Cambridge City and Bromsgrove Sporting produced a great advert for the league in a match that was a real contest, but one that ultimately saw both sides settle for a point.
It was always going to be a massive test for City, with Bromsgrove being the current league leaders, especially with City only recording one win from their last 6 league outings.
Bromsgrove arrived top of the league on goal difference ahead of Peterborough Sports, and on paper it looked like a routine 3 points for the visitors. However, City had the bonus of striker Josh Oyinsan returning after serving a 4 match suspension whilst Ross Paterson slotted in ahead of the injured Josh Simpson and James Hall had to make a do with a place on the bench.
Although the match got off to a tight start, it was Bromsgrove who began to apply the pressure as they looked for an early breakthrough. Encouragingly, the home defence was holding firm and didnt concede an early goal something that had been a pattern during their recent bad run of results.
Nathan Olukanmi was looking lively for City, and in one of the first moments of real danger he did well to run at the Bromsgrove defence and put in an excellent ball that just failed to pick out a white shirt.
Bromsgrove were always a threat and had an effort that hit the bar, but the chance wouldnt have counted as the flag was up for offside.
The return of Oyinsan though was proving to be a real difference for City, and it was the tall striker who went on a run, created space for himself and had a shot from distance which forced a fine save from Jonathan Brown in the Bromsgrove goal.
As the game began to open up, it was Bromsgrove who next went close as Charlie Dowd beat Seb Simpson but his effort cannoned off the upright.
City then produced an excellent move as Simpson and Adam Watkins combined to set up Oyinsan, but his header went wide of the post when well placed.
The home side were then grateful to their keeper, Jamie Head for keeping it at 0-0 when Jason Cowley ghosted in at the back post only for the City stopper to deny the striker.
City were forced to make a substitution at half time as Isaac Maynard came on to replace the injured Ryan Sharman. Bromsgrove started the second period on the front foot, and almost opened the scoring when Daniel Morris stretched to reach a cross as the ball fizzed through the 6 yard box but he could only put his effort wide of the post.
But City were still doing well at containing the league leaders and the home crowd erupted when they took the lead. A ball through was met perfectly by Adam Watkins, who had beaten the offside trap and showed great composure to slot home past Brown.
It was now game on, and the visitors upped a gear as they went looking for an equaliser. Although their response wasnt immediate, it came when a cross came over and Michael McGrath was first to react to head it past the outstretched hand of Jamie Head to level the contest.
Isaac Maynard had to come off due to a knock to the ankle and he was replaced by Adam Capel, and for a while City were rocking with Bromsgrove sensing that this was the moment to get in front. However, to their immense credit, City weathered the storm and always looked as though they could get something at the other end.
This almost happened when Nathan Olukanmi did well to win the ball back and with Brown coming off his line, the City winger lobbed the Bromsgrove keeper, but the effort bounced off the woodwork and was hacked away to safety.
Then, Josh Oyinsan saw an effort on the angle beaten away by Brown. However, it was Micky Davis who had the best opportunity when City broke and as the visiting defence couldnt clear the ball, it came back to Davis who couldnt convert his effort from no more than 6 yards, and it was Brown once again who denied City.
James Hall was introduced at the expense of Olukanmi as City went in search again for the winner. However, at the other end Bromsgrove continued to turn the screw and the Lilywhites survived a goal mouth scramble late on to ensure that they got a point from the contest which is nothing less than they deserved.
For a neutral, this was a really entertaining game, and for City fans it was something of real encouragement that after such a poor run they can prove on their day they are a match for any team in the division. However, the games over Christmas do not get any easier with a Boxing Day clash at Bedford, followed by a visit to Corby and a home game with Peterborough Sports to start 2019.
Post Match Reaction:
Reports index >>>