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Saturday 4 November 2006
FA Trophy
2nd Qualifying Round
at Meadow Park, Gloucester
Trophy logo

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

Gloucester City



Margate Zoo

HT (0-0)

M.Whittington (77 pen)
City home kitMargate Kit
C.Thompson ©
L.Protheroe ©
D.Wisker (for 11, 72)
(for 8, 72) J.Miller
(for 3, 83) D.Wilkinson
N.Bagley (for 7, 82)
(for 9, 72) J.Tustain
City: T.Hamblin (push? 26), T.Webb (kicking ball away 42), M.Whittington (dissent 62).
Margate: P.Abbott (foul 37), D.Standen (foul 85).
Dismissals: none

T-Ender City MotM: Michael Whittington - the boy's a bit special. Shone in the second half and his pace and turns were decisive today.

grass trim rule

Forget the match, feel that scoreline. This was a long way from City at their best, but some how a brief moment of Michael Whittington magic was enough to get us out of gaol and snatch a barely believable victory over a strong Margate side left wishing they'd taken chances in long spells where they enjoyed the better of the game. The result was reward for City's strength and determination on an afternoon where nothing seemed to be going right for us until the ref finally caught up with play and by sheer luck fluked a decision and called it right to give City a chance to score from the penalty spot - one of just two shots on target we managed in the whole 90 minutes.

We actually started with some bright moments, Webb breaking well out of midfield and whilst his cross missed Whittington the ball was won back by Mustoe and the move ended with Williams turning inside on the edge of the box and placing a shot just wide of the far post. However it was Margate who looked the more confident side for most of the first half, at times the ball whistling across the face of the City goal as our defence struggled down the flanks. Bath got plenty of chance to reinforce his claim on the keeper's shirt, making a fine save at the feet of Gate's James Pinnock as he scrambled back across goal to get down at the far post. Tom Hamblin made a solid block on the line with Dean Standen blazing the follow-up well wide, while the impressive Paul Abbott cut in well past Sykes but also skewed his shot well wide. City may not have been finding it easy to put much together, but while Margate were trying to play some good passing football an entertaining amount of their passing was going well astray.

Even at this stage the ref deserves some special mention. It's hard to explain exactly why he was so poor - but put simply, he got so much wrong. Players quickly lose confidence when there seems little sense to the decisions being made, and he gave several minor free kicks that left both sides looking totally confused. Then he got a few throw-ins wrong. Then he booked Tom Hamblin for what was barely a push on the touchline well into the Margate half (to add to the injury Hamblin now has 5 yellows and a ban), only to follow it up without booking a Margate player for an apparent elbow on Chris Thompson that he must have seen in order to give a free kick. To even things up he then did book a Margate player - Abbott for a nothing jump at Sykes that barely merited stopping play. Then Webb went into the book, perhaps for kicking the ball away at a free kick but it was hard to guess. By the time the ref stopped Mustoe taking a quick free kick and then wouldn't allow it to be retaken the match was close to being spoilt by his antics. By half-time the ref had well earned his lecture of Mustoe and Thommo.

City were much improved in the second half with Mustoe getting an iron grip of the midfield, but as the game opened up it didn't really look as if we'd benefit as the two teams went toe to toe and traded attacks. Webb sliced a shot well wide with the strikers queuing up for a cross, Aaron Wilson picking up a Fowler ball with a clever diagonal run but his shot was also well into the T-End. At the other end Margate were closer with Pinnock producing a fine diving save from Matt Bath. Both sides did seem to be getting closer. Whitts wriggled free and this time his 20 yard swerving shot was only just wide of the post, but City survived a scare when Pinnock tumbled over Hamblin's challenge. From the other end it looked overly dramatic, but when the ref waved play on you had a sinking feeling that could well mean it had actually been a foul... The ref had added to his popularity with the City fans in booking Whitt for dissent after an offside decision. Sure, throwing the ball down in a huff wasn't clever, but then he'd been played on by two defenders.

John Williams had put in a display that doesn't really do justice to words like lacklustre and disinterested. There were some nice early touches and a clever cushion header, but these were cameos in an otherwise lethargic looking first outing in a City shirt that was hugely disappointing. There is some strong mitigation for a player who is doubtless lacking some match sharpness and who is still just getting to know his new team mates, but the T-End will soon lose patience with any player who looks unwilling to put themselves out for the cause. Hopefully there's much more to come from the strolling postman, but that didn't avoid the feeling his departure to be replaced by Tustain at least saw us go back to having 11 players on the pitch. This was part of a double substitution with Miller also coming on to help plug a worrying problem Margate were causing on our right.

