Back to The Park for the visit of Gravesend & Northfleet. 2nd in the table, 6
points behind leaders Canvey, but with 3 games in hand. One of these two will
surely be playing Conference football next term. The 'Fleet impressed me when
we lost 2-3 at Stonebridge Road in September.
The Saints are looking for their first win under new Chairman John Gibson and
they don't come much tougher than this. For today, The Dynamic Duo selected
Wilmot in goal, 4 at the back: Honeyball, Moran, Smith and Cook; 4 in the
middle: Wraight, Armstrong, Evans and Kean; and up front: Martin and Nutter.
On the bench were Ansell, Mackail-Smith and Bignal.
A scoreless first half. City looked safe at the back limiting the visitors'
goal scoring opportunities. Going forward, Wraight showed his class, a
welcome return to the club from a loan spell at Bishops Stortford and
Armstrong and Nutter are improving each game. Several long range shots missed
the target by inches but the veteran Gravesend keeper was not called upon to
make a 'fine' save. ( Remember the '99 Christmas card? That was Blake in the
Carshalton colours.) H.T. 0-0.
The visitors stepped up a gear in the second half and early on, Wilmot made a
stunning save when a long shot was deflected wickedly by Smith. City were
playing well with Nutter finding space on the left. Bignal replaced the
injured Martin. In attack, the final ball into the box could not beat the
well organised visitors' defence. On 70 minutes, Fleet opened the scoring
when one of their strikers was allowed too much time on the ball 8 yards out
and gave Wilmot no chance with a crisp volley. 0-1. Minutes later it was 2
when a cross from the left was mis-hit to wrong-footed the diving keeper.
0-2. Ansell came on for Cook. To rub saly in the wounded Saints, Wilmot, who
had a fine game today was beaten by a wicked deflection in the 4th minute of
injury time. 0-3. Smith was injured with moments to go and was replaced by
Mackail-Smith, but it was all over. F.T. 0-3.
Gravesend will be delighted with 3 points, of course, but they will know that
they were flattered by the scoreline in a scappy game.. An ordinary
performance, but they took their chances well. City fans will be disappointed
and will be desperate to see the current losing streak broken soon. The
Safeway MotM was Smith, a good choice although Wilmot had another good game,
too. Armstrong, Nutter, Evans and Cook will be pleased with their
performances. Looking at my notes, no-one had a bad game. We didn't create
enough chances and didn't take the ones we had. They did.
Entertainment 7/10. Atmosphere 7/10. Technical Merit 6/10. Referee 5/10.
Next up. At home on Tuesday against Billericay. Memories of the goal of the
season (so far) by Rob Smith when we won 5-1 at their place in December. Next
Saturday, we play Enfield F.C. at Borehamwoood. I see that the Supporters
Club have organised a sponsored walk to the game leaving Clarence Park at
11.30. Good luck to them.
Report by Homer