Graham Colbourne put last season disappointments further behind him, scoring twice in this afternoon’s 2-0 win over Merthyr Tydfil at Penydarren Park, his fourth and fifth strikes of the season, and in the process lifted City to the summit of the Dr Martens Premier Division. The first came after just eight minutes when he slid home Martin Paul’s great cross as City dominated the early exchanges. Paul was also the provider for Colbourne’s second on 75 minutes heading Stuart James’ centre across the face of goal, where the big striker dived to head City to the top of the table. As with previous games City were penned back in their half for long periods as the home side dominated possession but with Colin Towler and Kevin Lloyd again outstanding, plus Elliot Jackson pulling off a couple of fine saves, City again stood firm. The start of five wins and a draw now represents City’s best start to a season for years, even better than the Southern League championship season of 1977/78 (3 wins, 3 draws), although they have a way to go to match the 29 game unbeaten start to that season. A 1-0 defeat for Boston at Ilkeston and Margate’s goalless draw at Cambridge City were enough to see City leap to the top spot at this very early stage of the season.
City showed that they didn’t use up all their luck in the opening win over Burton Albion as they grabbed an undeserved 2-1 win over Grantham Town at Twerton Park today. A dubious penalty after half hour, for a push on Graham Colbourne, was converted by Martin Paul to give City the lead. Chances for Mark Harrington and Paul could have increased the lead but into the second half the visitors scored a well-earned equaliser. With City still struggling to find any rhythm, and Grantham, despite the majority of possession, not looking particularly threatening, the game looked set to finish level. However, with five minutes remained a Paul Bodin corner (which had looked City’s only real chance of another goal) found Mike Davis at the far post and he headed over a crowded goal line. The win keeps City third after Boston United and Margate recorded victories, 5-1 over Clevedon and 3-2 against Ilkeston, respectively.
Well, it’s taken a time coming but there is at last some sort of competition in the field of Bath City web pages. Having previously covered City on a rather hit and miss basis the three local newspapers, The Bath Chronicle, Western Daily Press and The Evening Post have now got a dedicated City page on their respective web sites. The page featues news articles and match reports taken from the papers, and a photo gallery with pictures from the Swindon friendly and the Burton game. It also has a message board/chat room which various people have asked me to provide on this page, so now I don’t need to. And the link to the new page is www.thisisbath.com/sport/bath_fc.html . It also credits this page as being the offical Bath City site which is nice of them.
City registered their second 2-0 victory in three days as they beat Atherstone United at Twerton Park tonight. The highlight of the game was a stunning second half run by player manager Paul Bodin the left three Atherstone defenders in his wake and gave Mike Davis a simple tap in. This doubled City’s lead after Graham Colbourne had headed them ahead after 30 minutes from a Davis cross. A Martin Paul shot against the post and a great save by Molker, from another Colbourne header, could have given the score an even better look, but it was another improved performance where City never looked like conceding a goal. The only worry was Colbourne limping off towards the end, although I could mention a incredibly inept performance by the referee but, as we won, I’ll let it go.
On the injury front, Jon Holloway, who limped off after just 25 minutes of the Saturday’s win over Cambridge City with a recurrance of a back injury, should be fit to face Atherstone United at Twerton Park tomorrow night.
City made it seven points out a possible nine with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cambridge City. After dominating the opening half hour City finally made their pressure pay when a neat lay-off by Graham Colbourne was fired into the roof of the net by Mark Harrington. Having lost influential midfielder Jon Holloway a couple of minutes prior City then lost their way somewhat, but despite conceding a lot of possession to the home side they always looked in control. The closest Cambridge came to an equaliser was a shot against the outside of the post that Jackson looked to have covered. Into stoppage time City grabbed their second when Colbourne got in front of his marker to head home a Walker free kick. With two home games to come against Atherstone and Grantham City have a great opportunity to continue their good start to the season and keep in touch with early pace setters Boston United.
Despite a vastly improved performance City narrowly failed to register their second win of the season, having to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw at Dorchester Town’s Avenue Stadium. After again starting slowly, shades of Saturday’s battle with Burton, City finally got into their stride shortly before half-time and went on to dominate the second period. Only poor finishing from Graham Colbourne, Martin Paul and Jon Holloway, in an otherwise brilliant debut, prevented City earning a deserved victory. At the back Kevin Lloyd and Colin Towler were again outstanding, the former already looking a great signing. Right at the death City did have a close escape, Harrington clearing an O’Hagan header off the line, but other than that it was a showing that left City’s 100+ travelling fans more optimistic about a good season than Saturday’s Burton victory.
