Football: Superb Truro City missing finish touch
Truro City 1 Stourbridge 1
CITY start 2014 as a team that has become hard to beat, with just one defeat in their last seven matches and that was away to runaway league leaders Hemel Hempstead Town.
Now their next step is to learn the secret of turning those draws – four in their last five games – into wins, if they are to move to a more healthy position, from their current placing of 17th in the Calor League premier division table.
Saturday's game against play-off chasing Stourbridge was another illustration of how much City have improved and the work still to be done.
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When the visitors were reduced to ten men with the red carding of Luke Benbow for a nasty challenge on Dan Green just before half time, minutes after Ben Watson had given City the lead, it should have been the signal for the home side to go on and claim all three points.
Instead, missed chances to kill the game off with a second goal cost them dearly as the visitors hit back with a Ryan Rowe equaliser midway through the second period.
And only a vital save by Grant Fisher ensured City would take something from the match.
And a frustrated City boss Steve Massey admitted after the game it was again a case of two points lost rather than one gained.
He said: "It felt like a defeat in the dressing room, but as Broady (Joe Broad) said, maybe it just shows how far we have come.
"A couple of months ago we would have been pleased with a point against a strong team who I suspect will be in the play-offs.
"We dominated the game at times but just switched off on a couple of occasions.
"If we had got that second goal we would have gone onto control the game.
"It was disappointing we did not take the extra two points. But it shows far we have come.
"Every one of those draws is two points dropped because I think we were the better side."
For the game Massey made one change from the team that hammered Bashley with Dan Green coming in for the unfortunate Cody Cooke.
Massey said: "Cody was totally unlucky. As I tried to explain to him as honestly as I could he had done nothing wrong.
"But I wanted to give Olly (Brokenshire) a chance, otherwise you are waiting for suspension or injury.
"We have bags and bags of talent in the squad and I see it as my job to bring that talent on. We will keep blooding young players like that."
Apart from an early important Fisher save with an outstretched leg, to deny Kyle Haynes, neither keeper was really tested in a rather low key opening.
But the game sprung to life ten minutes before the break when Broad played in Watson down the right and he fired City ahead with a low, angled drive, which went in off the far post.
Almost immediately, Benbow's moment of madness gave City another boost, but the dismissal seemed to galvanise the visitors who brought on striker Ryan Rowe for the second half, in what was to prove his last game before returning to Conference side Kidderminster Harriers.
City though began the half strongly, with Watson shooting tamely wide after being played in by Brokenshire, who then had an effort ruled out for offside after Watson's shot had been saved.
Watson then wasted the best chance of the game when he delayed too long allowing a covering defender to make a last ditch tackle.
They were to prove costly misses as Rowe's fine finish, similar to Watson's first half effort, levelled the scores after 64 minutes.
It was the first time Fisher had been beaten at Treyew Road after keeping three clean sheets since taking over from Ollie Chenoweth.
And the Worcestershire side looked as likely as City to take the points, with Rowe playing in Ben Billingham, who had only Fisher to beat, but the City No1 produced a great stop to keep his side on level terms.