Alresford Town 2 - 4 Win City
Local derbies are always hard games to call and City's visit to neighbours Alresford Town on Saturday 27th December 2014 supported the theory. At half time the result was predicated as 4 or 5 all but experience told in the end.
The game was billed by the local press as a match between the Bentley brothers, Warren for City and Jaimie for Alresford , but it failed to pick up the point that there was more to it than that with City fielding six ex-Alresford players, Bentley. Zack Glassspool, Luke Dempsey, Stuart Green, Mike McEnery and Danilo Cadete with Alresford playing ex-City Ben Stanbrook for his debut.
City were given an early shock and found themselves one-down after only two minutes in Alresford's first attack. Tom Donaldson crossed and Dan Fox unmarked in the box picked his spot and headed past Gareth Barfoot in the City goal much to the delight of the players and home supporters.
Alresford could have gone further ahead a few minutes later when Barfoot was lucky to get his feet to a shot from Andy Turner.
City were unable to get their passing game going as the Alresford defence double marked Warren Bentley and Zack Glasspool and snuffed out City's attacks from the wings. The pitch, which needed a roll, also prompted City to use the long ball when passing along the ground did not always achieve the desired result.
The break came in the 20th minute when at last Glasspool managed to find a gap in the defence after picking up a ball from the right and completed the job with a fine individual effort which left 'keeper John Howard diving in vain. Alresford players protested the goal on the basis of offside but the Assistant Referee never flagged and the Referee had no doubt that he was on side.
The goal gave City the incentive they needed but they failed to dominate the game and just before half time they found themselves a goal behind again. Alresford were awarded a free kick just outside the box and Sam Carter curled in the perfect cross for Andy Turner to beat Barfoot with another header.
On this occasion it took city only two minutes to get back on terms. A cross into the Alresford box caused panic. Bentley brought the ball down and slammed a shot against the post which fortunately rebounded to Stuart Green who scored from close range.
After a poor first half City showed something of their form in the second when Alresford tired and they lost one of their best defenders, Sam Carter, through injury.
In their first attack of the half, Roberts put in a penetrating run and slipped the ball across the box to Bentley who slammed home the chance (47th minute).
Alresford never gave up, however, and although City were well on top at this stage, Barfoot in goal was called upon on several occasions and grew in confidence after a shaky first half. Scott Sampson, Adam Tomasso and Josh Green also found their form and the Alresford attack was not given any room.
Manager Paul Masters made a change in the 62nd minute taking off Micky Hubbard and replacing him with Chris Mason.
Just after the change Alresford appealed for a penalty when a shot from Stanbrook looked to have hit a City hand but the Referee waved away to protest.
It was Mason who wrapped up the points when Bentley lobbed the 'keeper and he nipped in to head the ball into the empty net (70th minute).
In the 75th minute Bentley was rested for the vital new year games and was replaced by Cadete and a few minutes later Roberts was replaced by Charlie Smeeton returning after injury.
In between the two changes Salmon put the ball in the Alresford net but the goal was ruled out for a foul.
City: Gareth Barfoot, Luke Dempsey, Josh Green, Stuart Green, Scott Sampson, AdamTomasso, Adam Roberts, Micky Hubbard, Zach Glasspool, Warren Bentley Geoff Dunn, Charlie Smeeton, Chris Mason, Danilo Cadete, and Mike McEnery.