30 April 2012

City Alerts: Lee's view on City v Dartford

LEE'S VIEW on City  1  Dartford   1

"I thought Dartford were a really good team - better than champions Woking, in fact - and so we did very well to take a point off them.  The fact that we also beat them away earlier in the season once again underlines our potential, for all the difficulties we've had this season.  I don't think we deserved to win on Saturday, but the way the game was going it began to look as if we could sneak the points.

"To concede the equaliser right at the death just about summed up our season!  We've had no problem creating chances and scoring, but we've shipped far too many goals - nearly two a game and the second highest in the league after Thurrock.  If you take away 20 of those goals, there would have been a lot more points to be had.  So we must work on that in the close season and maybe bring in one or two players defensively.  Defenders taking responsibility and marking their men has been our downfall.

"On Saturday, we battled hard and dug in deep.  Maybe I should have done things differently in the closing minutes - keep the ball in the corner instead of sending over crosses - but the pressure was off and there was nothing to play for except pride.  I can't thank the boys enough for all they've done this season, along with all the staff from the top down and all the fans who have been absolutely fantastic.  This is a very special group of people.  Everyone has worked fantastically hard."

Mike Truscott.

Truro City column from Sunday Independent, by Mike Truscott

On a personal note, this is the FINAL "SCHEDULED" City Alert for the 2011-12 season, and my regular Sunday Independent column also now takes a break until August.  To say the season has been memorable is a bit of an understatement.  To have been involved in chronicling all the various events that have defined the last eight months for the club - culminating in "mission accomplished," against considerable odds - has actually felt like quite a privilege. 

I'm sure many of you would agree that, in its own way, this past season must rank as right up there with the very best of them in terms of achievement.  I particularly liked Mark's choice of the word "warriors" to describe the boys in Saturday's programme notes. 

And I take my hat off to Lee, who must have been tearing his hair out at times but who, as well as achieving the near impossible on the field, has been unfailingly courteous and helpful with myself and all the media throughout the season.&n bsp; Certainly I have enjoyed our regular chats (at least twice-weekly).  The insights Lee has given me, both from his present viewpoint and from his long experience as a professional footballer, have been truly fascinating.  The club has indeed been immensely fortunate to have had such a guy at the helm at such a difficult time. 

I also take my hat off to Kevin Heaney, who has, it seems, pulled any number of rabbits out of the hat since last August.  I have little doubt that a) the past season has been a headache of scarcely imaginable proportions for him, and that b) by no means the whole "story" behind the club's battle for survival of late has emerged into the public domain - it's easy enough to hurl flack, but not always so wise to respond by way of public comment.  Whatever your personal thoughts, let's not forget that Kevin is the guy who has made possible the very high standard of football to which we have all become so accustomed, but which just a few short years ago would have been regarded as a mad dream. 

Finally, a big thank-you to those of you who have been kind enough to send me encouraging messages about the City Alerts service, and for the lively bits of "chat" I've had with some subscribers, locally and from the other side of the earth.  Like my Sunday Independent column, and also for reasons totally unconnected with the club, I came dangerously close to winding up the City Alerts service around Christmas-time, but my own business circumstances have since changed somewhat - for the better - and if anything I hope to be able to upgrade the Alerts service, at least in frequency, from now on. 

Lee and Kevin in particular know I'm ready, able and willing, and so (with the exception of a fair chunk of holiday time in May) I will be on hand to pass on to you all whatever news the club wants to issue, as and when, during the close season.  Enjoy the break - the close season promises to be very interesting and, mercifully, footy for real will be back in no time!  


29 April 2012

Stoppage time equaliser denies City final win

By Rhod Mitchell, West Briton.  Images Steve Rogers.

Truro City 1 Dartford 1
City were denied a winning end to their first season of Blue Square South football when the Kent side scored a stoppage time equaliser.

Early action in the first half
Barry Hayles looked to have given City all three points when he came off the bench to put the home side ahead two minutes from time.

But with virtually the last kick of the game Dartford substitute Tony Garrod gave Jacob Erskine the chance to make up for some bad earlier misses with a thumping finish past a helpless Tom Sandercombe in the home goal.
Gritts started up front with Andy Watkins

However, City still ended the season a creditable 14th in the table - a great achievement considering all their off the field distractions.

City went into the game knowing they were safe from relegation after last week's draw at champions Woking, while runners-up Dartford are the promotion play-offs this week against Basingstoke.
Barry's late goal was not enough to win the game

The visitors fielded virtually a full strength side for the game and on the overall balance of play should really have taken all three points.

But City also played their part in an entertaining game watched by a crowd of 751, which was boosted by a sizeable contingent of Dartford fans.
Broady captained the team

In the first half Martin Gritton had a shot deflected just wide while Andy Watkins shot over following a good turn.
Scotty's normal style

But it was the visitors who had the better openings with Tim Sandercombe making some outstanding saves, while Erskine blazed over two great openings at the end of the half.

