A Graham MacLean header 15 minutes from time completed a great fightback by City at Twerton Park this afternoon, as they came from two down to beat Havant & Waterlooville by three goals to two. As at Merthyr on Saturday City again showed their weakness against the ariel route, Taylor twice heading past Bibbo in the opening twenty minutes. A Colbourne header cleared off the line and a MacLean shot against the bar almost got City back in the game, before Davis made no mistake, firing home Bodin’s long pass just after the half hour. The second half saw City push forward and after 58 minutes a Davis cross was headed home by Colbourne to level the scores. There was now only likely to be one winner and when MacLean rose to convert Clode’s centre the comeback was complete. The victory lifts City back to fifth spot behind early season pacesetters Welling United.
City were denied their opening away victory of the season after Merthyr Tydfil scored in the 9th minute of stoppage time to leave the game level at three goals each. City’s 3-2 lead disappeared when Summers headed home a free kick, completing a full set for the Welsh side as City struggled all afternoon against the ariel threat. The opening goal came after hesitation from Bibbo allowed Abraham’s to head home a free kick on eight minutes. City’s equaliser arrived just after the half hour mark, Fraser converting MacLean’s cross from close range, but a minute after the break another Abraham header put the home side back ahead. MacLean missed a great opportunity to level the game again, after Thomas had dropped a Fraser shot, but Holloway made no mistake on 56 minutes, heading a Davis cross into the corner of the net. City went ahead for the first time ten minutes later when MacLean’s cross was fired home from close range by Colbourne. The substitute then headed against the bar which would have sealed the win, but Merthyr, with the referee’s considerable assistance, weren’t to be denied their third draw of the season.
Two goals from Sam Allison and penalty from Wayne Cleverley helped City Reserves to their first victory of the season, a 3-1 success at Corsham Town. All the goals came in the second period as Allison and Cleverley put City two goals ahead, before Kilmurray pulled one back for the home side. Any hopes of a comeback by Corsham were finally killed off when Allison grabbed his second near the end. The Reserves make their opening bow at Twerton Park on Saturday with a local derby against Team Bath, who feature a number of ex-City players including Fidell Richards, Tom Gould and Danny Hazelhurst.
City’s first trip of the season saw them earn a point in a entertaining goalless draw with Worcester City at St Georges Lane tonight. The stalemate saw both sides create chances to win the game but a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing kept the game scoreless. The home side went the closest in a first half that saw neat approach play from each team but few chances, when Owen headed against Bibbo’s bar. The second period saw City pushed back but an excellent display by the centre-back pairing of Towler and Tisdale, plus three excellent stops by Bibbo denied Worcester. City finished the stronger, White and Lloyd both missing clear heading opportunities before MacLean’s clear run on goal saw Hayward produce a fine save. The draw means City have begun the season in exactly the same fashion as last year, with a 2-1 home win followed by a nil-nil away result.
City began their 2000-01 Dr Martens campaign with a deserved 2-1 victory over new boys Folkestone Invicta, but they had to come from a goal behind to do it. City struggled to find any pattern to their play in the early exchanges, although MacLean was denied by a brilliant point-blank save from keeper Wietecha, and the visitors took the lead on 18 minutes, Chambers converting Ayling’s cross from 10 yards. This finally woke City up and three minutes later they levelled. Bodin’s chip forward was knocked on by MacLean and man of the match Fraser rounded Wietecha before rolling the ball home. City then dominated the game and only a series of excellent saves from Wieticha kept the game level. However, with 20 minutes remaining City finally broke through. Substitute Walker’s deep cross found Fraser and his centre was converted from close range by MacLean, to continue his excellent pre-season goalscoring form. The final five minutes saw a eventful return to action for Graham Colbourne. The big striker, who has been out of action since December last year, should have scored when Bodin’s pass put him one on one with Wietecha, before getting involved with Chambers that saw the Invicta player leave the field with a facial injury.
