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Club News

Season Review: December

5 June 2013

Blues' unbeaten run finally comes to an end, but progress is made in two cup competitions.

Just like November, December started with an FA Cup tie, this time a trip north to face League 1 Bury.

Blues found themselves 1-0 down after Matt Doherty’s penalty, awarded after former Bury man Ryan Cresswell hauled down Troy Hewitt in the box, in the 33rd minute.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as Gavin Tomlin scored a solo goal of his own four minutes before half time.

Both Michael Timlin and Barry Corr hit the frame of the goal late on, which meant a replay at Roots Hall would be required.

The quarter-finals of the Southern Area JPT saw Blues take on League 1 side, Brentford at home.

Loanee Tamika Mkandawire put Blues in the driving seat in the 27th minute before Kevan Hurst added a second just before half time.

Although Paul Hayes netted for the Bees late on, Blues held on to book their place in the Southern Area semis of the competition.

The games, as they always do around Christmas, were coming thick and fast, and a trip to newly promoted Fleetwood Town was next, in Graham Alexander’s first game in charge of the Cod Army.

Blues had the ball in the net twice in the first half but Anthony Straker and then Gavin Tomlin were adjudged to have been offside.

That was the best it got for both sides as the game ended 0-0, Blues taking a decent point back to Essex.

The focus turned back to FA Cup duties on Tuesday 11th, with the replay against Bury to contend with.

It was Daniel Bentley’s time to shine as he saved penalties from David Worrall and Mark Hughes after the game finished 1-1 after extra time, Gavin Tomlin equalising for Blues.

The penalty scorers for Blues were Freddy Eastwood, Sean Clohessy and Kevan Hurst.

15th December saw two play-off chasing sides do battle as Bradford came to Roots Hall.

Blues found themselves 2-0 down when Nakhi Wells tapped in and Luke Prosser put through his own net.

However, Blues staged a late fightback; firstly, in the 80th minute, Ryan Cresswell scored another header, and right at the death, Gavin Tomlin snatched victory away from the Bantams, pouncing to poke the ball past ‘keeper, Matt Duke.

Friday 21st December saw Blues host Chesterfield.  The game was another one that saw no goals in the first 45 minutes.

However, after the break, Ryan Cresswell put Blues ahead, following up after Marc Laird’s shot was parried, six minutes after the interval.

Gavin Tomlin scored his first of the afternoon on the hour mark, heading in a cross from Kevan Hurst, another assist winger who would go on to get 19 in all competitions over the course of the campaign.

With 20 minutes remaining, Tomlin completed his brace, scoring another header after latching on to Chris Barker’s pass.

That completed a 3-0 win as Blues cemented their place in the play-offs.

Dagenham away, and another brace for Tomlin, providing Blues fans with a late Christmas present on Boxing Day.

Similarly to the game against Torquay, Tomlin scored twice against an old club.

Gav’s double inside the opening 15 minutes, extended Blues unbeaten run to 14 games.

Kevan Hurst put the icing on the cake with a long range strike in the 55th minute of the game.

The run had to come to an end sometime and that day arrived on 29th December at Burton Albion.

Two first half goals sealed the points for Albion, scored by the prolific Calvin Zola and midfielder, Lee Bell.

Despite the Brewers having Nathan Stanton sent off late on, Blues couldn’t find a way back into the game.

A disappointing end to the month, but Blues were still in a strong position situated in 4th place, two points off Cheltenham Town who held the final automatic promotion place.

December Results:

1st Dec: (FA Cup) Bury 1-1 Blues (Tomlin)
4th Dec: (JPT) Blues 2-1 Brentford (Mkandawire, Hurst)
8th Dec: Fleetwood Town 0-0 Blues
11th Dec: (FA Cup replay) Blues 1-1 Bury (Tomlin)
15th Dec: Blues 2-2 Bradford City (Cresswell, Tomlin)
21st Dec: Blues 3-0 Chesterfield (Tomlin 2, Cresswell)
26th Dec: Dagenham & Redbridge 0-3 Blues (Tomlin 2, Hurst)
29th Dec: Burton Albion 2-0 Blues

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