A Bank Holiday crowd of over 1000 witnessed City record their fourth successive Blue Square South victory, and keep a fourth clean sheet in the process, with a single-goal triumph over Weston Super Mare. It was after a typical derby meeting that, after an entertaining opening 20 minutes, descended into a largely forgettable contest. Unlike Saturday’s 1-0 win at Maidenhead United there was little in the way of late scares for City and the goal scored by Scott Rogers five minutes before the interval always looked likely to settle the game. City were forced into one change from the Maidenhead match, Phil Walsh making his first start of the season in place of toe injury victim Dave Gilroy. And it was Walsh who played a major part in the result, as his non-stop running and effort became more and more important as the game wore on, with City understandably tiring in the hot conditions after Saturday’s tough game.
The game began with City creating a great opening. In the 2nd minute Adie Harris rode a couple of challenges to cross for Darren Edwards but he could only stab the ball straight at keeper Northmore from seven yards out. Edwards saw another half chance come and go before from Weston’s first attack Matt Coupe reacted smartly to deny Hopkins. On 15 minutes the game took a slightly surreal turn as the Weston bench insisted that City’s black and WHITE shirts were too similar to the referees’ kit, forcing Mr Snartt to don a bright orange bib. This seemed to make the official even more determined to be the centre of attention and his over fussy approach contributed to the game quickly going downhill. Former Seagull Mark McKeever fired a 19th minute half-volley over the bar and Walsh couldn’t get a header on target from a free-kick. Between these chances a neat Weston build-up ended with McGregor failing to test Paul Evans. There was little in the way of goalmouth action after this until the 40th minute when from nowhere City took the lead. A quickly taken free-kick by McKeever down the left allowed Rogers to burst into the box and his angled drive found the net despite the presence of several Weston players.
The second half began with Chris Holland heading a trademark McKeever corner just wide but the Seagulls were beginning to get on top without ever looking likely to equalise. Loxton shot wide just before the hour mark and Wilson’s optimistic 40-yard effort was comfortably collected by Evans. A rare attack from City then ended with a Hogg volley forcing a smart stop out of Northmore. With fifteen minutes left McKeever was forced from the action with a foot injury, Paul Keedle replacing him, but with City now content to defend their lead the action was largely being played in their half. Fortunately the efforts of Walsh meant that City did have an outlet and the pressure never really built to excessive levels. Wilson lifted another shot high over the bar and the visitor’s frustration was summed up by striker’s Holgate’s petulant reaction to being substituted near the end. There was only one minor scare in the closing minutes when McGregor went down in the area but Weston’s half-hearted penalty appeals were waved away by the Tango’d official.
City’s dream start to the season continues, although this was probably their least convincing performance and quite similar to a number of local derby clashes in recent seasons – with City’s success based on the ability to get a goal ahead and rely on their impressive defence to hold on to that lead. Their case was clearly not helped by the draining encounter at Maidenhead two days before – while they were hanging desperately onto their lead, Weston were running out easy 3-0 winners over Sutton United – and it was an increasingly tired looking performance. The only exception to this was Phil Walsh who, having only played a cameo role at Maidenhead, looked fresh ad it was his tireless efforts that were so vital in the result. Elsewhere Lewes 5-0 win at Bognor Regis Town meant City slipped down to 2nd place on goal difference but that will have done nothing to dampen the joy felt over the superb start to the season.