You'd be forgiven for thinking that we're running out of positives to take from games but Saturday was another example of how tight this league is and that anyone can beat anyone with the right amount of luck on the day.
We seem like we are our own worst enemies sometimes, despite actually playing really well against a team who will be playoff contenders this year. We dominated large parts of the game but lapses in concentration are costing us dear at the moment, especially without our Talismanic centre back Taylor Parr who looks like he could be side-lined for a while.
The visitors to Westwood Road were Lye Town who were promoted last year after demolishing St Neots in the playoffs to gain their Step 4 position.
The Flyers certainly started that way and showed their quality in attack with some quick passing play, looking dangerous whenever they had the ball and for the first 15 mins looked like they could really hurt us. That said they never really created any clear cut chances until the 12th minute when a rasping effort from Ben Billingham bought the best out of Joe Welch who tipped the ball over the bar. Sadly from the resulting corner the City defence switched off and Ryan Bridgewater had a free header at the near post that found the back of the net and it was definitely not the start City were looking for.
The goal certainly woke the Lilywhites up and from that moment it was City who dominated the play. Scott Bridges brilliant cross-field pass found Jake Battersby, the left back crossed deep to the back post finding the head of Broccoli who powered his header down into the ground but Lye keeper Ben Newey managed to somehow get his right foot under the ball and flick it over the bar from point blank range, an incredible instinctual save that kept the score line level.
Moments later and Stan Leech latched onto the end of a misplaced back pass on the right wing, he cut inside, beat his man and fired in a shot across goal that deflected off the defender and came back off the upright.
The waves of attacks were coming thick and fast for City, Battersby made a brilliant run infield, beating 3 Lye Town players who were terrified of his pace, he released Liam Chadwick who looked for all the world like he would have a pop from 25 yards but instead played a lovely ball through the Lye defence to put Broccoli in, one on one with the keeper and there was never any doubt as he slipped the ball in passed the keeper with ease for a well deserved equaliser3 mins before half time.
City weren't done there and it was Broccoli who turned provider, a beautifully weighted ball from the edge of the D to find Dan Cotton who was charging in, the City man stretched to get a touch and he did brilliantly, it looked like a certain goal but Keeper Newey was equal to it, coming off his line and deflecting Cottons effort wide for a corner.
A really entertaining half of football and City would have considered themselves unlucky not to be in front. It wasn't long before they did take the lead, 2 mins into the second half and a superb cross from Joe Hood on the right found the head of Stan Leech at the back post, the big striker beating 2 defenders in the 6-yard box to head back across the goal and City were deservedly in front.
Broccoli was involved in everything City were doing in attack, winning the ball in midfield before driving forward at every opportunity. He was unlucky again when he ran right through the middle of the Lye defence, knocking the ball passed the last defender into the box but his final touch was just too heavy and the keeper was about to come out and make the save.
It almost got even better when Hood crossed again 5 minutes later, this time hitting the first defender but as the ball rebounded back to the City man, he took aim from the corner of the box with a lovely left-footed effort that just missed the far post.
70 minutes were on the clock when the wheels fell off. Firstly we lost Jake Battersby to what looks like a hamstring injury but not a re-occurrence of the previous one.
Having taken the lead and then looking so dangerous it was disappointing that Lye were allowed back into the game with such ease. A clumsy challenge in the box with the attacker going nowhere and it was 3 penalties conceded in 3 games. Joe Palmer stepped up and smashed the ball straight down the middle for 2-2. From then on it was one way traffic and Lye went in search of the lead. It came on 83 minutes. A long throw from the left that could only be flicked on by the City defence, and Joe Palmer was in acres of space in the 6 yard box to make it 3-2.
The final nail in the coffin came from an excellent strike in the last minute of the game. Billingham picked up the ball 20 yards from goal fired, left-footed into the bottom right-hand corner giving Welch no chance.
Defeat snatched from the Jaws of Victory no doubt, but positive signs that while luck is not with us, we have a quality side that is capable of winning games. There is no doubt that Taylor Parr is a huge miss and having a team patched together that is relatively inexperienced at this level is always going to be hard.
On the positive side, It was really encouraging to see Joe Hood back getting 70 minutes in after a lengthy layoff.
We now face 2 away trips to Hinckley LR followed by Anstey Nomads where your continued support would be very much appreciated by the team. Now is the time for us all to come together and get behind the team.