City went into new territory in this match,
facing their first ever game against Odd Down of the Screwfix Western
League. The Bath based outfit's ground was far from glamorous, but
while the facilities and cover may have been sparse the pitch at least was
far better than both Blakenall's and Warwick's. Cally made just one change from Monday, with Johnstone returning at
right-back and Hines retaining his place in goal.
City started sharply
and immediately Odd Down seemed surprised by the speed with which our
players got forward. Almost immediately Cairns was tripped down the
left and City grabbed an early lead from the free kick. Chenoweth
pushed the ball short to Tucker and as Odd Down marked Rawlins and
Bayliss they left a gaping hole for Tucks to place his shot low past the
keeper from just outside the box.
With City having scored so
early and the opposition looking ragged it seemed a rout would be on the
cards. City were pushing up with both the wing-backs far more advanced
than normal. City should have stretched their lead on several
occasions. Bayliss tried his luck from distance, and shortly
afterwards Rawlins caught a defender napping on a Thorne through ball
but saw his snap shot well saved.
City missed a further good opportunity when Cairns nipped the ball
away from the keeper after he had fumbled a long shot. Kwesi pushed the
ball back to Chenoweth, but with the keeper stranded Chenners couldn't
dig the ball out from under his feet and Odd Down muddled it away.
Tucks also had a chance to grab another, but his half volley afer a
Rawlins shot rebounded was always rising and cleared the bar by
Odd Down showed themselves more than
willing to put the foot in when necessary and both Johnstone and
Cairns took hefty knocks. After around half an hour the Somerset
outfit began to come back into the game as City responded in kind with
several aggressive challenges of their own. City were also getting
sucked too far up the pitch, and Dicks was left with little option but
to bring down an onrushing attacker and receive a booking when left
high and dry alone at the back. Although Wayne Thorne followed Dicks
into the book for a mistimed lunge before half-time, City looked far
more comfortable than 1-0 suggested. Odd Down limited to only one real
opening through the half.
The second period saw
City seem to make a much more determined effort to use the space the
full-backs were enjoying out wide. Slick passing from Thorne, Chennas
and especially Tucks was enough to give Odd Down plenty to think
about. The stress was such that one Odd Down centre back almost caught
his keeper out with a stinging back pass come shot that whistled
narrowly past the far post from twenty yards.
Most of the pressure on the home sides
goal was from more orthodox sources, with Rawlins guilty of missing a
soft header after good work down the right by Johnstone and Chenoweth.
Thorne also had a good run through the centre, but eventually went too
far to the frustration of Bayliss. Cairns, Johnstone and Chenoweth all
saw fierce shots go high or wide. However the all important second
goal eventually arrived when Dicks sent Cairns away down the left
where he sent over a swift deep ball beyond the keeper. The ball
dropped over the onrushing Tucker but was met at the back post by
Johnstone who headed in his first senior City goal.
With the game now in a
comfortable position Cally took advantage with a few substitutions.
Marshall came on to make his City debut, while Abbott also got a rare
run-out in his original midfield position. Cox also came on, and again
his pace caused Odd Down added problems with several good crosses
almost producing further goals. Odd Down had a strong penalty appeal
dismissed after the ball struck Hunt's hand, but by and large the play
was in Odd Down's own half. In the closing minutes Bayliss came
closest to adding another, his header under the keeper's challenge
just clearing the bar.
Ultimately this was a
comfortable run-out for City, and whilst never particularly inspiring
the result is all important, being Cup football. Cally can also take
comfort from City's first clean sheet under his management and our
first since the 18th January. There were also some encouraging
performances, with both Kwesi and Kacey showing how good they are
attacking down the flanks, and Tucks showing more progress on his
return from injury.