Cambridge City returned to winning ways as they recorded a 4-1 victory over Fleet Town at Westwood Road.
The visitors arrived having not won on the road all season, and with the worst goal difference in the league. City meanwhile went into the fixture on the back of two successive defeats against Alvechurch in the FA Trophy last Saturday and a 3-1 reverse at Hayes and Yeading on Tuesday night.
City boss Robbie Nightngale was forced to shuffle the pack as Ryan Towner had to withdraw due to illness. Buster Harradine came in whilst Mark Coulson was preferred at left back ahead of Mason Spence.
The home side started the game on the front foot, and Tom Knowles was unlucky to see an effort go wide of the post during the opening exchanges. However, the high tempo that City traditionally start games with was at times missing today, and when Ian Miller conceded a free kick on the edge of the area, the visitors had the opportunity to test City from a set piece. Fortunately for City the effort from Liam Flanighan went just wide of the post with Conroy rooted to his line.
There was a period in the first half where City were being hemmed into their own half, but when they broke Fleet were struggling with the pace of the Lilywhites forward line. It was a defensive mistake from the visitors that let City in with the next chance and Salim Relizani was presented with a golden opportunity to put his team in front but couldnt convert the effort when one on one with Liam Beech in the visitors goal.
However, City went in front from their next attack. The ball came in from a corner, and Ryan Sharman was first to react to plant a header past Beech.
With City in front, the visitors almost immediately got back into the contest when an effort was tipped over the bar from Niall Conroy.
Although City at times struggled to find their rhythm, they always looked the more likely to score and add to their tally. First, Lewis Wilson was unlucky not to convert a header after he met a cross from Ben Robinson. Then, Beech was called into action as he did well to tip a long range effort over the bar from Tom Knowles.
That proved to be the last action of the game for Knowles as both he and Ian Miller picked up first half injuries and were replaced by Nathan Olukanmi and Adam Capel as the second period got underway.
Lewis Wilson was next to miss an opportunity for City as he saw an effort clawed away by Beech following a City corner.
As City went seeking for a second goal, they were stung when Fleet got an equaliser. Salim Relizani gave the ball away which allowed the visitors to break. The ball was threaded through to substitute Luke Haskell who squeezed the ball past Conroy for the leveller.
The visitors almost got a second when Chris Dean made room for himself and his effort went just wide. Then City went up the other end and should have scored when Ryan Sharman met an inch perfect cross from Ben Robinson only to see his header go narrowly wide of the target.
The next passage of play saw City finally get their second goal. At one point, Fleet could have scored after the ball was given away by Buster Harradine. Fortunately, their attack was foiled and it allowed City to catch the visitors on a break of their own. The ball eventually found its way back to Harradine who smashed the ball past Beech as City retained the lead.
City were then awarded what looked to be a dubious penalty when Lewis Wilson was adjudged to have been upended in the box. Relizani stepped up and made no mistake to extend the lead.
Three then became four late on when Sharman headed into the path of Wilson who had the simple task to nod the ball into the net for the final goal of the afternoon.
So a return to winning ways for City, but at times a difficult afternoon and if all the chances had gone in the Lilywhites would have gone on and won by a bigger margin. Its all about the points though, and with leaders Moneyfields only getting a point at AFC Rushden and Diamonds it means that City have closed the gap to five ahead of the trip to Marlow next weekend.
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