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1st Team - Match centre

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Canterbury City
K Sports
Wed 17 Oct 19:45 - Southern Counties East Football League - Premier Division Full time Attendance 74

Sloppy Goals and Linesman's Flag Conspire City to Defeat at Home to K Sports

Back to back league defeats for City as they fall to K Sports at home

Canterbury City 1 K Sports 3

A disappointing night for City as they suffered back-to-back league defeats by way of this loss at home to K Sports. It wasn't a great performance and there were some self-imposed contributing factors towards the defeat - City couldn't take their chances in the first-half, conceded right on the break and then gave two sloppy goals away before a contentious offside decision robbed them of a likely way back into the match.

It was a fast paced game with neither side allowed any time on the ball and consequently there were quite a few misplaced passes and errors aplenty from both teams. Having said that the order of the day seemed to be get the ball forward at every opportunity so chances at both ends were being created. Sports had the first two strikes on goal as Alex Arif saw his shot from a tight angle beaten out by City keeper Jack Delo while James Alderman shot wide. City responded as Josh Froggatt's firmly struck shot lacked the curl it needed and flew wide of the far post while Dave Pilcher's effort was blocked away by visiting keeper Matthew Funnell.

It was a hectic opening period and Delo was again called upon, firstly beating away another shot from point blank range and then more comfortably getting right behind a shot from distance as Sports continued to threaten the City goal. The hosts had their moments too though as Danny Williams fired wide and James Turner glanced a header from a Pilcher free-kick also wide of the target.

The game was swinging from one end to the other and Turner did well to get through but having seen his first shot blocked, he then spurned the rebound shooting wide. Adam Woollcott went narrowly over for City but Sports responded in kind when Grant Mcilheron turned neatly in the City box before firing over also.

Another chance came and went for City as Froggatt's run and cross was defended back out to James Nurden whose effort was charged down but the ball came back out to Woollcott but his snap shot flew over the bar. Sports went close at the other end when a shot whistled past the City post with Delo scrambling across his goal before Froggatt weaved his way through the Sports defence but could only shoot straight at Funnell.

City continued to press forward and it seemed only a matter of time before they would be rewarded as the chances count began to pile up. Liam Quinn glided through from defence with the ball and as Sports seemed to open up in front of him he found Turner whose cross fell to Pilcher, but alas, another shot was blocked by Funnell and as the ball popped up, Quinn following in at pace could only direct it over the bar.

All City's pressing counted for nothing though as right on the stroke of half-time, Sports took the lead. A loose ball in midfield was picked up by Arif and without hesitation and from about twenty-five yards he he hit a great strike and arrowed the ball home and low just inside the post and beyond Delo's dive for 0-1.

There was barely time to restart before the whistle blew but hopes were high that given all the chances City were creating, they were still very much in the game.

They started the second-half on a mission and were soon powering forward in droves in search of the equaliser. Pilcher saw his shot charged down and then struck a free-kick goal bound which was safely gathered by Funnell, while Williams pulled the ball down well before turning and seeing his shot blocked out for a fruitless corner. A City free-kick down by the corner flag came to nothing either and then a further corner found Laurence Harvey, but under pressure and stretching he could only head wide.

Around the hour mark an opportunity at each end was then one of two turning points that probably forged the outcome of the match. A ball over the top of the Sports defence saw Turner find space and with Funnell sprinting out and completely in no-man's land, the City striker could only lob the keeper but unfortunately, the ball then rolled the wrong side of the post from City's point of view. Almost immediately at the other end, a hurried clearance from Delo smashed against Alderman as he closed the keeper down and as the ball sprang loose, the striker chased it down and slotted it home past Delo as he desperately, but in vain, tried to make up his ground for 0-2.

That error was mercilessly compounded two minutes later when City needlessly gave away the ball in their own half and James Shield pounced, strode forward and his pinpoint low cross was crashed home by Alderman from close range for 0-3 and two terrible goals to concede in two minutes had completely caught City cold.

Something was needed quickly and a change in formation and the introduction of Dan Keyte for the unlucky Nurden was soon followed by a City goal. A corner from the right was sent over and headed back in the same direction by Harvey where Pilcher picked it back up, moved inside and scythed a low shot through Funnell beating him at his near post for 1-3.

Wave after wave of City attacks followed. A series of corners failed to bring the reward they could and should have done and Sports were looking a little rattled, on their heels and being forced back. Rob Lawrence and Tom Barton were sent into the fray and on seventy-four minutes came the second turning point of the game when City seemingly had a legitimate goal controversially ruled out for offside. The player flagged had come from a long way back behind several players when the ball was launched forward and it was inconceivable he could have been offside but as the play continued and City forced the ball home, they turned to see Sports appealing probably more in hope than expectation and the flag raised. Hardly anyone could believe it - not even the referee as he felt the need to go over and discuss the decision with his linesman - how often do you see an offside decision being discussed at such length - but it was and the goal was disallowed.

It was very hard on City and at that point, if the game had gone to 2-3, there is every likelihood and probability with the way the play was going that City would have forced at least a draw as the visitors were already creaking and swaying under the pressure. However instead of that, Sports had been handed a lifeline and they ultimately made the most of it, managing the game out for the rest of the time that remained as City tried to throw everything at them.

Despite going to three at the back and swamping the attack at every opportunity, City were unable to fashion another clear cut chance until deep into stoppage time when a deep ball in just eluded Harvey and Barton for a simple nod home.

The game ended with the ball bogged down by the corner flag for several minutes at the wrong end of the pitch for City, but with all the missed chances especially in the first half and two goals given away, they probably only had themselves to blame for the defeat irrespective of the disallowed goal and must now look to bounce back quickly against Lydd Town on Saturday.

Final score: Canterbury City 1 K Sports 3

City: Jack Delo, Michael Turner, James Nurden (Dan Keyte), Laurence Harvey, Liam Quinn, Adam Woollcott, Kane Phillip, Dave Pilcher, Danny Williams, James Turner {Tom Barton), Josh Frogatt (Rob Lawrence)
Unused Subs: Josh McCallum, Ollie Lee

Train with the Best - Win a training session with the England 6-a-side squad

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Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
12. Glebe 18 24
13. K Sports 18 24
14. Canterbury City 15 22
15. Erith Town 14 20
16. Tunbridge Wells 16 16
17. Punjab United 17 12
18. Hollands & Blair 17 11

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