Another long journey but this time no transport dramas! City arrived at Daventry’s impressive Communications Park in fine fettle, and eager to improve upon their recent run of form that had culminated midweek in a heavy home defeat in the Surrey Senior Cup. On a cold but dry day, City in their bright yellow shirts opened in equally bright fashion. Despite this it was the home side that came close to opening the scoring in the fourth minute. Michael Bryan who was elusive all afternoon, crossed from the right, and Ashley Robinson turned his first time effort over the bar. Seconds later though it was City who opened the scoring. A fine run off the ball from Joel Hughes saw him bearing down on goal, but he took the unselfish option and passed to the supporting Austin Gacheru who tucked the ball home for his eighth goal of the season. City continued in the same bright vein, with Jaydon Gibbs excelling in a more central midfield role. Indeed it was from a Gibbs free-kick that Dan Moody’s flicked header drifted past the far post.
As the half developed Daventry looked more threatening, and minutes after having a “goal” disallowed for offside, they won a penalty somewhat unluckily awarded against Corey Holder. Michael Bryan attempted a cross from the right and the ball struck the defending Holder’s arm at close range. Justice however was seen to be done when Antony Hall saved brilliantly from the spot, and then recovered sufficiently to save Ryan Cross’ follow up shot. Hall followed this up on 26 minutes with another excellent close range save. Strangely seven minutes of added time was played in the first period, and deep in that period Dan Moody beat the offside trap, but his first time cross from the left just eluded the on-rushing Gacheru.
In general the second-half ebbed and flowed without many direct chances at either end. City did open brightly though, and following good work from Gibbs and Hughes, Ben Rayner’s fierce effort was blocked by an organised home defence. Later Tommy Tydeman headed a deep cross back across goal, but the ball was cleared without undue danger. Simon Cooper, sensing glory, shot at goal audaciously with a 45 yard free-kick. To his credit the ball just cleared the bar, although Richard Morris in the home goal was not seriously troubled. On 54 minutes Daventry scored the goal that there overall play deserved. Liam Dolman played an exquisite cross field ball to the marauding Bryan on the right. He cut inside past two defenders and his cross shot ricocheted off the defence to Ashley Robinson who gratefully put the ball in the net.
A sparkling run from Dan Moody on 69 minutes led to a routine Morris save, but defences from both sides were dominant in the closing stages. Both sides had chances as the game drifted into stoppage time. Firstly Jamie Thoroughgood at full stretch brilliantly blocked a goal bound effort on the edge of the box, and then seconds later Junior Kaffo and Jaydon Gibbs fashioned half an opening at the other end but sadly just couldn’t get that vital shot away.
Kev Rayner, although initially disappointed not to claim the three points, would have been pleased both at the sides improved defensive showing, and also another long distance trip ticked off the fixture list.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner (Will Heavey 89), Simon Cooper, Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody, Tommy Tydeman (Junior Kaffo 78), Austin Gacheru, Joel Hughes (Dammy Bada 83), Jaydon Gibbs.
Unused substitutes: Mike Hall.
Cautioned: Ben Rayner
Referee: Graham Kinnear