Bath City (0) 2 Cheltenham Town (0) 1 – Pre-Season Friendly – Thursday 20 July 2017 – Twerton Park
Bath City bested EFL outfit Cheltenham Town to make it back-to-back pre-season victories, courtesy of a Nat Jarvis double. The former Cardiff City youth came off the bench at half-time to net his maiden goals in stripes. First up, he tucked home a penalty before flying horizontal to convert a Nick McCootie cross, those strikes sandwiching an equaliser for Cheltenham’s Carl Winchester.
There were no reappearances for the French trialists that featured against Reading under-23s on Tuesday night, but former West Bromwich Albion junior Wes Atkinson started at right-back. The first shot of the day summed up the opening half, the ball flying into the Bristol End from Mo Eisa’s ballooned free-kick. City’s first salvo was Jamie Lucas’s, as he teamed up with Morgan before firing into the legs of the Cheltenham defence. On-trial goalkeeper Matt Cafer continued his case for a permanent pact with City by pulling off three excellent saves by the break. Two of those came in succession as he sprawled out to push Danny Wright’s whipped effort out, and then stopped Eisa’s pointblank follow-up for good measure. The action died down somewhat after that, efforts from Jordan Forster, Lucas and a Marvin Morgan cross-shot no trouble for either keeper. The Robins’ Jerell Sellars put one right down Cafer’s throat and Nigel Atananga scythed one well over, before Nick McCootie put Cheltenham hearts in mouths. He jinked past a defender and crossed low and hard from the right, with Forster forced to clear behind from under his crossbar. From the corner, however, Town broke. The pacy Sellars shuffled his way right and left past the Romans defence but pulled a tame effort wide. Cafer made up for his own half-error when he came out for a long, looping cross before turning back and having to stop Wright’s downward header with an outstretched boot. Neat build-up play from Anthony Straker and Morgan allowed Andy Watkins to slip an intricate through ball behind for Lucas, who drove low across the face of goal from a tight angle. The offside flag spared Atkinson’s blushes back at the other end, when his fluffed header looked to have sent Eisa charging in one-on-one with Cafer.
It took less than a minute of the second half for City to get on the front foot as Jarvis nodded a Straker cross past the post, shortly followed by Eisa drilling a first-time effort wide for Cheltenham. Robins keeper Rhys Lovett saw his first testing action of the day to keep out Watkins at his near post, but was beaten just before the hour from the spot. Watkins twisted past a defender and had the ball pushed out from his feet by Lovett. It rolled out for Morgan and his goal-bound shot was seemingly deflected over by a Robins hand. Jarvis stepped up to the spot and squeezed his penalty past Lovett, who still got his fingertips on the ball. The visitors levelled near instantly, however, when Winchester’s low free-kick dribbled in at the near post under Cafer’s gloves. Undeterred, the former Weymouth stopper soon pushed another bending Wright strike around his left-hand post. The next goal was City’s, as McCootie found space at the byline and sent a hard, flat cross that found a diving Jarvis to head in at the far stick. Cafer gathered at the second attempt from another low Winchester free-kick, this time hit right at him, while Eisa had shots blocked by Will Christopher and saved by Cafer’s feet. For City, Jarvis went for his hat-trick, but his 25-yard shot never came close to troubling Lovett. There was one last save for Cafer to make as time ticked down, sweeping up a tame Josh Thomas dig from the edge of the box. Yet it still required an heroic piece of defending to earn City the win. A long throw from Dan O’Shaughnessy bounced through for Forster to loop towards the far post, where Straker was on hand to hook clear.
City Line-Up: Cafer, Atkinson (Christopher 70), Straker, Welch-Hayes (Ball 62), Jones (Case HT), Artus (c) (Rigg 67), N Diallo, McCootie (F Diallo 76), Lucas (Jarvis HT), Morgan (Misso 67), Watkins. Subs not used: Forster.
Scorers: Jarvis (pen 59, 66)
Officials: R Hulme, M Underhay, J Ainscow, J Rout