City overcame the 26th minute dismissal of Adie Harris to secure the Southern League Premier Division runners-up spot this afternoon with a 2-0 win over King’s Lynn. Harris was harshly shown a red card for a high challenge on Smith but not before Scott Rogers had put City in front from close range after keeper Higgs had fumbled Dean Clarke’s 6th minute long range shot. Even with a man advantage the Norfolk side rarely threatened Chris Astley’s goal and on the hour mark another mistake by Higgs allowed Walsh to head home City’s second goal. Contrary to pre-match speculation both teams fielded strong line-ups, although City did rest Matt Coupe and Scott Partridge, and the two-goal cushion allowed them to substitute Jim Rollo, Walsh and Andy Sandell. And with Chris Holland producing a near faultless display on his return from the loan spell at Gloucester City, City comfortably held their lead and after the final whistle received the Southern League runners-up trophy plus medals.
The results means City will face Bedford Town in the play-off semi-final at Twerton Park on Monday 1 May (ko 3pm) after the Eagles conceded a late equaliser against Rugby Town. The other tie sees Chippenham Town make the long journey to Norfolk to face King’s Lynn.
City’s play-off prospects received a major boost today when it was confirmed their bid to overturn Phil Walsh’s red card against Chippenham Town has been successful. The 11-goal striker was dismissed after just 22 minutes of the derby meeting following a clash with Matthew McEntegart that left the Bluebird’s defender needing seven stiches to a head wound. The referee – no doubt influenced by the hysterical reaction of both the Chippenham players and bench – judged that the injury had been caused by Walsh’s elbow but he always insisted that it had, in fact, been an accidential clash of heads. Fortunately, the video of the game clearly backed up Walsh’s version of the incident and it was this evidence that led to the FA upholding City’s claim for wrongful dismissal and withdrawing his three-match suspension, freeing him to play a part in City’s play-off bid for a Conference South place.
City have extended the deadline for their early bird season ticket offer. The discount will now be available until 3pm on May 1 when City’s play-off semi-final against either Bedford Town or Chippenham Town kicks-off. An early bird terrace season ticket costs £140, with £90 concessions, with a grandstand ticket costing £165, with £115 concessions.
To commemorate 10 years since Bristol Rovers left Twerton Park, a Bath City Forum XI will play a Bristol Rovers Forum XI on Tuesday 2 May 2006 with a 7:45pm kick-off. Proceeds from the match will be shared between Bath City Supporters Club and the Childrens Hospice South West – the official charity of the Great Bristol Fans Derby 2006. The date of the fixture means a lot to Rovers fans as it was the day of the promotion clincher against Bristol City at Twerton Park, way back in 1990. After the full time whistle, Charlie’s and RANDALLS will be open and highlights will be shown of Rovers days at Twerton Park, including the 1990 promotion season and the Bath City v Bristol Rovers FA Cup tie back in November 1994. Admission to the game will be free, however it is hoped that spectators will give generously to the various bucket collections taking place around the ground. In addition, there will be a matchday programme priced at £1 and a raffle after the game.
City ensured themselves a home semi-final play-off tie with either Chippenham Town or Bedford Town on Monday week with a 5-1 victory over Aylesbury United at a warm and sunny Buckingham Road this afternoon. Scott Rogers opened the scoring on 27 minutes with a great 25-yard shot before the Ducks were awarded a 38th minute penalty by the linesman and Gutzmore just managed to beat Chris Astley. The second half was eleven minutes old when Jon Holloway headed Rogers’ free-kick back across goal for Tony Bird to nod home from close range. Four minutes later the linesman was again holding the flag across his chest as City were awarded a penalty – a United defender adjudged to have handled Scott Partridge’s cross – which Holloway easily converted. Knowing a defeat would condemn them to relelgation the home side three caution to the wind but they rarely looked like getting back into the game. This approach left huge gaps at the back and on several occasions City had one or two men over but it was a typically powerful run by Andy Sandell that ended with City’s fourth goal with two minutes left. The final piece of comedy defending came in stoppage time when keeper Kirk misjudged a long ball forward, allowing it to bounce over his head 40 yards from goal, giving Craig Davidge an unchallenged run on goal and simple tap-in.
