City v Clevedon

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Saturday 19th April 2003
Meadow Park 

   CITY v Clevedon Town

Dr Martens League Western Division

City's Team

This was by no means a classic encounter and the fans can only take comfort that the match improved as it went on. From City's perspective the improvement really came in the last minute when a late penalty earned City a point.

This was Chris Burns' 100th game in charge of the Tigers, but with the prospect of another game on Monday the boss decided to make some of his stranger team selections. He came in for Steadman, but perhaps most strangely Smith was dropped to the bench to bring Jenks into midfield while Baylo got the nod up front as Hoskins recovers from his knee injury. The decisions probably didn't effect the first few exchanges though, City looked frail against a physical Clevedon side who mastered the high uneven bounce far better than us even though we were at home. 

The midfield was being largely by-passed and both Griff and Chipps were getting plenty of chances to head the ball. Despite not enjoying the best pressure the first real opening did fall to us in front of the T-End. Adie Harris was providing an outlet and he won a corner which Thompson put in low to the near post. Bayliss did well to stoop and flick the ball on and Griffiths was unlucky to blaze his shot over the bar. City then saw a fantastic chance spurned when Cox seemed set to race clear from a Burns clearance. The forward's first touch let him down though and he shinned the ball too far ahead and Steve Weaver was able to come out of the Clevedon goal and collect the ball without any danger.

The pressure was really on at the other end as we fought to clear our lines under sustained aerial bombardment. There were few clear chances for the Seasiders but you felt that unless we could get some control on the game a goal would come. Matt Bath saved City when he tipped over a strong header as we were slack in marking for a free kick. Bath was well positioned a few minutes later when former Mangotsfield forward Guiseppe Sorbara went clear but couldn't put any power in his shot. However the goal did come on 28 minutes when City were again a little slow to react to a corner. Former Tigers player Steve Lester was first to move and he flicked in a neat near post header to leave City trailing 1-0.

City did gradually begin to steady the ship and both Wilkinson and Jenkins suddenly burst into life and began to make the midfield a little more competitive. Chipps was having a strong game and several early Clevedon attacks were broken up by physical challenges by the centre back. The Tigers could even have leveled before the break as Cox broke free down the right but although his cross found Tom Webb his shot didn't beat the keeper. 

The game had been scrappy and the wind cold after the early summer sunshine of recent days. All in all it was a good afternoon to watch the match from the comfort of the bar and the second half grew increasingly hazy. However City were improving and the second half was an interesting battle of footballing styles. City kept trying to pass the ball around, although Thompson, Webb and Burns were all finding their passes going astray. Clevedon were content to look for the early long ball up front, but this too was often too easy for Griff and Chipps to deal with. 

The balance of play was now with City but the final ball was proving elusive. They looked to have unlocked the vistor's defence when Cox broke clear and squared the ball for Webb whose shot was excellently saved by Weaver. The rebound should have ended up in the net but Wilkinson ploughed the shot into a defender who was covering the goal line. City threw on both Smith and Hoskins from the sub's bench and the youngster on the right wing had an almost immediate impact. He was put through by Burns and his low fast cross missed Cox but was almost turned into his own net by Jeffries who hit the bar.

The pressure on the Clevedon goal was mounting but the extra space behind our defence suited the Seasiders game and several occasions they attacked quickly on the break. Bath had to make a fine save from a header, again tipping over the bar and was then grateful to Chipps who twice hacked the ball from the line.

City were desperately seeking the equaliser and it looked like if it was to come Lee Smith would be involved. his pace on the right had suddenly troubled Clevedon and his crossing has improved greatly in the last few months. His whipped in ball beat the defence but Griff could not keep his header down. However as the match looked to be beyond the Tigers Smith had one final charge into the penalty area. He was heading away from goal but towards the by-line when he was both pushed over and tripped for good measure. The ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and neither did Chris Burns as he marked his personal landmark with an unerring penalty kick that rescued a point for his team.

(HT: 0-1)


Burns (89pen)



(West Bromwich)
Wilkinson 7th

(for 10;61)
(for 11;61)


not named


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