Coming on the back of a 6-1 drubbing
at Boston was always going to be tricky, but this was a match
City had to be up for and had to win to be in with a shout of
survival. The omens didn't look good, Salisbury being something
of a bogey team for City in recent years, plus the fixture saw
a quick return for Jimmy Smith, the club's top scorer who left
following Hughes' sacking - after a defeat at Salisbury.
saw the return of old favourite Steve
Talboys after a few years away pretending to be a Premiership
footballer. Also coming in to the side were Wayne
Thorne after a three game ban, and Rob Cook who's hand injury
was heavily strapped.
of Sticksie lifted both the crowd and the players, but the match
was a struggle for both sides on a heavy pitch saturated by
recent rain. City were once again struggling to get round Salisbury's
man mountain centre back, and were reduced to shots from distance
- the closest from Danny Hunt.
City did eventually carve out a chance but Smart wasted a good
opportunity after Wyatt had skipped his way into the area.
then took the lead against the run of play when City's defence
got caught too high up the pitch. A long ball over the top saw
Sales race clear and easily slot past the stranded Gannaway.
It looked like City were to cave in again. However things got
livened up just before half-time when Jimmy Smith lost his friends
at Meadow Park with a blatant dive in the area that earnt him
a booking and torrents of abuse from the T-End. It must have
been a really bad dive to have got a booking from a DML referee.
City almost pulled level when Baylo and Cook let in Smart, but
his shot came off the post and Wayne Thorne was just beaten
to the rebound.
half seemed to be more of the same, with the ball largely stuck
in the muddy trenches at half way. Both sides were using effective
offside ploys, and the match was turgid even by recent standards.
Amid all this though City grabbed an equaliser, Niblett
heading home from a rare City corner. Celebrations were
short lived though as the visitors headed straight up the other
end to bang in another, Smith setting up Sales for another to
restore their lead. Only a superb tackle by Niblett prevented
that lead being extended further.
City were again chasing the
game, and Dominic Gordon came on for Griffiths as City switched
to all out attack. Before that could really take effect the
side was disrupted by an injury to Smart who was replaced by
Andy Tucker. Tucks had
barely found his feet when Smith again squared the ball for
a team mate, and this time it was Shepherd who put City 3-1
down and seemingly out.
indignity seemed to finally spur City into life and a dull match
came to a barnstorming final period. City charged up the pitch,
and the excellent Wyatt slammed in a stinging shot which Price
in the Salisbury goal failed to hold. The ball bounced across
to Baylo to grab his first
City goal since rejoining on loan from Newport County. The T-End
woke up and City poured forward, the Salisbury defence which
had seemed so solid seemed to wilt in front of the sheer weight
of the Gloucester attacks.
It wasn't one of these attacks
that resulted in the leveler though, it was a seemingly tame
shot from distance by Karl
Bayliss which bounced over the keeper's outstretched arm
and into the net. With the scores level both sides went all
out for the win, and Salisbury could have grabbed it had Mark
Abbott not cleared on the line. The best chances fell to
city though. Bayliss saw a chance well stopped by the keeper,
and Gordon's follow-up crash against the post. Wyatt shot from
distance when other options looked more promising, and City
had to settle for a well earnt point - but ultimately it was
not enough to rekindle the Tigers slim hopes of staying up.