Bedworth v City

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Saturday 9th September 2000: The Oval  

  Bedworth United vs. CITY 

Dr Martens League Western Division


City's Team

The starting eleven remained unchanged for this match against a Bedworth United side managed by former City midfielder Gary Bradder. Before the game Callinan had told his players to tighten up and sharpen up, to stay with the promotion chasers City had to begin turning draws into victories.

The start looked promising with City getting forward well on a lumpy pitch which added some good erratic bobbles to the problems facing the players. Kwesi Cairns continued his form from last week with a bright start down the left, and it was he who fed a good ball into Tucks on the edge of the area to begin City's first attack. Tucker went past one player before slipping the ball to Rawlins, but with the goal at his mercy his shot from twelve yards was tamely struck and a covering defender had time to hack the ball clear. Soon after City added a couple of long shots for good measure, with Johnstone guilty of shooting from distance when he had options in front of him.

After a promising beginning City seemed to lose their way a little and they were having difficulty getting the ball beyond a crowded midfield. With City sitting too deep Bedworth were able to push up and put some pressure on the Gloucester goal. Although reduced to long high clearances we did not look too uncomfortable, although having seen recent defensive performances you know better than to take much for granted. Hines did not have much to do, although he coped well with a few high balls which may have previously caused us more problems than they did today.

Richard Moore found his way into the book for a mistimed challenge and Tucks also caught a hefty whack on the shin, but by and large the first half was not overly fraught. City dominated most of the half without looking totally convincing. The game was becoming a fairly turgid display, which saw many City supporters glad to have alternative entertainment provided by Easty's guest appearance in a kids kickabout behind the Bedworth goal.

Just as the playground match was reaching a hotly contested finish our attention was pulled back to the proper game with City taking the lead minutes before half-time. Bayliss, Cairns and Thorne worked the ball down the left and found Kacey Johnstone in space on the edge of the area. Kacey showed his old striker's touch to turn the defender and calmly curl the ball round the keeper and just inside the left post.

Bedworth looked as if they'd been given a talking to at half-time and showed a lot more attacking determination to place some real concerted pressure on the City back line. First Hines clung on to several high crosses under pressure, and then was relieved to have Bedworth shoot straight at him having slipped inbetween Tucker and Johnstone on the right. Hines was called upon again soon after the hour mark when he did well to tip over a fiercely struck drive from the edge of the area.

It was far from one way traffic though, with City putting together several impressive passing moves with all the midfield trio heavily involved. City seemed to be lacking some width up front though, and Rawlins and Baylo have not yet quite clicked as a partnership although both worked hard. With Meadows and Cox coming on for Cairns and Rawlins the Tigers found some added impetus. First a great bit of work by Tucker, Johnstone and Meadows worked in a tight cross drilled in from the right. Cox seemed certain to score from an angle at the far post, but the Bedworth keeper made an excellent scrambled block to keep City out. 

However City did get to extend their lead on 83 minutes in controversial fashion. With a Bedworth player down in City's half we made a determined counter-attack down the right wing. Meadows kicked the ball long, and with the ball seemingly over  the touchline Baylo whipped in a deep cross which Cox nodded in. The jubilation from the City players clearly demonstrated their belief that we need more than one goal to be in with a shout of a win this season.

That was shown yet again as Bedworth pushed forward with renewed determination and no doubt feeling a little hard done by. Already Moore and Dicks had been forced into impressive last ditch tackles, and now City had luck on their side after a dreadful bounce caught out Hines only for Bedworth to put into the side netting with the goal at their mercy.

That was a let off, but  the extra Greenbacks pressure eventually told when one of a number of corners was headed in by a Bedworth centre back. The referee and the home side then conspired to drag the game out with an inexplicable extra five minutes of agony for City as we held out with some gritty if not cultured defence. A final challenge was presented by a dangerous free kick on the area. The first effort was charged down by Wayne Thorne, but was retaken as the ref penalised for encroaching (even though it had been already been touched on by a Bedworth player). The retaken free kick saw a shot drilled in low and smack into City's far post, and Bedworth put the rebound well over the bar. 

City then clung on for the much delayed final whistle, with Cox determinedly playing out time by the corner flags. Not a vintage display, but while City may have eventually been fortunate to get all three points at least we showed some added determination to get those two extra points.

Johnstone Half-time

Thorne (c) 
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