City suffer defeat to cap woeful run
DESPITE taking the lead here courtesy of a fabulous Richard Sinden strike, Canterbury ended their Kent League campaign with another defeat.
On a positive note, included in the City squad were three members of the club's young reserves side with Tom Bishop and Sam Staunton both starting and Sam Watson coming off the bench.
The performance of all three bodes well for the new season as City prepare to regroup under new manager Simon Austin. He was a spectator for this game, the team caretaker managed by Michael Smissen, who included himself on the bench and passed the captain's armband to Jake Gess.
A wet, slippery pitch and constant rain made close control and flowing football difficult, and taking that into account this was a decent game played in good spirit.
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It all started so well for Canterbury as they took the lead after 14 minutes with a late contender for goal of the season from Richard Sinden. Picking up a loose ball 40 yards out, he looked up and, seeing Wells keeper Dean Nash off his line, beat him with a long range lob.
The home side reacted by attacking, often on the counter. They hit a post and then brought out a great save from Canterbury keeper Giga Zulmalashvili.
The pressure from the home side eventually brought its reward when they levelled, turning the defence of a corner in rapid attack that ended with Jack Harris setting up Ryan Rook.
In a frantic end to the first half Sinden went close with another long range effort and saw another shoot blocked while John Pilbeam hit the City crossbar.
But just four minutes before the break the home side took the lead, Tony Davey getting the final touch to an in-swinging corner.
The second half began with James Gregory heading a corner over for City and Wells responding when a long through ball was latched onto by Andy McMath, his effort turned around a post by Giga.
The lively Bishop almost sneaked Sinden through but the forward couldn't quite gather the ball in his stride and the moment was lost, while at the other end McMath tested Giga once more.
The home side snatched a third goal on 70 minutes when, despite the best effort of James Gregory to block, Andy Irvine slotted past Giga.
In reply Bishop fired a fierce shot over for City and Scott Punton fired a foot wide.
Canterbury thought they had pulled a goal back as Sinden nodded the ball home but it was ruled out, Bagley adjudged to have headed the ball out of the keeper's hands in the immediate build up.
With eight minutes to go Pilbeam glanced a header wide before, with a minute of normal time remaining, the visitors thought they had been awarded a penalty. Alas after consulting one of his linesmen the referee changed his mind, instead awarding the home side a free kick.
Canterbury City: Zulmalashvili, Gess, Miller, Baker (Bagley), Scott, Bishop (Watson), Murray, Gregory, Sinden, Tanner (Punton), Staunton. Substitute: Smissen.
ALTHOUGH they ended the campaign with a string of defeats, Canterbury will be reasonably happy to finish their first season back in the Kent League in ninth place.
Their home average attendance of 111 was the third highest in the division behind Herne Bay (228) and Tunbridge Wells (146).