So on the first Bank Holiday of the year City earn a point with a hard fought 1-1 draw against near neighbours Yeovil Town in front of a whopping 5912 fans. City lined up: Krysiak; Golbourne, Archibald-Henville, Duffy, Tully; Dunne, Noble, Sercombe; Nardiello, Logan, Taylor.
Employing an attacking 4-3-3 formation it was no surprise that City were quickest out of the blocks, producing an opening as dazzling as the lurid day-glo kit worn by the visitors. In the second minute Logan flicked the ball left to Nardiello who sprinted down the line before firing a peach of a cross at full pelt to the far post. Dunne came charging in unmarked to meet the cross full on the volley, but turned away in disbelief as his rocket nearly broke the crossbar from 15 yards out rebounding to way outside of the penalty area.
Yeovil fashioned an opening of their own in the 15th minute. A whipped in corner caused all sorts of problems in the City defence before Steven Maclean shot through a crowd of players to draw a fine reaction save from Krysiak with his feet. On the half hour a Yeovil free kick was cleared as far as Gavin Williams whose shot from distance was parried by Krysiak before Troy mopped up.
Dunne's hurried 30 yard snapshot sixty seconds later cleared Rene Gilmartin's crossbar comfortably before Maclean looped a shot onto the top of Krysiak's crossbar a further sixty seconds later following a flick on from a deep free kick. But Yeovil's pressure eventually told in the 39th minute when they almost inevitably took the lead. Krysiak failed to gather a corner which fell to Paul Huntingotn to nod towards goal from eight yards out, but just to make sure Andrew Williams got the merest glance from a couple of inches out to claim the goal for himself and make it 1-0 to the visitors.
As the half time break approached Tully launched a good looking cross over from the right, but under intense pressure Logan could get neither power or direction on his header giving the keeper the a simple collect.
Within three minutes of the restart Taylor was replaced by Bauza. It took him a little while to get into the flow of the game, but eventually gave himself a sighter with a shot from distance that flew way over the bar after good work from Golbourne down the left. Midway through the half Noble's dink forward was nodded down by Logan for the rushing Sercombe just inside the Yeovil box, but he was crowded out before being able to shoot in one of the best moves of the game so far.
City were clearly on top by now, and their constant probing was finally rewarded in the 29th minute. The ball was played forward to Bauza who turned his defender with outrageous ease before striding towards the box with authority. Spotting Logan to his left he threaded the ball between two defenders where Logan showed great composure and no little skill drilling the ball low into the net from 15 yards out to send three sides of the ground into raptures with a goal of genuine quality from start to finish.
With ten minutes to go Nardiello made way for Frear, then five minutes after that Frear, Sercombe and Bauza broke quickly from a Yeovil corner. Eventually the ball ended up with the keeper, but his rushed clearance was hit straight at one of his own players where it ballooned up and just back over his crossbar for a City corner. Time was fast running out when Bauza turned and fired Noble's good looking through ball wastefully over, then three minutes into stoppage time the same pair combined again for Bauza once again to turn outrageously on the edge of the box opening up the whole goal before him. With more time than he realised he drove a low shot across the keeper towards the far post, but agonisingly the ball drifted inches the wrong side of the post meaning the game finished all square at one apiece.
Which, I think, is perhaps a little unfair on a hard working City who might well say they deserved all three points on the balance of play. Certainly in the second half they were easily the better side with Noble becoming more influential as the game progressed, and the introduction of Bauza giving City further impetus to get forward. At the back, despite the odd distribution clanger, the defence looked pretty solid, and that was largely down to the calm efficiency of Duffy, in for the suspended Coles.
In midfield Sercombe and Dunne's industry supported Noble's craft well, and up front Logan had a job on his hands battling two giant centre backs, especially as one of them decided the only way to jump was to do it with a forearm in the back of Logan's neck. But Logan battled well and won his fair share, so his goal was well deserved.
And so we begin a tricky month a point better off, and, especially on the second half showing, can go to Chesterfield next weekend with a little bit of confidence from a decent hard working performance and the first point gained over a fruitless Christmas period. So hopefully when we return to the Park in a couple of weeks for the visit of Hartlepool we'll be even better placed from the trip to the division's bottom club, and we can enjoy a decent second half to the season.