• Ryan Sheehan

A game of two halves in Gloucestershire

Some call it a cliché but yesterday's game is best described as a game of two halves for the Citizens. In the first forty-five minutes, we saw a disappointing display from the Citizens who had plenty of chances to put the ball in the back of the net but lacked an end product, so weren't able to truly test Gayle in goal for Brimscombe and Thrupp and went 1-0 down just before the break. Simon Johnson and Sam Woodruff's half-time team talk clearly worked it's magic as the Citizens flew out of the traps in the second half in the hope of finding an early equaliser, which came in the sixty-sixth minute, for the remainder of the game it was a hard-fought battle between the Citizens and Brimscombe and Thrupp as both strived to find the winning goal.

The game started slowly for both sides, In the opening seven minutes hosts Brimscombe & Thrupp had two shots on goal as they looked to get ahead early, but both were off target and didn't trouble Charlie York.

Our first chance to take the lead came in the tenth minute as Dan Davies got his head on the ball as it was crossed in from the right, unfortunately the header was a little too high and went over the bar rather than causing Gayle in goal for the hosts any problems.

Twelve minutes in an injury saw our hosts make their first change, Major went down holding his hamstring and was taken off and was replaced by Ollie Pitt.

Seventeen minutes in we had another chance to go ahead as we earned a free kick on the edge of the box but it was another missed oppurtunity for the Citizens as Mckoy Palmer wildly curled it over.

In the twenty-fourth minute, our hosts would have another chance to break the deadlock as Simpson headed the ball in from a corner, his shot went wide of the goal rather than causing any danger. Brimscombe & Thrupp kept the pressure up as they would go for goal again in the twenty-sixth minute as James Campbell decided to have a go from eighteen yards, however it was well held by Charlie York.

In the thirty-eighth minute, Citizens captain Ellis Cowd drilled the ball across the face of goal, Fergus Burton then slid in to try and turn it in but couldn't get anything on the ball.

With forty-three minutes on the clock, those watching on would have probably thought we'd go in level at the break but our hosts had other ideas. Campbell's long throw saw Jack Smith's initial effort blocked thanks to some resolute from the Citizens, despite their hard work at the back Smith was able to capitalise on a pinball in the box and put Brimscombe & Thrupp ahead.

The referee brought the first half to an end and The Citizens went in trailing by a goal to nil, It wasn't the best half of football, the heavy pitch at The Meadow may have been to blame, credit to the grounds team for getting the game on, we were informed on Friday they'd swept gallons of water off the playing surface but the pitch looked great yesterday.

The Citizens would have gone in at the break rueing their missed opportunities which had they turned out differently would have given us a comfortable lead.

On to the second half now and whatever First Team Manager Simon Johnson, Assistant Manager Sam Woodruff and First Team Coach Ghaffar Ghoddusi said in the City dressing room at half time it definitely paid off as the Citizens flew out of the traps as soon as the referee got us underway again at The Meadow.

Fifty-five minutes in Mckoy Palmer would have the first shot on goal in the second half, having brought the ball down very well on the left-hand corner of the box, he then went for goal with the shot going over the bar.

Simon Johnson then named his first substitution with fifty-four minutes on the clock as he looked to change our attacking options with Fergus Burton making way for Lorenzo Medford.

In the fifty-ninth minute, our hosts tried to double their lead after a corner was headed out to James Campbell who again decided to have a go from eighteen yards with a volley, however just like his first-half effort it went wide.

With sixty-one minutes played, Michael Butcher would become the first & only booking of the game as he was shown yellow for a foul on Johan Flo on the halfway line, much to the annoyance of the City bench who argued it was not a bookable offence.

Our big moment would come in the sixty-sixth minute as we found an equaliser after Lorenzo Medford delivered a great ball from the right-wing, it was then laid on a plate for Mckoy Palmer to slot home.

With seventy minutes gone Simon Johnson made another change to his attacking options with Bevan Van Wyk coming on in place of Matt Stockill.

Our hosts had another chance to go ahead in the seventy-sixth minute as they were rewarded a free-kick, which they quickly played to James Campbell who then cuts inside the box to try and score, third time lucky perhaps? Having cut inside the box he fired the ball over the goal and away from danger. Brimscombe & Thrupp then kept the pressure on as they went for goal again in the seventy-eighth minute forcing Charlie York to make an amazing save after the ball was played to Ollie Pitt on the right-hand side, his ball in is was met by Johan Flo but York threw himself to the right and saved it, keeping us in the game.

With seventy-nine minutes played Simon Johnson made his final change and introduced a fresh pair of legs as goalscorer Mckoy Palmer came off having worked hard all game in place of Sam Bell. In the eighty-fourth minute, our hosts swapped goalscorer Jack Smith for Karl Nash as they also looked to freshen their side up as we both looked for the winner.

With ninety minutes played and the scores still level at 1-1, the referee informed the City bench that there were three minutes of added-on time to be played.

The Citizens had hoped they could find the winner but with a minute of added time left on the clock it was our defence that was called into action as Brimscombe & Thrupp had one more go at goal, the citizens, however they were determined to see this out to the end and as Karl Nash sent the ball goalwards after Charlie York came out to try and win the ball, it was a resolute city defence that pushed it out for a corner, the corner was also cleared away as the Citizens showed the heart and desire they had been missing in recent weeks, a huge improvement to the performance we saw in last week's defeat to Virginia Water.

The referee brought proceedings to an end at The Meadow, and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief, the final whistle being confirmation that we'd earned a hard-fought point as it finished up all square, but it could have gone either way.

The disappointing display we saw in the first half was a distant memory, as the second-half display was the City we all know and love as they battled hard and played with real grit and determination.

We remain unbeaten in Gloucestershire having won against Longlevens, Drew against Tuffley Rovers and Drew against Brimscombe and Thrupp.

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