Three goals, three points and a clean sheet for City
- Credit: Archant
THREE goals, three points and a clean sheet was “just what the doctor ordered” according to City boss James Gray as his side put themselves squarely in the play-off race.
First half goals from Greg Ngoyi and Chris Henry plus a 57th minute strike from Brad Wadkins underlined a dominant performance in which City never looked threatened by the league’s 10th placed team.
After the game Gray praised his side’s “professional” performance.
“I though we might be jaded after travelling to Kettering in midweek but we were impressive today,” he said.
“We told the lads to come out of the blocks and start sharp, which they did. The defence was really strong, Richard Graham dictated play and we had the cutting edge up front. I knew it was going to be our day.”
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Saturday’s win was City’s third in three games, putting them in the play-off picture with seven games left.
“There’s no doubt we’re in the picture,” added Gray.
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“It’s so tight that we told the lads we’ve got seven cup finals. We’re turning sides over, scoring goals and keeping clean sheets so we just have to believe in what we can do.”
With Layne Eadie and James Kaloczi held out of the team with ankle injuries, Gray and Graham Golds recalled Fabio Bufano and gave a first start to Curtis Shaw. Wadkins was also handed a place in the starting line up.
The managers’ message to start sharp was obviously absorbed as City came out bristling with energy. And within four minutes they were leading.
Graham, who was outstanding in midfield, forced Totton’s goalkeeper to concede a corner and, with a move straight from the training ground, Chris Comley found Ngoyi six yards out and the striker glanced a ball into the far corner.
Totton responded with two menacing shots but each time Nick Jupp was equal, pulling off diving saves on his way to a clean sheet.
On 16 minutes the lead was doubled, Josh Urquhart delivering a low cross into the box that saw Henry profit from a defensive mistake to bundled the ball over the line.
The game took a twist after the second goal as Totten were in the ascendency. However, for all their probing attacks and long range shots, they never looked like scoring and the half ended with City two goals to the good.
And within 10 minutes of the restart the points were sealed. Henry’s darting run into the box forced a corner, which Comley swung in towards the back post where Wadkins to waiting to prod home.
The best move of the game was yet to come.
With 20 minutes left Ryan Urquhart, Bufano, Graham and Comley paved the way for Henry to guide a perfect cross into the path of Ngoyi to score. The celebrations were dampened though as the linesman flagged for offside.
As the clock ticked down there was still time for Elliot Bailey to try his luck but Casey did well to save his shot.