Okay, lets be honest right at the beginning of the season, City were very, very lucky to open their new campaign with a 2-1 victory over Burton Albion at Twerton Park this afternoon. First half goals from Graham Colbourne, knocking home a Bodin corner, and Scott Walker, a stoppage time header, had given City a 2-0 interval lead. Albion pulled a goal back at the start of the second half and after that it was all the visitors, as they produced a hatful of chances and, thankfully, a hatful of misses. Penalty box ping-pong, goalline clearances, open goal misses, last ditch tackles, excellent saves, you name it, Burton produced it, but finally, after 9 minutes of stoppage time the referee’s whistle signed the end of the torment and a welcome three points. Man of the match was debutant Kevin Lloyd and keeper Elliot Jackson also had an excellent game, with a series of fine stops, and if City ride their luck like this all season it’s the Conference here we come.
After coming through the previous four friendlies that he featured in unscathed, ex-City captain Nicky Brooks has suffered an injury set back, pulling up with a groin strain in last nights 3-2 defeat at Caldicott. While the injury is unrelated to the serious knee trouble that threatened his career, he will definately miss City’s opening game against Burton Albion on Saturday and may face a 2 week lay-off. More positively the game saw Fidell Richards play his first 90 minutes since his ankle injury against Bristol Rovers. City’s young side led the Welsh League side 2-0, through strikes from Gould and Taylor, before three second half goals gave Caldicott a 3-2 victory.
With the exception of Brooks, and the suspended Jon Holloway, Paul Bodin has a full strength squad to pick from as City begin their league campaign with a home game against Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion side on Saturday. Graham Colbourne has returned from his honeymoon, although the big striker wasn’t risked in last nights match, Martin Paul has overcome his recent illness, and Mike Davis has recovered from the facial knock he received at Weston last Saturday.
City completed their pre-season preparations with their poorest performance as two Weston Super Mare goals in the final twenty minutes gave the home side a 2-0 win. The first came after Jackson conceded his second penalty in two games and, despite saving the spot kick, he was beaten from the rebound. Another mistake by the keeper (which I missed as I was reading the programme) 10 minutes later gave Weston a simple second from a far post header. This capped a disappointing second half performance in which City failed to stretch former keeper Dave Mogg in the Weston goal. The first half saw them create a couple of chances and a strong penalty shout, when Harrington was felled in the box, but, on a hard and bumpy pitch, they never really produced any great threat to the home side. The final reserve team friendly, at Caldicott on Wednesday, will probably see a few first teamers getting a final run-out before the season proper begins at home to Burton Albion next Saturday.
After completing his first full game at Highworth on Wednesday, Nicky Brooks is to be given two more games, tomorrow against Weston Super Mare and next Tuesday at Caldicott, to prove his fitness and earn a new contract at City. His performance in the Highworth defeat, his first 90 minute performance since April 1998, impressed Bodin sufficiently to give the former captain further chances, although he may only be offered a match by match contract until it is clear he is over his knee injury. One player who has turned down the offer of a similar contract is Lee Collier. The former green scummer is now set to sign for either Paulton Rovers or Chippenham Town.
Just a couple of days after being released from City Dave Elsey came back to haunt City, scoring from the penalty spot for his new club Mangotsfield United, in the 1-1 draw at Cossham Street tonight. Only a 20-yard shot from Lee Collier, midway through the second half, saved City from an embarrassing defeat. United’s penalty came after a foul by keeper Elliot Jackson just after the half hour. Despite dominating the second period City failed to convert their chances into goals, with the home keeper pulling off a series of good saves.
City have received one setback before the season starts with the news that new signing Jon Holloway will miss the opening game against Burton Albion due to a suspension picked up for his former club Gloucester City. The midfielder was booked in last seasons Gloucestershire Cup Final and misses one match as a consequence.
With the news that ex-Cardiff City defender Kevin Lloyd has signed a one year contract, City boss Paul Bodin has released centre-back Dave Elsey. The 23-year old, who made 30 starting appearances last season, scoring the winning goal at Grantham, had returned to City for pre-season training in an attempt to earn a new contract but despite impressing Bodin with his commitment and fitness, the signature of Lloyd has filled City’s quota of defenders. Elsey will now look to Mangotsfield United to return to action, and may feature against City in tomorrows night friendly at Cossham Street.