Sandbach v City


It was a much-changed City side from the first leg of this semi-final, as only Marc Gallimore , Marc Shiel and Jamie Heath were starting both games. There was a full debut for Thomas Fagan, and Tyran Taylor returned after a three-month absence. Sandbach were without their leading scorer James Kirby, but they had the luxury of a two-goal advantage from the first leg.

City were bright from the kick-off and forced a 3rd-minute corner which was easily cleared. The visitors should really have been ahead in the 7th minute as a clearance broke to Simpson 12 yards out but his weakly-struck shot was saved by Green. City were then lucky at the other end as Townsley was too slow from his goal-line and was beaten by Rowntree, but the City keeper was helped out by Taylor who cleared from the goal-line. City put together a nice passing move down the left in the 11th minute, but Green was able to claim the cross.

It was notable from the very early stages that balls were slow to come back into play and the referee spent a good few early minutes tapping his watch to try to speed events up. The home side’s Cain tested Townsley with a shot from 18 yards and, in the 15th minute, the same player was foiled by Townsley again. A soft-looking free-kick in the 20th minute to the home side was fired well over and then a fine Cain cross was headed wide at the back post.

City won a free-kick in a promising position after 28 minutes but Simpson’s delivery was a little too strong and cleared all the heads in the box. However, seconds later, City took the lead as Shiel was on hand to head in from very close range, and reduce the aggregate score to 3-4. The next corner to Sandbach was headed wide by Stockton and, after 35 minutes, Townsley continued his defiance of Cain with a diving save from his 20-yard shot.

Simpson fired well wide after 37 minutes before Stockton saw his header saved by Townsley.


City knew they had to keep a clean sheet for as long as possible to increase home nerves but sadly they were unable to do so for very long. In the 50th minute, Townsley again saved well but his parry of a close-range shot was bundled in by Rowntree.

City then immediately made a change as Hickey replaced Fagan. The referee took a tumble in midfield and barely had time to dust himself down before awarding a 57th-minute penalty to Sandbach, which looked harsh as defender and attacker were shoulder to shoulder in the box and any contact seemed minimal. It was even more frustrating for City that Townsley saved the spot-kick but watched helplessly as Lane was first to the rebound to put his side 2-1 ahead.

It was now clearly mission impossible for City and the game rather petered out. A home corner fell to Cain who fired wide and another home chance was just wide on the hour. A rush of home pressure continued and the City goal was again threatened in the 61st minute. City made their second change as Slack replaced Heath.
Gallimore did well to clear from close to his goal-line as the home side threatened to run rampant, but the home side did add their third after 82 minutes as Stockton fired in a shot after a corner fell to him just outside the area. City’s second-half fade-outs have been all too common in this second half of the season, and sadly this happened again as Hart added a fourth on 84 minutes, for his first goal of the season.

The scoring was complete in injury time as Townsley was unlucky to concede again when a fine display was spoiled by an error allowing Allcock to score the home side’s fifth.

So, Sandbach progress to the final against Avro which should be a fine game, and a lovely touch from the Sandbach official at the end who boarded the team coach to give a fine thank-you speech to the City contingent.

CITY- Townsley, Gallimore, Heath, Taylor, Allison, Addison, Shiel, Simpson, Armstrong, McCartney, Fagan SUBS- Douglas, Graham, Hickey, C. Slack

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