The start of the second half followed a similar pattern with Danny Harris and Adam Green off target when well placed, but it was Erskine who missed the best chance of the game blasting the ball over an open goal.
Baz McConnell turns a Dartford defender with ease

Watkins did force a fine save out of Louis Wells in the Dartford goal, but the game looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw when Hayles pounced on mistake by the Dartford defence to finish well after 87 minutes.
Isaac Vassell makes an impressive start

However, City could not hold on to their lead and in the third minute of stoppage time Erskine's good finish levelled the scores and denied City reaching 50 points for the season.
Arran climbs high

City: Sandercombe; McConnell, Pugh, Adams, Walker; Vassell (Afful 75), Cooke, Broad (capt) (Ash 75), Kelly; Watkins, Gritton (Hayles 66).
Yellow cards: Pugh, Broad.

Dartford: Wells; Burns, Bonner, Wilkinson, Green; Noble, Champion (Garrod 75), Bradbrook (capt), Rogers (Graham 60); Harris (Haynes 68), Erskine. Subs not used: Goo *****, Pallen.
Yellow card: Wilkinson.
Goals: Hayles (87) 1-0, Erskine 90 + 3 ) 1-1.
Referee: John Busby (Oxford).
Crowd: 751.

Dartford carnival comes to Truro

An attendance of 751 at Treyew Road is a reasonable crowd - however a good 200 of them were travelling Dartford fans.  And they were here to party!  Several made a long weekend of it, sampling the delights of the city since Thursday night.  The advance party recce'd the town and didn't take long to work out where the best places were.  The Crab & Ale house was renamed as a new suburb of Dartford!  Below are some of the images from the carnival.

Copez mingling with the fans, as he does best.

Eric from Tavistock raising funds for the Marie Curie cancer charity.

Supporters' Player of the Season award

Below are some images taken after the Dartford game.  Colin Carter presents the Gillian Alderman trophy to Jake Ash, surrounded by fans and team mates.

27 April 2012

Lee Hodges wants to end on high

Source: West Briton

LEE Hodges wants his Truro City side to end a difficult season on a high with a good performance and result against Dartford at Treyew Road on Saturday (3pm) in their final game of the season.

City finally and beyond all any mathematical doubt ensured their Blue Square survival with a battling 3-3 draw at champions Woking on Saturday (see page 124).

But Hodges does not want to end City's first campaign at this level with a defeat against the league runners-up who are involved in the promotion play-offs next week.

He said: "I am not sure how they will be approaching the game but all I am worried about is how we perform.

"It has been a fantastic achievement to ensure we stayed up with a game to go and the boys have done brilliantly.

"It has been a long slog and while we can relax a bit we want to finish on a high and send our supporters who have been marvellous all season away with a smile on their faces."

Hodges will then get down to the business of his squad for next season.

But one player definitely leaving is right back Barry McConnell.

The 35-year-old former Exeter City defender has made 178 appearances for City since signing for the start of the 2008-09 season, scoring 21 goals, almost exclusively from the penalty spot.

This season he has been a virtual ever present in the No 2 shirt, making 39 league starts and one appearance from the subs' bench, missing just one game through suspension.

Hodges said: "Barry has been a fantastic servant but we felt it was time to perhaps go in a different direction and I am sure he will find another club as he still wants to keep playing."

Hodges will be speaking to the rest of the squad shortly to see who wants to stay and who wants to go.

"We are thinking what do we need for next season and have a plan of attack but I need to know the players' feelings."

For Saturday's game City will be hoping to complete a notable double against the Essex club, who they beat 2-1 earlier in the season.

But Stewart Yetton (suspended) and Marcus Martin (illness) are definitely missing, though it is hoped that skipper Jake Ash will have his stitches out from a head wound sustained in the game against Bromley and be available to take his place in the squad.

"Everyone will get a game," said a relaxed Hodges.

26 April 2012

Cycling from Tavistock to the Truro v Dartford game

Letter to Truro Fans from Eric Pinch, Truro City supporter from Tavistock:

To "One and All"

I will be cycling from Tavistock to Truro on Friday 27th April, stopping at Indian Queeens that night and continuing on Saturday morning to Truro for the final game of the season.

This 60 mile ride is a warm up for the following weekend when I take on the Devon Coast to Coast ride, from Ilfracombe to Plymouth (100 miles) to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Care.

(Anyone who sees Eric on Saturday may like to wish him good luck  He's a fairly distinctive character....!)

