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Saturday 15th April 2000: Meadow Park

  CITY vs. Salisbury City  

Dr Martens League Premier Division

City's Team  

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.   

The match 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. 

The return 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.  

Salisbury 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.

The second 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.

This final 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.

Gannaway D3-3
Griffiths (c) Half-time
Hunt 0-1
Abbott Att.
Niblett 408
Cook  City Scorers
Wyatt Niblett (57),
Bayliss (80,86)
Talboys Bookings
Bayliss Bayliss  Casey  Abbott
Smart Position
W.Thorne 20th

(for Smart, 67) 
(for Griffiths, 62)
(for Talboys, 75)