Well, it wasn’t a defeat. Onwards and upwards, but sadly Paul Tisdale’s City side continue on what is now, thanks (or not) to Earl Barrett and Sean Dyche, a 3-match road trip on Saturday to face what could definitely be called a “bogey side”. Alan Gow made a welcome return to action during the second half at Dagenham, and mercifully was only kicked about six times, so could hopefully come into contention for a start at Cheltenham. Jamie Cureton almost literally ran himself into the ground on Tuesday night, but such is his hunger for the game even at his age that you can bet he wouldn’t take kindly to being rested!
With one defeat in their last seven league games, Cheltenham have started to emerge as the promotion hopefuls their pre-season odds predicted, and they currently sit fourth in the table after their come-from-behind win against that lot down the A38 on Tuesday night. Manager Mark Yates has assembled a squad largely based around some of the better players from his experience in non-league, such as Kaid Mohammed, Chris Zebroski and Shaun Harrad. Expecting to line up against his former employers will be Billy Jones, the left back having had a hand (or rather a wand of a left foot) in both goals on Tuesday. Yates is no stranger to controversy as far as City are concerned – after his Kidderminster side had attempted (unsuccessfully) to kick City off the park in 06/07, he joined in after the final whistle by headbutting Lee Elam. Let’s hope that he has to taste defeat on Saturday and does so with a bit more grace!
If there is one thing Paul Tisdale became known for, especially early in his reign as City boss, it is as a “curse breaker” – winning at Cambridge, winning on TV, etc. Well, after City won at Aldershot earlier in the season, it’s time to break another curse, for City’s head-to-head record against Cheltenham is: Played 6, lost 6. Eek. The last time the sides met was in the 01/02 season, with the Gloucestershire side winning 2-0 at The Park (now manager Yates and Tony Naylor) and 3-1 at Whaddon Road (Julian “Bananaman” Alsop with a brace and Naylor again, Christian Roberts with a late consolation).
Remember that the match is all-ticket, so if you want to witness City attempt to make history of sorts, you need to get your ticket in advance.
Our guide to roads, trains, pubs and the ground is here.
Mark Pottage and Paul Rees
Fourth Official Marvyn Amphlett
Saw him in the 0-0 at home to Scunthorpe last December.