The City side immediately looked more balanced and more menacing. The crucial moment came soon after when Mike Fowler played a clever lob forward from midfield and sub Joe Tustain did well to win the ball in the air and flick it on into the path of Michael Whittington. The youngster cut in from the left and having reached the penalty area produced a sharp turn back infield away from the byline. The twist was too much for Margate's Justin Skinner whose foot was still headed for where the ball had been moments before. It was such a clear penalty even this ref could do nothing but point at the spot. No-one was getting that ball off Whitts and he marched off to place it on the spot, before calmly sending the keeper the wrong way and giving City a perhaps unlikely lead.

Once ahead we actually did far more to look like we actually deserved the scoreline. we were helped by some terrible kicking by the Margate keeper, before long when the visiting defence found their backs to goal with Whitts behind them you could be sure the ball wouldn't be going back to the keeper. Whittington was getting better as the game went on and he was now getting kicked up in the air with sickening regularity. Perhaps our best moment of the match came when Mike Fowler took advantage of an overlap, sold a dummy and cut into the penalty area past two defenders with another of those magical twinkling runs he can produce. His shot was firm but parried wide, just eluding Alex Sykes. It was wonderful football, but only our second shot on target.

With the whistles coming off the T-End and Tim Harris pointedly tapping his wrist on the touchline it looked as if the ref had lost his stopwatch as well as his marbles. Margate almost forced us all in to a midweek cross country trek to the furthest margins of Kent with a strong run across the by-line, but Hamblin was again in place to hack the ball from the goalmouth and Bath was able to clear. It was finally all over and the T-End were able to celebrate an important win - and the club an extra £2,000 prize money in the coffers that vindicated Harris gamble on bringing in extra players for the game. The team jigged in a celebratory 'Randall' and can look forward to the draw on Monday. The ref meanwhile was saved by the stewards who intercepted and ejected a fan who wanted to discuss his performance with him. Rumours the angry man was the ref's assessor could not be confirmed as we publish...


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
Thommo vs Margate
Webb vs Margate
Thommo enjoys another run at the Margate defence.
Webb brings City clear for some first half respite.

Team Selection:
In the run-up to the match Tim Harris had been busy to give City a whole new forward line. Former Swansea and Coventry 'Flying Postman' John Williams came in for his debut alongside the returning Michael Whittington up front. Mysteriously Michael Noakes had gone AWOL, whilst on the right skipper Chris Thompson moved to right-back with Jonny Miller on the bench.
TBBM Said:
"He looks as if he's just won that shirt in a raffle."
No prizes for guessing who that was about....
Tactics Board:
City's midfield did well but we still look a little lop-sided. Wilson hugs the touchline which gives us real defence stretching width down the left, but on the right Fowler and Webb both come inside to get involved. We had real problems down our right flank until Miller came on as a sub, with Thommo still able to drop back from midfield to double up on the Margate winger when required.
Anorak Corner:
We're on our way! The last time we put together two wins in the FA Trophy we went all the way to the quarter-finals. It may be asking a lot but it's good to aim at something.
T-Ender Verdict
We never convinced or hit our best form in this match, but for all of their possession Margate failed to take their chances. City may not be able to argue that we entirely deserved to win, but we did finish the stronger side and the pace and sharpness of Michael Whittington up front provided us with a crucial edge that ultimately proved decisive. It may be a cliche to say good sides win when not playing well - we did that today to keep a clean sheet against a free scoring Margate team. For a side without a win in five matches that has to say something positive about this side's will to win.
Highlights Elsewhere:

After Saturday's games a grand total of ten of our fellow division members are through, with a further five still involved in replays later in the week. The most eye-ctaching scoreline was Hemel's goalfest, beating Abingdon United 8-4, four of their goals coming from former Chesham hitman John Lawford, recently signed from Bedford Town. Perhaps the other result to catch the eye was Team Bath's 3-0 win at Leatherhead who could not translate their FA Cup form into Trophy success, the students hero being Scott Canham who grabbed a hatrick.

Stamford recorded a notable 2-1 win over recent winners Radcliffe Borough, and Cirencester are also through, edging out Hanwell Town 3-2 with a last minute Marc Richards winner. Chippenham's dodgy form continued as they were held at home in a 3-3 draw with Didcot Town but King's Lynn have most to worry about from the weekend despite brushing aside Leyton in a 2-1 win. After ther match boss Tommy Taylor announced he would be leaving for a coaching role at Peterbrough United, just a week before Lynn play in the 1st Round of the FA Cup and with the side still top of the Southern Premier.

Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report
Tiger Roar match photos
Margate FC website match report

Further Reading:

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

Referee: R.Gillard (Chard, Somerset) City League Pos: n/a City Form: WLDDDD

Ref Watch:

4 - Just bad. Got so much wrong not even a winning City penalty buys my vote.

Attendance: 428    
Conditions: clear and bright.
Lorry Score:


Match Report:
by t-towel

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