City came into the game looking for their
first home league win of the season and is somewhat despondent mood
having recently been trounced by Mangotsfield and then thrown away
victory at Evesham. One noticeable casualty from that debacle was
Gannas, with Ally Hines again coming back into goal.
City managed to find
their feet first in stormy and windy conditions, and indeed our dirst
opportunity came when Cox was able to take full advantage of a
defender's hesitation dealing with a clearance that swirled in the
wind. Cox forced a corner, but sadly it came to nothing. City were
also finding Bayliss a useful asset and he was able to hold the ball
up well and lay it back to Jenks who was unlucky to see his snap shot
whistle just wide.
Rugby did however look a strong side,
but their forwards served early notice that they were not too sharp.
Even though left typically unmarked by the AWOL Moore their forward
managed to tread on the ball. The clearance then saw Chennas
scampering through at the other end only to be pulled back long before
reaching the penalty box. The Rugby defence was then caught off guard
when Johnstone and not Bayliss hit the free kick, and he wasn't far
off with the keeper needing to be at full stretch to reach the ball
City did at least have
learnt the value of hard work from their recent misfortunes and
Chennas was setting a frenetic example. A few minutes later only a
fine tackle interrupted his run just as he contemplated the choice of
putting in either Bayliss or Cox. The ceaseless City pressure looked
likely to tell after 34 minutes when the keeper, befuddled by the
whistling crosses and shots handled a hurried back pass. City took the
free kick on twelve yards, but sadly the referee couldn't count as far
as ten and the Rugby wall was allowed to stand on the six yard line!
Baylo smacked his shot through the wall, but the keeper was able to
City then got hit by a classic sucker
punch minutes before the end of a half they had totally dominated. A
long run was successfully halted by Hunt, but his clearance only found
its way to another Rugby player and we were suddenly outnumbered. The
ball went wide and when the cross came in the man at the far post was
able to head past a stranded goalkeeper.
City carried on with
their attacks in the second half, but understandably Rugby had pulled
everyone back and were fighting a determined rearguard action. The one
time City broke free, again through Chennas, we were let down by the
referee who only booked the defender for hauling him down despite
being the last man between player and goal. The free kick was
squandered and the fierce tackling of the Rugby defence was
threatening to cause the City players of losing their rag. Sure enough
Bayliss went into the book for an over enthusiastic grudge challenge
which left his opponent on a stretcher.
At this point God took
very prompt revenge as the heavens opened and all sensible folk headed
for the comfort and shelter of the bar. Bayliss didn't last much
longer making way for Rawlins as Callinan tried to inject something
extra into our attack. The substitution worked to stunning effect with
Cox breaking down the left and his cross eluding the Rugby defence for
Rawlins to crash home at the far post.
Rugby tried to respond
but had spent so long sat back that they found it difficult to wake
back up. They managed to force a corner but not much else. City were
pushing forward at every opportunity, and the breakthrough came with
only a few minutes left. Dicks hoisted the ball into midfield where
Cox managed to get a touch to put the ball beyond the Rugby centre
back. Rawlins burst in at pace and raced clear, imperiously rounding
the keeper and rolling the ball into the empty net.
Far from being able to
push back Rugby were forced to cling on to the defeat as Chennas was
denied a deserved goal when his drive was put over the bar by a
desperate defensive foot. Rawlins could have even got a hat trick when
he got his head to the resulting corner, but the shot was cleared off
the line. All in all a very pleasing result, a long-awaited home
league win, and every hope that the corner could have been turned with
one of City's most convincing performances of the season.