The Lilywhites travelled to Yaxley searching for a valuable 3 points to put further distance between themselves and the relegation battle. With Yaxley cut adrift at the bottom today was the day that could finally see them relegated.
Recent performances had been positive for the Cuckoos, grabbing an impressive point at Shepshed Dynamo and proving that despite their league position they would be battling to the end under the guidance of young manager Sammy Mould. Centre back, Ethan Young also joined in midweek from National League side Scunthorpe to bolster the defence.
City had also dipped into the transfer market. Fullback Aaron Hart, coming in from high-flying Spalding, is a welcome addition that allows Ben Nolan to move back into his more natural right-wing position.
Manager, Robbie Nightingale set up an attacking formation despite being able to rest frontman Jarid Robson. The result was, first half was total domination from City with the wingers seemingly able to navigate both flanks with ease and get crosses into the box for Waumsley and Lorraine to attack.
Nolan was taking the 18-year-old debutant from Scunthorpe apart with devastating effect and on 15 mins beat his man to the by-line and fired in a low cross that beat everyone except Waumsley who tapped in at the far post for a well-deserved lead. The former Yaxley man was responsible for scoring the goal that promoted the cuckoos last season and was now seemingly responsible for putting the final nail in their coffin this season.
City continued to dominate, with patient build-up play, they were keeping the ball well and prizing open opportunities at will and it wasn’t long before City scored their second. 4 mins in fact, Nolan again beat his man and crossed for Tom Lorraine to smash in his first goal for the club. The away fans starting to believe that this could end up being a rout.
The same pattern continued throughout the first half, had it not been for a wonder save from Yaxley stopper Kacper Kurylowicz, City could have gone in at half-time 3-0. Waumsley turned provider, whipping in an excellent cross from the right to find the head of Tom Lorraine in the box. The City striker’s bullet header from 8 yards was almost across the line before being superbly tipped over the bar by the former Tottenham academy keeper.
The second half was much the same as the first with City dominating possession but this time without really creating any clear-cut chances. Yaxley were limited to a couple of long-range efforts as Taylor Parr and Yaw Ofosu were giants at the back and kept the front two in their pockets for most of the game.
With one eye on the Cup Final next Tuesday, Robbie gave some game time to Jarid Robson, Mikey Davies and Simon Swinton, making 3 changes over the space of 10 mins. Robson came closest to adding to the scoresheet late in the game, beating the attempted offside trap and bursting clear into the box for a one-on-one with the keeper, however as he was about to pull the trigger a brilliant last ditch tackle from Melvin Onu denied the City man.
The travelling support were pleased to see Mikey Davies get 20 min, apart from one fan whose umbrella took a hammering from a Davies shot that missed the target.
So the game finished 0-2 to City but it could have been more convincing, we spoke to Robbie to get his take on the game.
“From our point of view, it was a completely dominant display, especially in the first half. We gave a debut to Aaron Hart at right back who looked very assured, comfortable, and confident on the ball. He’ll be a massive signing for us as we move through the last parts of the season.
We had some excellent periods in the first half where we kept the ball well and our passing game was superb.
We were a little disappointed not to go on and get more goals, but you only get the same 3 points so we’re delighted with that, especially coming off the back to 2 tough draws against top six teams.
We’re in a good position right now and I was really pleased for Benny Nolan, back in his favoured position and getting 2 assists for the goals. Likewise for Tom Lorraine, getting his first goal for us. We had an opportunity to switch up some players with Mikey Davies coming back, being able to rest Jarid and having players like Simon Swinton who can come in and do a good job for us makes selection a lot easier.
Negotiating the game with no new injury concerns was a big plus for us and we’ve still got Ryan Ingrey, Matty Miles, Scott Bridges and Tommy Rigby to come back in, which will make us even stronger.
Finally, a massive thank you to the City fans who came out in numbers. It almost felt like a home game. We really appreciate every one of them that came out in the rain to cheer us on. It massively helps the team to see that. Hopefully, we repaid them with the 3 points and a clean sheet. We are sure we’ll get the same level of support as we turn our attention to the Cup Final on Tuesday night. “