The forecast was rain, but we didn't expect the biblical downpour that we got. FC Stratford inspected the 3G pitch early on and were very complimentary, but as the game went on, even this newly laid surface was struggling to drain the water quickly enough. It was that kind of day.
The game started with the visitors looking to impose their game on the City lads. And that they did. They moved the ball well even on the sticky water-logged surface and created some real goal scoring opportunities. One particular chance saw the visitor's striker break free of our defenders and then with a 1 on 1 with our keeper Ben Clay it looked almost certainly a goal. Ben managed to dive spectacularly to keep it out. But the pressure was all one way. We had the occasional break which illustrated our pace in the forward areas but we didn't look too threatening. It wasn't too much of a surprise when the visitors put the ball across our box and neatly tucked it away to make it 0-1. And as the heavens opened once more, Stratford took the ball through our defence again but with some great technical skill, their striker wove through the box and seeing Ben coming out lobbed him, the ball falling neatly into the net. 0-2. That's how the first half finished.
The second half saw City pick up the momentum. We pressed higher and seemed to be giving them a number of problems to solve. We kept possession for greater periods and moved the ball in our normal fashion. Opportunities open up for us, illustrated by Owen Oxley powering a ball across the visitors box just to see it go wide. However it wasn't long before Owen again took charge and pounced on a ball in the box to drive it in for our first goal. 1-2. Now it looked like City would chase that equaliser. Stratford defence was strong but City were finding ways through it. Then the worse thing that can happen on a football pitch occurred: a player was seriously injured. A FC Stratford player was stretchered off the ground and taken to hospital. Our very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery go to Luke. The game continued and played out for a 1-2 defeat for City.
Our first defeat of the season, against a good Stratford team, we go again next Saturday against DSC United.