City v Shepshed

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Saturday 14th December 2002
Meadow Park 

   CITY v Shepshed Dynamo

Dr Martens League Western Division

City's Team

City were desperate to get back on track after the disappointment of the 0-0 draw with Rocester and a midweek postponement. Despite never quite reaching top form or making this victory as emphatic as it could have been Gloucester were simply too strong for a disorganised Shepshed side.

City were forced to reshuffle the squad with Jenkins still out and Thompson deemed only fit enough to make the bench. Gary Marshall came in at left back, moving Adie Harris up into a more midfield role. Despite the changes City looked much the brighter of the two sides in the opening stages, although there were no clear chances City did force a string of corners to put Shepshed under some early pressure.

The game took 10 minutes to settle and again it was Mustoe who was the key to winning the battle in midfield. Shepshed meanwhile were looking like a side who expected to lose, their passing going astray and even on one occasion seeing their players tackle each other and gift possession to Wilkinson. The forward momentum was beginning to take its toll and City looked likely to score when Steadman sent Adie Harris free down the right, but his pull back fell behind the forwards. Dynamo  were starting to find the only way to stop City was to trip and push, one free kick from Burns was blasted into the wall but only after the ref had failed to count as far as the required ten yards.

City's eventual breakthrough was comical. Lee Smith pushed the ball down the wing to Mustoe who checked back inside and sent over a fast dangerous cross into the Shepshed area. Andy Hoskins stretched above a Shepshed defender to get his head to the ball and just got the faintest of touches, enough to send the ball looping towards the top corner. The Shepshed keeper was either stranded or asleep and he reacted just in time to try and flap at the ball as it bounced off the post and over the line.

City kept up the pressure and Jimmy Cox was a constant threat to Shepshed with his pace, but City never quite found the right ball to unleash him. Perhaps the best chance saw a Mustoe corner reach Neil Griffiths but his header was well held by the keeper. The game drifted badly for the last 20 minutes of the half with neither side getting any real purchase on the ball. Shepshed threatened little but did suddenly find themselves with a sight on goal, only for their number 11 to fire his shot straight at Matt Bath.

As the second half started the visitors enjoyed a brief moment of supremacy, but will have regretted missing their chance. Will Steadman was in the right place to deflect a shot wide and was again on hand to clear on the post from the resulting corner. With that attack cleared City pushed up field and once again turned the screw on a creaking Shepshed defence only shored up by the vast mountain of Daniel Gansford. 

City looked to get forward a little more with Thompson replacing Marshall, Masher having done fantastically to have gone nearly an hour without attracting the attention of the ref. Thompson made an almost immediate impact with a strong run. Hoskins then grabbed his and City's second as the heavens opened. Cox had fired in a shot that clattered the crossbar and Shepshed failed to deal with the resulting chaos. Lee Smith held off a defender and slipped the ball through to Andy Hoskins and he smacked the ball into the net at the second attempt.

City looked rampant for the next five minutes with Hoskins getting close to a hatrick with a header on to the bar from an in swinging Adie Harris corner. Tom Webb then came into the action and he too had time to gallop into the heart of the Shepshed defence. His run ended but was picked up by Jimmy Cox who threaded his shot through a crowd of players towards goal. The Shepshed keeper had looked crestfallen after City's first and looked sheepish again as what looked a rather tame effort ended up nestling in the far corner of his net.

Having looked dead and buried Shepshed managed to grab one back on 79 minutes when City simply lost the plot on a deep free kick, leaving Gansford free to volley home unchallenged. Despite conceding a first goal in four games City never looked like letting the three points go and Lee Smith was unlucky when his run and fizzing shot went narrowly wide. In the last minute manager Chris Burns was unlucky not to add to the score. His powerful free kick was goal bound before Shepshed keeper Damian Beattie slightly redeemed himself with a flying save. 

After last week's disappointment this was a welcome return to winning ways for City and although not yet quite firing on all cylinders the Tigers deserved the points. For Shepshed the struggle for points is not as important as that for financial survival at present. With the threat of the club folding at the end of the season a serious possibility we can only empathise and hope they can survive as City have done.

(HT: 1-0)


Hoskins (25,64)
Cox (69)



(Staple Hill)
Wilkinson 9th

(for 3; 59)
(for 6; 76)




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