It’s difficult to know where to start in describing this bizarre game, but congratulations to All Saints for reaching the cup semi final again.
City left the pitch very disappointed after a game that City controlled for 70 minutes (leading 1-0) paradoxically hinged on a sending off for All Saints.
Despite City’s inactivity in recent weeks, City started very strongly with good intensity and played some of the best passing football we’ve played for a while. A strong Yeo header (playing his first game since Nov 2nd) gave City the perfect start. However, despite a dominant spell we were unable to gain the second goal our possession merited. The bar was struck and the All Saints keeper saved at least three one-on-ones with his feet, among other chances. At the other end, Chattaway had one straightforward save and a few corners as defensively we were comfortable. 1-0 at half time was barely a reflection of the balance of play.
All Saints came out in the second half with greater intent and started winning more 50/50s tackles and had more possession, as the game evened out for a period. After about 70 minutes an All Saints player was sent off for a second bookable offence. As can often happen though, it seemed to galvanise All Saints rather than City. With their next attack the All Saints striker finished well capitalising on a deflection to slot home.
Both teams had chances to win the game, but after a free kick bounced in the City box a penalty was given for handball with 10 minutes left (our third penalty given against All Saints this season). There were few appeals for it, but the decision was made. The penalty was well taken and All Saints had something to hold on to in order to avoid extra time with 10 men. City still had chances to equalise, but it wasn’t to be, and we left Churchfields empty handed again (after conceding a 92nd minute winner in the league fixture recently!).
Overall this result is a difficult one to take in the circumstances, but we have to take it on the chin and concentrate on improving our league form as the tide will turn. There is still plenty to play for as we aim to move up the league starting with the next game v Sandwell. Our energy levels dropped in the second half, but it was a good performance (if not result). We just lacked a little sharpness in front of goal and were made to pay. All Saints fought well and took their chances. Henry played well out of position, and Maggs, Haynes and Garwood were dangerous throughout.