The match started with
Bilston penning City back defending their penalty box, but despite the
barrage in the first five minutes the first chance actually fell to
City. Chennas clipped a ball over the top and Marshall made a diagonal
run. He was beaten to the ball by the keeper but his clearance smashed
into Marshall, but instead of going in the ball sliced to safety.
That only served to
sharpen up the Bilston attack and on their next foray into City's half
they went ahead. Voice turned the defence and laid the ball back for
Rollason who drilled the ball past Hines from just outside the area
for ninth minute lead.
City then withstood a real barrage as Bilston piled on sustained
pressure. Hines did well to collect several crosses but was stranded
when a volley crashed back off the post. A few minutes later City's
defence was left glued to the spot, but Rollason wasted a free header.
Within minutes yet another shot from City's right flew past the other
stick. Tucks and Rollason were then both booked having exchanged blows
after the City player had brought him down.
The City fans behind the Bilston goal were despairing of seeing the
ball at all as the division's top scorer, Scott Voice, saw two further
efforts go close. His header just missed the bar as their right winger
caused even more problems for Dicks and Marshall. Voice then saw
another effort smothered well by Ally Hines who was quick off his line
when the forward eluded Steadman and Hunt.
The game was looking embarrassingly
one-sided, but City improved greatly for the last part of the first
half. we actually managed to put some good moves together down both
flanks and Bilston looked far from secure at the back. Chennas tested
the keeper with a low skimming shot that bounced awkwardly off the dry
pitch, then Chennas put in Marshall who was unfortunate to see a
curling shot go narrowly wide. Griff then had a good opening as the
ball ran loose from a corner, but his final shot was scuffed and any
danger was hacked clear.
The second half began with yet more one-way traffic. Bilston were so
confident they came close with a long curling cross shot that bounced
off the bar after Ally had left it thinking it was heading comfortably
wide. City then survived a couple more scares as both Griff and Tucks
were forced to boot the ball off the goal line.
We weathered that early storm and should have got an equaliser,
however undeserved on the run of the play. Cox ran clear down the left
and fought off the full-back clinging onto his shirt. He eventually
was tripped as he cut in near the by-line, and the ref failed to give
the spot-kick. City's appeals were somewhat distracted after Marshall
caught the Bilston centre-back as both charged in for the loose ball.
After Manton had received lengthy treatment the game took a decisive
turn for the worst as Jackson ran clear on goal on 57 minutes. Tucks
chased back and tripped the forward just outside the box. As the last
man the ref had little option but to show him a straight red for the
first dismissal of his career. City were left facing even more of an
City then faced a
further onslaught as another header came back off the post and Hines
made another terrific save at the feet of a Bilston forward. Steadman
got booked for another trip down the left wing, and Ally again saved
well after Voice turned to shoot when City only half-cleared the
resulting free-kick. On the 65th minute the City resistance gave way
as Steadman slipped and Jackson ran free, this time managing to slip
the ball under the overworked City keeper.
City then got a small reprieve as Bilston subbed Williams who'd been
causing us all sorts of problems down our left. Dicks was able to push
forward with Marshall and Cox and we put together a few more moves. We
came close to grabbing something back when Dicks was able to put over
a good cross from near the by-line, only to see Bayliss's near post
header clip the outside of the post.
The game went further
downhill as Chennas was needlessly booked for dissent and further
shots rained in on the City goal. Eventually a third went in from
Rollason's thumping header in the 86th minute. Ten man City showed
good spirit and could have grabbed something back when sub Lee Smith
got clear down the right and squared the ball to Chennas.
Unfortunately though he couldn't connect properly and the shot was too
easy for the Bilston keeper.
City could easily be dispirited by this mis-match, but in truth their
is no shame in being outplayed by one of the few better sides we've
faced in the league this season. Although we could have been buried we
weren't, and we deserved one. While it was upsetting it was no where
near as frustrating as most of our defeats this campaign when you felt
we should have got at least a point.