The victory – City’s biggest of the season and largest away league win since 1990 – means they can now finish no lower than 3rd place due to Chippenham Town and Bedford Town’s failure to beat Grantham Town and Halesowen Town respectively. With King’s Lynn squeezing past Cirencester Town 2-1 the sides meeting next Saturday will decide who finishes runner-up to champions Salisbury City.
City youth team’s hopes of defending their South West Counties Youth League title ended last night with a 4-0 defeat to New College Academy. Whilst goals from Gill (2), Whitbread and Cadden were condemning City to their biggest defeat of the season, Newport County were putting seven goals past Cirencester Academy to give them a six-point advantage with just one game left for both sides. The Welsh side can still be caught by Salisbury City, as they still have seven games to play, although they have to fitted in before Saturday 6 May. The youth team play their final game of the season against Weymouth this Saturday (22 April) at Twerton Park (ko 12 noon).
Centre-back Gethin Jones was named both supporters and players player of the season following yesterday’s meeting with Chippenham Town. The former Merthyr Tydfil player had a slightly shakey start to his City career having joined in the summer but since moving to his favoured defensive role has been superb alongside Matt Coupe. He received the awards from manager John Relish. The presentation also saw Martin Powell awarded the Dennis Hibberd memorial trophy for supporter of the season, Zack Muir receive the young supporters award and Mike Meheut and Simon Howe receive special supporter awards.
In front of the biggest Twerton Park league crowd in nearly 30 years City suffered a major setback in their pursuit of the runners-up spot in the Southern League with a 2-0 defeat against local rivals Chippenham Town. The turning point of the match came after just 22 minutes when Phil Walsh received a straight red card for elbowing McEntegart. Adie Harris and Matt Coupe could also have followed Walsh to an early bath, and Alex Sykes and Graeme Power also were cautioned. Chippenham took full advantage of City’s indiscipline, both in terms of constantly harranging the referee and, eventally, through two Dave Gilroy goals in the second half. The first goal came on 51 minutes through Gilroy’s close range finish from a corner and 13 minutes he shot under Paul Evans after turning Gethin Jones on the edge of the box. City battled to get back into the game but only a scrambled Scott Partridge effort against the post in the closing minutes came close to reducing the deficit.
Walsh’s red card will rule him out of the end of season play-offs and City also look set to be missing keeper Paul Evans. The South African returned to the side yesterday after missing the previous two games with a back injury only to suffer a recurrence of the problem that has now been diagnosed as a slipped disc.
Whilst City were crashing to Chippenham, Salisbury City were securing the Southern League Premier Division title with a 1-0 win at Tiverton Town.
City returned to winning ways yesterday with a hard fought 2-1 victory over struggling Evesham United. The Midlands side are battling for their Premier Division survival and pushed City all the way. Man of the match Phil Walsh had already forced a fine low save out of Vaughan before he reached an Alex Sykes 20th minute corner in front of the keeper to head home. Matt Coupe then headed another corner onto the bar but after 37 minutes City suffered a blow when Steve Jones was carried off with a cut head. On the stroke of half time Evesham levelled through Blake’s neat finish. The second half saw City on top and eleven minutes after the break Scott Partridge sent Sykes running clear and he confidently slotted the ball home. Evesham came back well but Chris Astley’s handling was excellent and only a Smith shot that hit the top of the bar ever came close to denying City the three points.
In an amazing outburst reminiscent of the final weeks of his predecessor Steve White, Chippenham Town boss Darren Perrin has labelled City midfielder Jon Holloway one of the worst Conference players of all time. The former Paulton Rovers boss, who has seen his side falter as the season reaches it’s crucial stage, was reacting to an innocent comment made by Holloway that he would love to see City beat their local rivals in the play-offs. Perrin’s bizarre response was to refer to an unnamed website saying, “That came from a player who rarely gets in their first team and on a website was voted worst conference player of all time.” The sides meet at Twerton Park tomorrow.
City will continue its support for Dorothy House Hospice Care by holding a half-time bucket collection for the charity at its Easter Monday game against Chippenham Town. The collection at the club’s last home game of the season will be the latest in a series of fundraisers for the Winsley-based hospice, which looks after patients from Bath, parts of Somerset and west Wiltshire. Earlier this year, City nominated Dorothy House to receive a cheque for £5000 from the FA Community Shield fund, following its success in reaching the first round of the 2004-05 FA Cup competition.
