With no game in the FA Cup weekend, the City camp used their enforced two-week break wisely, and in doing so and created lots of early Christmas cheer amongst City supporters, writes Gareth Thomas.

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Clearly the break was the catalyst and opportunity to regroup and refocus, and it showed by the sack full last Saturday at Accrington Stanley. The team came out of the starting blocks with all guns blazing with the tremendous 3-2 win away from home. City scored their three goals in the opening 24 minutes of the game and was their first much awaited win after seven League Two games without a win.

With City captain Danny Coles and vice captain Pat Baldwin side-lined through injury Paul Tisdale rang the changes and the starting line up included some of the Grecian young guns and with five players that have graduated from the youth ranks and included, Scot Bennett was made captain, Jordan Moore-Taylor in defence, Liam Sercombe, Matt Grimes and midfield, and Tom Nichols as the lone striker. On the bench were also Christy Pym and Jake Gosling who are also products of the successful City academy.

In an all action first half, City were ahead after only six minutes as Tom Nichols raced clear and lobbed a 30-yard effort over the advancing Accrington keeper, and five minutes Nichols again escaped the Stanley defence and slotted the ball home. Alan Gow then added a third goal, finding the bottom corner from 20-yards. As one would expect Accrington made a comeback scoring two goals and forcing Artur Krysiak to make a superb double stop to deny another goal. City though missed the chance to score their 4th goal when Tom Nichols was bought down and Accrington stopper saved the Alan Gow penalty kick.

After the game Paul Tisdale commented: “We had a rotten November and we needed a win and it was tremendous to go 3-0 up. They then got two goals back and it could have finished 3-3. It could have gone either way, but this was a massive lift. It was terrific to get back to winning ways. We are a young team and this would have been a great experience for them. They will have learnt a lot from this.”

Other good news from the Club included 17-year-old Matt Jay being handed a professional contract keeping him at the club until 2016. Jay made his Football League debut against Southend in November and was overjoyed. He said: “It has come as a surprise and I’m just so grateful to everyone that has helped me out.”

The game this weekend has been brought forward to Friday evening (tonight) when second-placed in the table, high flying Chesterfield, are the visitors, fresh from beating Plymouth Argyle last weekend. There is no doubt that this will be a tough one with the visitors only losing four games this season and with the second best goal difference in the league. Other dates for the Christmas and New Years sporting calendar are: Thursday, December 26, away to Cheltenham, Sunday, December 29, away at Torquay, Wednesday, January 1, home to Wycombe and Saturday, January 4, home to Mansfield.

On the pitch It could be a cracking Christmas for period for City fans. Merry Christmas to everyone. Come on you Reds!


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