24 April 2012

Next game - Dartford - Treyew Road - 28th April 3pm KO

A detailed history of our opponents can be found via this link > Dartford History
Dartford Honours:

FA Trophy Finalists: 1973-74
Ryman Isthmian League Premier Division Champions: 2009-2010
Ryman Isthmian League Division 1 North Champions: 2007-2008
Southern League Champions: 1930-31 , 1931-32 , 1973-74 , 1983-84
Southern League (Eastern) Champions: 1930-31 , 1931-32
Southern League Southern Division Champions: 1980-81
Southern League Division Two Champions: 1896-97
Southern League Cup Winners: 1976-77 , 1987-88 , 1988-89
Southern League Championship Match Winners: 1983-84 , 1987-88 , 1988-89
Kent Senior Cup Winners: 1930-31 , 1931-32 , 1932-33 , 1934-35 , 1946-47 , 1967-70 , 1972-73 , 1986-87 , 1987-88, 2010-11
Kent Senior Trophy Winners: 1995-96
Kent League Cup Winners: 1924-25
Kent League Division One Runners Up: 1995-96 , 2007-2008
Inter-League Challenge Match Winners: 1973-74 (beat Boston United (NPL) 5-3 on aggregate)

Truro City safe after two-goal comeback

Source: Western Morning News, Images by Steve Rogers.

Boss Lee Hodges heaped praise on his side after Truro City's tremendous two-goal comeback to draw 3-3 at champions Woking in front of a 4,000-plus crowd at Kingfield on Saturday.
Lee before the game

The draw ensured 14th-placed Truro's Blue Square Bet South status for a second season, hauling them seven points clear of the drop zone.

Hodges said: "It's a tremendous achievement when you consider all that we have been through this season, and all credit must go to the players and the staff at the club – they have been amazing and I cannot thank them enough.
Lee salutes the fans after the game, with Dave and Les in background

"We went into the game looking over our shoulders a bit but have come out of it with immense pride, having secured our place in the league for next season with a game to go.

"This season's main target was always going to be staying in the league and we have done that. And what a way to achieve it – coming from two behind to draw at the best team in the league is something a bit special and shows what we can do on our day.

"It was a brilliant result. We were 2-1 down at half-time, which I thought was harsh on us. We went 3-1 behind, but then the lads really showed what they are made of.

"Arran Pugh was outstanding and got us back in it with a goal, and then Barry Hayles went on for Martin Gritton and went through from the halfway line and could have scored but unselfishly squared it for Les Afful to score.

"I think playing in front of 4,000 really inspired the boys and they showed their best," the Truro manager added.

The Cards raced to a 2-0 lead with goals by Paris Cowan-Hall and Giuseppe Sole – with his tenth goal in ten consecutive games – before City striker Watkins finished confidently after latching on to a ball from Scott Walker.

Cowan-Hall restored the home side's two-goal advantage before Walker again turned provider with the free-kick that enabled central defender Pugh to head City's second goal on 56 minutes.

Hodges made two like-for-like switches, introducing Hayles for hard-working target man Martin Gritton and Afful for impressive young winger Isaac Vassell.

Hayles was put through from the half-way line and opted to tee-up Afful for a tap-in.
Hodges said: "Hampton and Havant lost, Maidenhead drew but it didn't matter because we did what we had to do."

Truro City: Sandercombe; McConnell, Pugh, Adams, Walker; Kelly, Broad, Cooke, Vasell (Afful 76); Gritton (Hayles 69), Watkins. Substitute not used: Ash.
Goals: Watkins 36, Pugh 57, Afful 86.

Booking: Kelly 77.
Attendance: 4,048.

23 April 2012

City Alerts - Lee's view by Mike Truscott

LEE'S VIEW on  Woking  FC 3   Truro City   3

"The boys worked ever so hard and thoroughly deserved their point.  They had to dig really deep, especially after they had gone 3-1 down.  At that stage, heads could have dropped and we could have been in for a real hiding, but they did brilliantly to come back into it and draw level.

Lee's view, from the dugout

"I felt sorry for them at half-time because I didn't think they deserved to be losing.  Some sloppy defending, allowing opponents to have free shots on goal, meant that we were really up against it when Woking moved into a 3-1 lead, but we changed things around a bit and got back into it.

"It wasn't Martin Gritton's day, so I brought on Barry Hayles and he helped change the game. 

This performance was so typical of this squad's potential and the character they have shown during the season when things have been particularly difficult. 

I thank them and all the staff for a phenomenal achievement in ensuring survival in this league for another season.  It was a great result away to the champions, in front of a crowd of over 4,000 and made it a fantastic achievement overall for the season."

FINAL MATCH:  Saturday, April 28, Dartford, home, 3 pm.

Mike Truscott

22 April 2012

Images from the Woking game

Below are a selection of images from the Kingfield Stadium.

Barry, Hayden, Deba, Lee and Jake on the bench.

Martin Gritton back heel

Andy squares up

Scotty lines one up

Broady wearing the arm-band.  Arguably one of his best performances this season.

Cody Cooke applauds the fans.

Garry Hill, Woking manager and architect of the team's promotion

Truro Fans on tour at Woking - Westfield FC hospitality

Many thanks to the hosts at Westfield Football Club (opposite Woking FC).  The hospitality was welcoming and the London Pride was perfect.  Below are some images from the Step 2 football club.