Kevin Lloyd and Graham Colbourne, whose absence for the latter part for last season played a major part in City disappointing finish to the campaign, have both signed new one year contracts having fought back to fitness during the summer. Centre-back Lloyd, who had surgery on a back injury, turned down several interested clubs to remain at Twerton Park and should start against Folkestone Invicta this afternoon. Although Colbourne did not feature in any of City’s pre-season friendlies he may start today’s league opener on the bench after coming through a practice match in the week.
The match against Premier Division newcomers Folkstone may see Steve White make his first league start for over a year as top scorer Martin Paul is struggling with an ankle injury. The 41-year will partner young hotshot Graham MacLean if Birdy fails to overcome the knock.
After a series of pre-season defeats City recorded a welcome win in the final friendly outing, with goals from Graham MacLean, his fifth strike of the summer games, and Jimmy Fraser giving them a 2-1 victory over Mangotsfield United. MacLean opened the scoring on six minutes, beating two defenders before firing past keeper Wakeley. The Dr Martens newcomers equalised ten minutes later from the penalty spot. Edwards beating Bibbo from 12 yards after the keeper had brought down Sims. The winning goal came with 20 minutes remaining, Fraser capitalising on a poor pass from Hendy to beat Wakely from the edge of the box.
City’s reserves began their season with a narrow 2-1 defeat against local rivals Larkhall Athletic, despite taking a first half lead. The goal came after 31 minutes when Scott headed a Hopkins corner home. This was no less than City deserved but the second half saw the home side begin to take control and the equaliser came on 55 minutes, Peters beating Ganfield with a well taken lob. The keeper then produced a stunning save from Osbourne but he then misjudged a Bryant corner allowing Osbourne to head home the winning goal.
Nicky Brooks almost made a triumphant return to Twerton Park as he played the opening 20 minutes against Southampton, helping City to take a one goal lead. However, goals either side of the interval gave the Premiership side a two goal to one victory. A large crowd braved the heavy rain to pay tribute to the former City captain, now plying this trade at Mangotsfield United. The Saints, fielding a mixture of first team players, including Dean Richards, Francis Benali and Jo Tessum, and youngsters fell behind after 14 minutes when Graham MacLean grabbed his fourth goal of the pre-season, latching on to defensive hesitation to slide the ball home. They levelled 10 minutes before the break with a well taken goal from Tessum, before Bridge struck the winner in the second half. City will meet up with Brooks again on Saturday as they visit Mangotsfield in their final friendly, before they entertain Folkestone in their opening league game a week later.
Star defender Kevin Lloyd played his first 45 minutes of football since February, but couldn’t prevent City slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Screwfix League side Paulton Rovers. The former Cardiff City man, who absence from the side with a back injury played such a large part in City’s decline last season, returned to the action at the interval of the friendly clash at a sunny Athletic Ground. The winning goal came midway through the first half when Sal Bibbo was beaten by a looping header, and further chances could have made for a more embarrassing scoreline, as the home side were led well by ex-City player Gary Smart. On the positive side City produced periods of neat football and went close through Jon Holloway, Graham MacLean and Paul Bodin.
City’s latest pre-season friendly ended in a 2-1 defeat against 3rd Division Cardiff City, but any disappointment at the scoreline was overcome by the performance of young striker Graham MacLean. The former Canadian Youth player fired home City’s goal, and also saw another effort strike a post, as he put foward a strong claim for a place alongside Martin Paul in City front line. The goal came after 14 minutes when MacLean collected a Paul flick to cooly beat Hailworth in the Cardiff goal. Despite a number of chances for the Welsh side City held this lead until the 76th minute when Giles’ shot beat Ganfield. The winning goal came in the closing seconds, Brayson applying the finishing touch to Low’s corner.
The final of City’s second chance trio, Peter Tisdale, looks set to be offered a new one-year contract. The defender turned out for Queens Park Rangers in a trial match on Saturday but featured for City in last night’s Cardiff defeat, and with a final year at Bath University ahead, should sign a new deal shortly.