CITY FORCED TO SETTLE FOR A SHARE OF THE SPOILS
Home draw as ten-man City fail to capitalise upon chances...
CITY had to settle for a share of the spoils from our home clash with South Normanton Athletic as we were reduced to ten men late in the first half.
We made a purposeful start and could have taken the lead within the opening three minutes when Alex Tomkinson did well to create an opportunity for Lee Hughes who put his effort wide.
As we continued to keep the pressure on, Hughes was brought down inside the penalty area in the next raid but the referee waved away the appeals.
The goal that we had been threatening finally arrived when Josh Sarmento linked up with Hughes on the right and his cross was perfect for Tomkinson who made no mistake at the far post.
It was all City in the opening exchanges and a positive break from skipper, Brad Birch, almost ended with him playing through Hughes but the visitors’ back-line managed to intercept the danger.
Then a low strike from Sarmento was deflected just wide before some good link-up play between the busy Hughes and Dave Reynolds ended with the latter seeing his attempt well saved.
There was a good flow to our play and on the half-hour Tomkinson was denied by the ‘keeper after another sweeping move.
Hughes went close to doubling our advantage as he latched on to Tomkinson’s probing pass, but the visitors issued a warning as the interval approached but on this occasion Griffiths was alert to the danger to perform his defensive duties well.
Right on the stroke of half-time City were reduced to ten-men when Wayne Thomas, who returned to the club on the eve of the game, was showed a straight red card for raising his arm towards an opponent.
It was a disappointing end to what had been a generally positive half for City.
We started the second period in much the same vein as the first half as Sarmento was unlucky with an effort that went just wide.
Then Hughes almost set Reynolds clear but the ball just got away from the front-man.
Next to try his luck was Birch whose strike was blocked before heading wide shortly afterwards.
The longer it went on with us only holding a single-goal advantage, the more confidence our visitors gained and they started to impose themselves on proceedings as the half went on.
They were forcing City further back as they looked to make their extra man advantage count, but we were restricting them to only half-chances.
There was a good opening for Reynolds whose hesitation cost him as the visitors were able to block.
The visitors went close from a free-kick with just under quarter-of-an-hour to go as City had their hearts in their mouths and then we had Griffiths to thank for another timely intervention to halt our visitors in their tracks as they sensed a leveller.
With Sarmento dragging another effort wide on what was a frustrating day for the little box of tricks, we were hit by a sucker-punch in the 80th minute when South Normanton were able to grab an equaliser.
It was a goal that they had threatened and it meant that we had to really push on in search of a winner despite having a man less.
Despite our efforts, we just could not find a way through and had to settle for a point from a 1-1 draw.
CITY: Palmer, Albert, Griffiths, M. Smith, Thomas, Hayward, Sarmento (Mole 88), Birch (Baldwin 85), Hughes, Reynolds, Tomkinson (J. Smith 77). Subs not used: Gwynne, Fishwick.