City v RC Warwick

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Saturday 21st September 2002
Meadow Park 

   CITY v RC Warwick

Dr Martens League Western Division

City's Team

City will have been mightily relieved to have at last taken three league points in a home league match, especially in this encounter against a stubborn Warwick side that are universally tipped for a relegation struggle. As well as seeing City take the crucial points many at the club will have been almost as relieved by the lack of any red cards. City's discipline problems threaten a hefty FA fine as well as internal ructions the club could do without.

As it was City were missing Jimmy Cox for the first match of a two game ban, plus Baylo with a foot injury and Craig Hampson recovering from a recent hernia op. The sight of Mike Cook's name as a substitute said everything about a squad stretched to its limits. Neither of City's other outfield subs were fully fit, so it was as well all our side managed to get through the match unscathed.

The game began scrappily with both sides testing each other out with long ball exchanges and some robust midfield tackling. After around ten minutes the game began to settle and City were creating the chances. Lee Smith scampered down the wing and sent a low ball across the Warwick goalmouth only to see it narrowly elude Tom Webb.  

Hoskins then enjoyed a lively spell. some clever City play involving Thompson and Mustoe worked the ball wide to Adie Harris who flicked the ball across the penalty box. Hoskins was found unmarked and he stooped to head against the post. Minutes later Burns played the ball to him on the edge of the box and this time Hoskins turned sharply and shot immediately, forcing a good solid stop from the Warwick keeper.

At this point Warwick had threatened little but it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play on 16 minutes. Suddenly they found their midfield outnumbering that of City and the ball was slid through to Richard Ball. Steadman, Jenkins and Mustoe all appeared to be playing at being living statues as the Warwick forward ran clear and slotted the ball past the helpless Matt Bath.

It would have been easy for City hearts to sink but instead they managed to dig deep and equalized after only a few minutes. Webb pushed the ball on to Hoskins who danced his way past several Warwick challenges. His shot lacked any power at all, but Jones in the Warwick goal seemed mesmerised by Hosky's nimble footwork and allowed the bobbling shot to slip over him and into the net.

City now found some form and played some attractive football at times with Thompson's run and exchange with Adie Harris perhaps the highlight. They did have one minor moment of panic when Bath failed to hold a cross and having palmed the ball straight to a Warwick attacker he will have been grateful to see Mustoe clearing the ball off the line when the shot came in. City then got the luck their attacking play deserved on 33 minutes. Burns ran across the box and found Chris Thompson (on the wrong flank) and his cross from the left found Hoskins in space. He turned quickly but again got little purchase on his shot, perhaps the mis-hit fooled the keeper as again he allowed a soft shot to trickle into the net. Hosky was really on fire now and by the close of the half he was trying acrobatic mid-air volleys.

City played well again in two patches of the second half, but allowed Warwick to dominate for far too long for the comfort of the City supporters. Whilst Warwick enjoyed much of the possession they only really created two chances of any real concern. One saw the ball break loose and Matt Bath had to be off his line smartly to boot the ball clear. The other chance should really have seen Warwick equalise, Steadman and Jenkins left floundering by a run on the right wing and only errant finishing saw a good opportunity fly high over the bar. During this period the ref also seemed to lose his way a little, missing corners and goalkicks and booking Hosky for an alleged push-come-elbow when the forward didn't appear to make contact with the Warwick player. You do wonder if Hosky's reputation is now being played to by the opposition and seeing him victimised by DML officials. 

Warwick clear a crowded penalty box after a second half corner.

However after appearing to lose their way City managed to find some further energy and took control at the close of the game. The final goal came in the last minutes of the game after City had forced several corners and put some concerted pressure on a tired looking Warwick defence. Adie Harris took a right sided corner short to Tom Webb and he found time to send in an inch perfect cross for Neil Griffiths who was unmarked ten yards out. Untroubled by defenders Griff flicked his header accurately past the keeper's reach. The goal sealed the win and was the captain's third of the season, making the defender out joint top scorer! 

Problems still seem to persist at the back where City have yet to find confidence, but we played well in patches of this game and most crucially managed to gat all the points for the first time at home. More of the same will be expected against Supermarine on Tuesday, then perhaps City fans will begin to take more pleasure in the league table.

(HT: 2-1)





(persistent fouling)
Hoskins (foul)

Harris 16th




not named

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