Vanarama Conference South
Saturday 25 April 2015 - Wheatsheaf Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Mellor, Bowman, Diallo (Watkins 60), Simpson, Walsh, Ball (c), Allen, Artus (Adelsbury HT), Pratt, McCootie (Stearn 84), Kington. subs not used: Rollo, Gallinagh.
|man of the match:
||C Brook, D Smart, J Packman
|league position: 14th
||next match: Next Season
Report taken from
The opening 15 fifteen minutes of this game gave the impression that for both sides a vital promotion place was at stake; the last 15 that relegation would have been a blessing, such was the number of passes and opportunities that went astray.
City could have opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute when a free-kick from Frankie Artus found the head of Phil Walsh at the far post, but his header down was easily pushed round the post by Jack Turner.
The visitors then had a further opportunity just two minutes later. Again it came from a free-kick, which Staines failed to clear, only this time for McCootie's goal-bound shot to be cleared off the line by Tommy Brewer.
However, the tide then turned with an unexpected goal for Staines. There looked to be little threat when forward Elliot Buchanan picked up the ball on the right. He skipped over Phil Walsh's outstretched leg, but still looked to be heading across the pitch with his most likely move a pass out to the right flank. Instead, he turned and shot from 30 yards with the ball sailing over City keeper Jason Mellor's head and into the goal.
For already relegated Staines, who had lost eight in a row at home before this match, it was cause for jubilant celebrations. Ironically, Buchanan then missed a much simpler opportunity just a few minutes later. A ball in from the left found him six yards from goal, only for him to put his shot wide.
Staines, filled with confidence, still pressed. From another cross into the box Mellor was only able to weakly punch the ball away. Instantly, the ball came back in and Buchanan, after three attempts to get the ball through a tangle of players, eventually ended up with a shot which, fortunately for City, Sekani Simpson cleared off the goal line.
From then on, neither side was able to gain much ascendency in the game on a hard and bouncy surface. Ashley Kington had a shot from 25 yards that went wide on the half-hour mark and, seven minutes later, Dan Ball made a fine tackle as Ashley Lodge raced clear on goal from virtually within his own half.
For City, the decisive moment then came four minutes before the interval. The ever-enthusiastic Dave Pratt picked up the ball on the right, stepped past two defenders before putting in a pass to Kington. Despite scuffing his shot somewhat, the ball skidded over the surface, under the body of Turner and City were level.
If the first half had goals, some excitement and interest, the second half deteriorated into a game more in common with a park kickabout.
Six minutes into the second half, Dan Bowman found himself in space on the City right. After checking back onto his left foot, he delivered a cross in towards the penalty spot, which Pratt only narrowly headed wide.
City created the next decent chance too. Adelsbury found McCootie on the edge of the area, who darted around a couple of desperate lunges and, despite looking likely to shoot, rolled the ball back to Adelsbury who drove his shot straight at Turner from the edge of the box.
Staines' chances were coming as a result of City's inability to keep hold of the ball. Ashley Lodge burst through a parting City defence in the 64th minute, but failed to make the most of the opportunity and between Ball and Bowman, City cleared.
A couple of minutes later, Staines created the best opening for either side in the second half. Jeremy Boakye fed the ball into Max Worsfold on the left edge of the penalty area. His dangerous, low cross caught Prince M'Bengui a little off balance and he could not divert his half volley into the net from six yards.
As the game started to fade, more errors crept in to both sides' play. M'Bengue was involved again as an errant Phil Walsh pass – not the first of the afternoon – found the striker 30 yards from goal. He tried to feed the ball into the path of substitute Nathaniel Mensah, but the 18-year-old failed to connect to the through-ball despite being only a yard away from it.
As the match petered out, Staines appeared happy to claim their first home draw of the season. But there was still time for City to put the ball in the net. A lovely Chris Allen pass found Andy Watkins in space on the right. Watkins drove into the area and curled a nice looking cross into the six-yard box. Pratt made no mistake, tucking the ball home, but was ultimately denied by the linesman's offside flag. There was little doubt about the decision.
City piled forward looking for a winner and Ashley Kington stung Turner's palms with a 25-yard drive in stoppage time, but it was no more than one of the few scraps in a forgettable 45 minutes of football. It was, in many ways, given their FA Trophy run, a disappointing end to an otherwise entertaining season.