City v Cirencester

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Saturday 30th March 2002
Meadow Park 

  CITY v Cirencester Town  

Dr Martens League Western Division

City's Team

What can you possibly write about this match that might leave anyone more optimistic or happier than starting to read the report. The game was woeful. It had a total absence of passion or commitment from either side. It was a poor game between two distinctly average and disinterested sides. The match was low on incident, scrappy and shapeless. I'd have rather given my money on the turnstile and left to be somewhere, indeed anywhere, else. And I do try to be positive about our performances. 

City rested several players ahead of the Monday clash with Chippenham, with Karl Bayliss not risked after a fitness test. Craig Hampson and Darren McCluskey were both rested, while Wilkinson was on the bench. However long term target Chris Thompson made his debut having just been released from Northampton. 

City did flatter to deceive in the first few minutes. Thompson was keen to impress and made several promising moves, showing good touch and confidence although an early run saw him try to beat a few to many players. However despite some glimpses of City style it was Cirencester who were finding the bigger gaps. Jenks looked out of sorts and squandered possession and will have been relieved to see Keith Knight's shot fired straight into Matt Bath's arms. However the reprieve was temporary as Will Steadman lost possession and neither he nor Cook closed down Ciren quick enough and allowed Blastland to turn and fire his shot past Bath from the edge of the box after 13 minutes.

It looks like a penalty from there. Burns tumbles in the box.

City did try their best to rally with Burns and Thompson exchanging quick passes that left Ciren behind. Prince was on hand to carry the attack forward and when he squared the ball back to Chris Burns the City boss appeared to have been brought down for a penalty. however the claims were waved away and within a minute Burns was in the book having taken out his frustration on a passing blue and white shirt.

A lethargic looking City were containing Cirencester but there was little to inspire supporters from either side as the two teams went through the motions. Keith Knight did his best to remind City fans why he should be remembered for more than his dressing room politics, but even his crosses caused little interest from his forwards or our defenders. Thompson was trying to get involved but the rest of the team looked like they were wading in treacle. When Jenks and Prince finally slipped into gear and carved open the Ciren defence the chance fell to the onrushing Tom Webb who barely connected with his shot as it dribbled harmlessly goalward. If it was this easy to get past their defence why were we making such heavy weather of it. 

Even a few heavy tackles in midfield could do little to rise players or spectators from their stupor. Hosky got booked for a characteristically robust challenge, while City were lucky to escape when the outpaced Mike Cook used his arm to control a difficult ball across the penalty box. Don't be fooled by the condensed action summary though, this was dire fare and half-time was a welcome release.

After the break City were briefly galvanised into action and actually mounted a concerted effort on the visitor's goal for a few minutes. Luke Prince finally remembered where he was and zipped past a couple of defenders to swing over a deep cross that found Burns towering at the far post. He was unlucky to see the header bounce from the inside of the post and just evade Hoskins on it's way out.

There was little more to watch in the way of entertainment as both teams resorted to kick and rush, or to be more accurate, kick and watch. Few passes went to their intended targets as both sides saw poor performances slip backward. In fairness to Ciren this suited them fine, they were winning and it was up to us to make the running. Despite the increasing red-faced exasperation of Chris Burns City were not going forward. A couple of substitutions did little to liven things up, although with 15 minutes remaining Wilkinson did lay the ball off for Lee Smith to wake up the City fans behind the goal with a shot that clattered the hoardings.

City did have a number of further efforts through Griff, Hoskins and Burns, but all lacked conviction and power without troubling Sawyer in the Cirencester goal. At the other end Matt Bath was also called into action on a couple of occasions, but if you could find local bookies to take odds on our matches you'd be tempted to believe both teams had 1-0 at good odds.

With that came the final whistle and the end of a pitiful performance that sees City drop three places and hopes of a mid-table finish seem more unlikely. We will have to find some passion and fire in our hearts to get anything more than a pasting at Chippenham on Easter Monday. This is one of those games best soon forgotten.    

(HT: 1-0)
Webb City




Steadman Bookings
Thompson 15th

(for 2; 73)
(for 11; 68)
(for 3; 87)


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