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Saturday 26 February 2000: McEnhill Stadium

  Salisbury City vs. CITY 

Dr Martens League Premier Division


City's Team  

City turned up at this match more in hope than expectation. Wages cut to 500 mean that for several contract players this could have been a last appearance. Feelings were running understandably high, but with that passion tinged by despair there were no guarantees that a depleted squad still missing Tucks and Niblett would be able to improve on one solitary away win. It seemed fitting that with the behind the scenes shambles the players were without shirts until a few minutes before kick-off. When they did eventually trot out it was to mutual applause with the supporters. The only thing missing at the club is the officials.

We even had pre-match entertainment with The Citizen taking a team photo, including Easty done up as the vicar officiating at the funeral of the existing team. The ever officious Salisbury stewards only just resisted the temptation to cart him out. Before long though the light relief was over and it was down to the grim business of scrapping for the outside chance of Premier Division survival. 

From early on it was clear this was unlikely to be a top exhibition of the beautiful game. The pitch was hard and the bounce uneven. City's midfield was having the best of the scraps but couldn't keep the ball under control to get quality possession. Griffiths and Chenoweth were usually industrious, but Casey was guilty on a couple of occasions of spurning passing opportunities.

Wyatt was finding a bit of freedom down the right, and it was from one of his runs and crosses that Smith had a good chance. Unfortunately Smith found himself slightly behind the cross and his header lacked the firmness to take the ball beyond the keeper. City were immediately left to regret the miss as Shephered ran clear, and with the defence at sixes and sevens Salisbury took a crucial 18th minute lead.

The confidence visibly drained from the side, although chances still came for both Smith and Rose. City had a burst of pressure with a series of corners, but by and large they couldn't find a way through the crude and effective bulk of Roger Emms at centre back for Salisbury. With most of the game being in their own half Salisbury twice skated through on the break. On the first occasion King produced a good diving save to his left, but on the second a dodgy offside decision allowed Salisbury's diminutive Ian Chalk to skate through for the home team's second. 

The second half saw more of the same. City had plenty of chances but with Gloucester chasing the game there were more opportunities for Salisbury. City survived, although Bungle picked up another booking for a shoulder charge that the ref disliked. King made a superb stop to rectify his own poor kick which had given possession straight to Sales with only the keeper to beat. Cox came off the bench for Casey, and immediately his pace caused Salisbury problems on the left. Cox's persistence sent Callinan through, but his angle on the left near post was too narrow to squeeze a shot past the keeper. Another Wyatt cross found Smith at the back post again, but this time his header went just wide. Wyatt had a shot from distance but it was a comfortable stop for the Salisbury keeper.

The end of the match saw more mutual applause and mutual disdain for a board of directors who cause the problems but don't attend the games to offer support or explanations. Whatever the behind the scenes politics, on the pitch it was another sorry tale of wasted chances, lack of poise and another lost three points that leaves City in 19th and staring over the drop into the DML Western Division.



Abbott  Half-time
W.Thorne 0-2
G.Thorne Att.
Callinan 535
Chenoweth City Scorers



W. Thorne

Griffiths 19th


(for Casey, 58)