Bath City (1) 2 Bristol City U23s (0) 1 – Pre-Season Friendly – Saturday 14 July 2018 – Twerton Park
Two timely interventions by Sean Rigg earned Bath City their third consecutive pre-season win. Rigg had opened the scoring on the cusp of half time, but it looked like Tom Richards’ cute finish midway through the second half was going to earn a draw for Bristol City under-23s. Despite Matt Richards having a late penalty saved, Rigg reacted quickest in stoppage time to nod in the same player’s corner.
Bristol City’s line-up contained two faces familiar to those at Twerton Park, with James Morton and Antoine Semenyo enjoying loan spells under Jerry Gill last season. The latter nearly opened the scoring after Jake Andrews had sprung the offside trap and delivered a cross for the forward, but his downward header was batted away by Ryan Clarke. Opposition ‘keeper Alhaji Sesay had enjoyed a comfortable opening 20 minutes but kept his concentration to deny Ryan Brunt from close range after captain Kevin Amankwaah’s foray forward caused problems for the Robins’ backline. Amankwaah’s afternoon was cut short just before half time as a minor calf injury saw Gill take no risks and withdraw the former Bristol City man, with Tariq Ossai on in his place. Andrews tested the gloves of Clarke with a free-kick in the visitors’ last attack of the half, which looked destined to be goalless. Rigg, however, had other ideas. Andy Watkins – making his first outing of pre-season – whipped in a cross from the right, which looked comfortable for defender Tom Harrison. A slip proved costly, as Rigg nicked the ball off him before thrashing into the roof of the net from close range, giving Sesay no chance.
It was Watkins’ last involvement of the game, with him and Frankie Artus replaced by Adam Mann and Matt Richards at the break, while Bristol City introduced Joe Low, son of former Bath winger Josh. Tom Richards tried his luck from distance for Luke Williams’ men, forcing Clarke to tip his effort around the post, before Marcus Day’s jinking run into the box preceded a dangerous ball towards goal which forced Dan Ball to flick behind for a corner. Chris Turner-Williams also flashed a shot wide; following excellent work by Morton. Bath produced a flurry of chances themselves in a much more entertaining second half. Ross Stearn’s cross was headed back in by Brunt, with Low putting off Mann and preventing a tap-in. Substitute Joe Raynes also tested replacement keeper James Carey, who spilled his initial effort but bravely recovered to deny Brunt. On 68 minutes, the away side found a breakthrough. Having only been on the field five minutes, Vince Harper capitalised on a Matt Richards error and played in Tom Richards with a delightful through ball. Clarke advanced, but Richards exquisitely dinked it over him and admired as it clipped into the net via the far post. They should have turned the game on its head with eight minutes remaining. Sam Bell reacted on a stumble by Robbie Cundy and centred for Sam Pearson, but he arrowed his shot against the top of the bar when he should have tested Clarke. Bath soon squandered an ideal chance of their own. Mann’s low cross struck the hand of the sliding defender Bradley Webb at the near post, with referee Richard Hulme deeming it deliberate. Matt Richards’ tame spot-kick was easily blocked by Carey – the second friendly running that City have wasted an opening from the penalty spot. The experienced midfielder didn’t let this deter him, as he claimed an assist for the winner with seconds left. His precise corner was perfectly met by Rigg, who capped off a fine performance with a neat header, giving Carey no chance.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke, Amankwaah (c) (Ossai 42), Ball, Artus (Richards HT), Cundy, Batten, Watkins (Mann HT), Rigg, Mills (Raynes 56), Stearn (Mehew 71), Brunt (Ollis 69). Subs not used:Hodges.
Scorers: City – Rigg (45, 90); Bristol City – Richards (68)
City Bookings: none
Officials: R Hulme, A Ricketts, R Morris