict

It would be all too easy to look to blame some shoddy refereeing for this defeat but City were out gunned by an Eastbourne side that showed some impressive finishing and accuracy. Our defensive frailties were well exposed and with plenty of room and time Eastbourne could have made the scoreline even less flattering to a Tigers team that showed plenty of willing but little class or composure.

We did enough at times to unsettle the higher division opposition but with key players missing we lacked any real leadership or belief on the pitch. The result itself is no disgrace, but there is a distinct lack of inspiration and leadership on the field that is just beginning to worry - the next few weeks bring a flurry of league fixtures and some good results are needed to lift the spirits.

Highlights Elsewhere:

Our next opponents Banbury United will be dispirited on Saturday after a 3-2 Trophy defeat to Conference South side Lewwes means they miss out on a plumb tie with local giants Oxford United in the 1st Round. Team Bath were crushed 3-0 by another Conference South side Havant, but Bath City had better luck with Polish striker Zarczynski on target to record a 1-0 replay win at Tooting & Mitcham.

In the only league match tonight neither Cirencester or Cheshunt will be too pleased with a 3-3 draw that keeps both clubs in the bottom six. At least Ciren striker Neil Griffin will have enjoyed the night as his late equaliser completed a hatrick.

Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report
Eastbourne Borough FC website report
Tiger Roar Tim Harris audio interview

Further Reading:

FA Trophy website
BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: A.Matthews (Melksham, Wilts) City League Pos: n/a City Form: LLDWLD

Ref Watch:

3 - Very poor. Got countless crucial decisions wrong, too far behind play and didn't allow advantage at all. Greatly hindered by poor assistants.

Attendance: 273    
Conditions: dry, mild and overcast
Lorry Score:
Match Report:
by t-towel

Work commitments mean that we are keen to obtain other match reporters willing to provide details on some City matches. All text can be supplied by email, with no need to worry about web design or formatting. If you are interested please contact the T-Ender.

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