Into September, Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. (Q. Who wrote that?*). Well here at Clarence Park it's a fine late Summer day, with blue sky and sunshine. Today we host Chesham United now managed by one of City's former managers, Bob Dowie who left in January 1999 and on their books are former City players Wayne Andrews and David Pratt. As I recall, none of those exchange Christmas cards with City Chairman, Lee Harding. That's in the past. On the pitch Chesham are never to be under-estimated.
For today, The Dynamic Duo selected Wilmot in goal; 3 at the back, Goddard (C), Moran and Campbell; 5 in the midfield, Wraight, Fenton, Evans, Rattle and Smith; and up front Martin and Nabil. On the bench were Honeyball, Linighan and, on a month's loan from Chelmsford, left-sided midfielder, Freddie Hyatt. In the stand were Ansell and Metcalf (both injured), Brown (suspended), and Ferguson.
A positive, competitive start by both sides. After 5 minutes, Martin gathered the ball just outside the area, took it in and despite being well tackled by Pratt on th six-yard line, regained possesssion and squeezed the ball past Preddy in the Chesham goal. 1-0. Both sides were playing good quality football and the Chesham strikers, Andrews and Fewings were showing their class but were well policed by the City back 3. The turning point of the game came after 20 minutes when the visitors' No 4, Gorman, was red- carded after a hand-bag incident with Fenton. Saints slowly took control against 10 men and on the half hour, a fine flowing move across the midfield and a cross from Smith on the left was well struck by Rattle inside the Keeper's near
post. H.T. 2-0.
To their credit Chesham started the second half positively and pressed for the first 10 minutes but their final ball was unable to find their strikers. A couple of long shots were comfortably gathered by Wilmot. Saints regained the momentum and on 75 minutes added a third when a Campbell pass from defence, crisp interplay between Smith amd Rattle and a pin-point cross was swept in by Nabil. A fine goal. 3-0. To his evident displeasure Smith was replaced by Hyatt and a few minutes later, Linighan and Honeyball came on for Moran and Fenton. A few minutes from time, Chesham were awarded a penalty for
handball which Andrews converted. F.T. 3-1.
This was good football today. The back 3 played very well. City found space and used it. Evans did well, Martin lost his man in front of goal and had chances to add to his early debut strike. Fenton had a good game and was awarded the Safeway MotM, although for me it was probably Nabil. Chesham will be disappointed. They play quality football but the absense of the suspended experienced defenders, Statham and Kersey, was crucial, and the 10 men couldn't cope with City today. Nevertheless, I predict a top 10 finish. The attendance was around 400 despite the competition of Mr and Mrs Brewer's
Entertainment 8/10. Atmosphere 6/10. Technical Merit 8/10. Referee 6/10.
I see from his programme notes that Gary Roberts forecast England to draw 1-1 with Germany. Don't bother with the web-site Prediction League Gary. Me and Alan Hansen called it right.
Next up. Away at newly promoted Borehamwood on Tuesday evening. Woood. A local derby and home town of Our Webbo. Now managed (Woood that is, not Webbo) by former City player ( 3 games in 1992) Jimmy Gilligan, until recently David Platt's assistant at Nottingham Forest. A stiff test. Next
Saturday, we are away from home again at Sutton United, and then at home on Tuesday, September 11th against Basingstoke Town, k.o. 7.30.
*A: John Keats. It's the opening line of the poem "To Autumn". (That's enough culture. Stick to football questions in future - Ed)
Report by Homer