Somewhat bizzarely given that the month saw them suffer their first league defeat of 2006 City have been named Premier Division GX Soccer Team of the Month. Although both Gloucester City and King’s Lynn recorded 100% records during the month the fact that City played two more matches than those sides, including the 0-0 draw at Salisbury City, meant they secured 13 points compared to the Tigers and Linnets total of 12.
Two goals from Kane Ingram and one from John Locke helped City’s youth team overcome a one goal deficit and run out 3-1 winners against Eastleigh on Saturday. Williams had given the home the lead after 30 minutes but Ingram fired home the equaliser just before the interval. The second half saw City on top but fail to create many clear cut chances. However, with ten minutes remaining Ingram’s free-kick was scrambled home by Locke. Moments later Ingram hammered in goal number three – his 24th strike of the season – to secure the victory which puts City back on top of the South West Counties Youth League. (Thanks to Alan Finney for the match details and photo).
City missed the chance to open up a four point gap in second place this afternoon after they were beat 1-0 by Cheshunt. Whilst King’s Lynn were losing 3-0 at home to Merthyr Tydfil, City were being frustrated by Cheshunt keeper Martin Peat, who produced a string of fine saves to vitually assure their Premier Division status for another season. He was, however, almost embarassed by a Scott Partridge shot on 7 minutes when he lost his footing and could only watch the ball drift wide of the goal. From then on he produced a fautless performance, with fine saves from Partridge, Jon Holloway and Tony Bird. By contrast City keeper Chris Astly – in for the injured Paul Evans – had almost nothing to do until midway through the second half when he tipped a free-kick onto the post. On 68 minutes though he was beaten from another free-kick, Deane’s 22 yard effort finding the corner of the net. City threw on Craig Davidge and Phil Walsh but with the bumpy uneven pitch and strong crosswind making good football difficult they failed to find an equaliser.
City have annouced details of their early bird season ticket offer for the 2006-07 season. Fans who purchase a ticket before April 28 will only pay £140.00 for an adult terrace or £165.00 for an adult grandstand ticket (with reductions for OAP/Students). And this deal will stand even if City win promotion to the Conference South. For full details click here and to download an application click here.
City’s title hopes received a major setback this evening when Salisbury City beat King’s Lynn 3-1 at the Walks Stadium. The victory for the Whites moves them three points clear of City with a game still in hand. On the plus side, the defeat of third place Lynn, ending their eight game winning run, keeps City in second place and increases their chances of securing home advantage in the play-offs. In tonight’s other Southern League match, Merthyr beat Evesham by … ummm, actually, I don’t care, sorry.
Prior to Saturday’s vital 1-0 win over Rugby Town, City began looking toward next season with the signing of Craig Davidge (pictured) on a contract until May 2007. The pacy winger – nicknamed the ‘greased whippet’ on the City message board – joined from Brislington in November 2005 on non-contract terms and, despite making all bar two of his 22 appearances as substitute, has shown great potential.
City secured themselves an end of season play-off place at worst yesterday with a narrow but deserved 1-0 win over Rugby Town. After a bright opening the visitors produced the sort of negative performance that has thankfully been reasonably rare at Twerton Park this season. This left it to City to dominate possession but clear cut openings were few and far between, Scott Rogers’ shot over the bar the from a narrow angle the closest they came in the first half. The interval saw Craig Davidge replace Andy Sandell and his pace lifted City’s game but it wasn’t until the 66th minute introduction of Phil Walsh that City’s dominance produced a final product. Five minutes later Jim Rollo’s deep centre was headed home by Walsh via the right hand post. Scott Partridge, Alex Sykes and Gethin Jones all went close to increasing City’s lead but with Rugby unable to get out of their defensive mindset, even after Walsh’s goal, that was comfortably enough to secure the win.
The three points leaves City in second place, level on points with leaders Salisbury City. The Whites left it late to beat Banbury United, Matthews grabbing the winner a minute from time in a 2-1 scoreline. Third place King’s Lynn recorded their eighth successive win with a routine 3-1 victory at Mangotsfield United. However, Chippenham Town title hopes were dented after they dropped two points in a 1-1 draw at home to City’s next opponents Cheshunt United.