City v Shepshed

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Saturday 3rd February 2001: Meadow Park  

  CITY vs. Shepshed Dynamo  

Dr Martens League Western Division


City's Team

City made a welcome return to home action after two months since beating Rugby 2-1 in Meadow Park's last game. The threadbare squad was boosted by the return of Danny Hunt from suspension and new signing Billy Davis who passed a fitness test, at least to the point where he was able to take a place on the bench.

City looked comfortable from the kick-off with the midfield looking in control and Cox once again Shesphed hoof clearcausing some early concerns for the opposition. He saw one shot blocked and then another cross-shot deflected wide. Both Marshall and Dicks seemed to be finding plenty of space on the left flank and Shepshed were reduced to only the briefest of attacks when Tucks lost possession but was grateful to see Hines comfortably gather an unconvincing cross.

City made their dominance count after going close when Baylo's cross was headed goalward by Cox and pushed onto the bar by the keeper. The resulting corner saw Dicks swing over a deep cross which Bayliss headed down. Shepshed scrambled the ball out only as far as Parnell and the defender crashed home a first City goal to mark his home debut. City almost extended their lead twice as first Marshall ran clear only to have the keeper save at his feet, and then Chennas fierce low drive from distance was well collected at the second attempt.

As so often this season City still showed themselves capable of disintegrating alarmingly quickly. Shepshed broke swiftly from the back and with a few decisive passes leaving Griff and Hunt in their wake Shepshed carved out a clear opportunity for Walshe who thumped the ball past Ally Hines from the edge of the box. Our fragile confidence looked to have been punctured and we fell apart for the remaining ten minutes of the first-half. Hunt was booked for a desperate body check just outside the box, but made amends a few minutes later when his saving tackle inside the box denied Dynamo a clear shot on goal. More dramatic defending came just on the whistle with Griff hacking the ball off the line after a Shepshed head met a swinging corner. 

Half-time was a welcome chance to regroup and City looked to have some more composure when they began well. City were denied a strong penalty appeal when the ref, behind play as ever, decided a foul on Jenks hadn't happened despite him having to be carried off and replaced by Abbott. That frustration didn't derail City though, and Baylo was unlucky with a cheeky dipping shot from deep that almost saw the keeper too far off his line. City did survive a couple of defensive scares when both Dicks and Tucks lost concentration, but we deserved our lead when it came. Baylo and Chennas passed and fed the ball inside to Cox on the edge of the box. From nothing Cox turned to hit a perfect curling shot into the top far corner.

City continued to press with Chennas and Marshall looking to capitalise on the away team's obvious unease dealing with Cox and Bayliss. One good chance saw a low Tucks cross go loose but the keeper smothered at the feet of Bayliss. A further break down the left saw Dicks put Cox through but his cross was too close to the keeper to cause problems. Chennas eventually set up the third when his bustling run was ended unceremoniously by an ambush of three Shepshed defenders. However the ball ran loose to Griff just inside the penalty area and with the whole goal to pick from he rammed in his second in three games. 

This was City though and they once again made sure we weren't comfortable until right near the final whistle. Parnell had looked impressive and assured bringing the ball out from the back throughout the game, but he was caught out in the 82nd minute. As Shepshed raced goalward Hunt dithered too long and Hines was left in no-man's land for the visitors to pull the score back to a rather flattering 3-2.

For once though City were not to fall victim to another kamikaze falling apart. Shepshed did try to push forward but the defence and midfield were able to hold out against the danger and were quick to City & Shepshed exchange viewssnuff out any spaces. The match did threaten to overheat with one over the top tackle on Chennas, but the brief melee may have helped to throw Shepshed off their stride. Hunt found himself with space in midfield and having carried the ball forward a short while hit a looping ball behind the Dynamo defence. Although they had players coming back to cover substitute Billy Davis was the quickest and slid the ball under the keeper to also mark his home debut with a goal.

So a cheering home win that elevated City back up into the heady heights of 11th and the top half of the table. The mid-week League Cup clash at Mangotsfield is likely to be a much stiffer challenge, but this was an uplifting and comfortable return to home comforts. Added to the result a supporter's whip round that pulled in excess of 200 all contributed to the feeling that the small pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel may not be the 2.45 express to despair and disaster after all....


Dicks (c)


Tucker  City Scorers
Jenkins Parnell(20)
Chenoweth Bookings
Bayliss Hunt
Marshall 11th

(for 7;48)
(for 11;72)
Callinan t-towel

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