Weston v City

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Tuesday 26th December 2000: Woodspring Park  

  Weston-s-Mare vs. CITY  

Dr Martens League Western Division


City's Team

City hardly had the best preparation for this encounter, a fortnight's enforced lay-off due to flooding at Meadow Park followed by the sudden departure of top scorer Matt Rawlins. Just to make sure everyone was in the festive spirit the gods had seen fit to also make sure it was bitingly cold, and Weston's Woodspring Park isn't the best of venues even in glorious sunshine.

As it was City trooped out wearing the red away colours of tenants Gloucester United as our own kit has perished in the bloated waters of the Severn. Odd how the totally-unconnected-to-City United club enjoy the support and shirt sponsorship of Severn Signs, owned by City's own vice-chairman. Odd too how the United away kit looked rather smarter than ours, but such is the rather odd twilight world of football politics in which we live at the moment.

Our brave boys were undeterred by either kit or cold though, and scored almost instantly with a goal which I have to confess I missed due to a seasonal reluctance to leave the comforting warmth of the bar. However, by all accounts it was a bit special, with Cox charging down the right straight from the kick-off. His cross was met by a stooping diving header at the far post by Gary Marshall who had been left unmarked at the far post.

City's pressure continued despite a brief counter-attack by Weston which left Ally Hines prone after he heroicly beat the onrushing forward to a nodded on cross. City saw a good opportunity end with Tucker being forced wide, but didn't have to wait overly long for our second. A long clearance from Moore evaded the midfield and saw Cox race clear from the halfway line. His pace beat the Weston cover and he kept his cool to round the keeper as he came out.

City's players and fans all seem to suffer from a crisis of confidence even when two goals to the good. The lack of belief in our ability to defend a lead made the missed opportunity for a third even more irritating. A good run from Bayliss saw the Weston defence all over the place and their keeper stranded well out of his penalty area. The half clearance fell to Johnstone who squandered the chance by pushing the ball left instead of trying the long distance lob into the unguarded net.

The fears of all were confirmed when on 22 minutes City failed to clear their lines and Griffiths gave the ball away. Pritchard played in Gloucester based forward Jody Bevan who had plenty of time to pick his spot. It seemed as if City could be pulled back to level almost straight afterwards when the hard working Gary Marshall had to race back to hack a header off the line. Weston also saw a good drive tipped over at full stretch by Hines. City had been rocked back by a regalvanised Weston but we still looked capable of more goals ourselves with Johnstone whistling a shot just wide and Cox especially causing more problems for the home side.

The second half started as if we would see some good open football to warm our frozen hands. Weston forced Hines into a good early stop while Johnstone again got forward well and drove a powerful shot straight at the keeper. However that burst of end-to-end football was misleading and the game became a scrappy affair with both midfields content to kick and chase on a rough uneven pitch. With City lacking in ambition it was Weston who made most of what little play there was and they grabbed the seemingly inevitable equaliser after 65 minutes when a corner was headed back across goal for Cooper to score.

Weston then piled on the pressure with Hines making a string of fine saves in quick succession to keep City in the contest. City looked sadly lacking in players able to stamp themselves on the match, and with Matt Rawlins off to Chippenham we had no attacking options on the bench. The match did threaten to boil over briefly, with Tommy booked for a tackle that smacked heavily of frustration. In another incident the players briefly summoned up the energy for a scuffle, but given that this was a game oddly lacking in any intensity the players could well have been just huddling together for warmth.

City did manage a late charge with several good efforts skimming past the post. A good Cox run and cross resulted in the ball spilling loose, but Johnstone couldn't dig it out from under his feet and Weston eventually managed to bundle it clear before the final whistle allowed us to scuttle back to the bar for some shelter. Given that City's problems seemed to be at least partly their midfield inertia it was especially frustrating later that afternoon to watch Jon Holloway put in a superb performance in midfield for Bath against Clevedon. If we all clubbed together perhaps we could get just the one of his legs back ? 

Hines D2-2
Griffiths Half-time
Dicks 2-1
Moore Att.
Steadman ???
Callinan  City Scorers
Tucker Marshall(1), Cox(15)
Johnstone Bookings
Bayliss  Steadman

Jenkins DLWLLD
Parnell Report
Gannaway t-towel

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