Crawley ended City’s unbeaten start to the season at Twerton Park by nicking a 1-0 victory with the decisive goal coming in the opening 60 seconds of the second half. With their two most creative players – Jamie Gosling and Frankie Bennett – missing though injury City struggled to break down their limited opponents and, although they were the poorest side they’d faced this season, Steven’s close range shot was enough to seal the three points. The first half had belonged solely to City with Adrian Foster screwing their best chance well wide. However, once the visitors had taken the lead City seemed to result to long hopeful balls forward that even the Crawley defence could cope with. The only way an equaliser looked likely was via suspect keeper Little but he got away with a couple of howlers that Andy Williams and Dan Cleverley couldn’t take advantage of.
Following the surprise departure of Dave Hobbs after just one game of the new season Lee Burns has taken over the position of reserve team manager. The former Chippenham Town defender, who has been in temporary control since Hobbs quit, has been handed the job permanantly and will be assisted by Nigel Gillard. The appointment is no shock as both players carried out coaching roles under Hobbs and will look to continue the excellent progress the team made under their former manager.
Jamie Gosling should be out of action for just three weeks after he was injured when a section of the perimeter wall at Chippenham’s Hardenhuish Park collasped on him during yesterday’s game. Initial fears that the midfielder could have suffered a broken ankle were dispelled after a visit to the RUH and the injury was identified as ligament damage to both ankles. The Wiltshire side have instigated an investigation into the incident that could have been so much worse, although incredibly the club’s secretary has attempted to blame the 19-year old City star for causing the problem. He said, “the referee told me as far as he is concerned Jamie incited the crowd and because of him the fans rushed forward. He embraced them and that’s against the rules.” Clearly both Jamie and the 30 or so City fans who lent on the wall should have realised that it was only for cosmetic purposes and not designed to provide a secure and safe barrier between the terrace and pitch.
In an incredible afternoon at Hardenhuish Park City overcame local rivals Chippenham Town by two goals to one – with Chippenham’s equalising goal and City’s winner coming deep in injury time – but their joy was tempered by a serious ankle injury suffered by Jamie Gosling. The incident that saw Gosling suffer a suspected broken ankle came after he fired home a 28th penalty to give City the lead. He ran to celebrate the goal with the City fans behind the goal but as around twenty fans moved forward the perimeter wall collasped on the player. The game was delayed for 20 minutes while the remains of the wall were removed and Gosling was taken to hospital. Once it restarted City were clearly affected by these events and they struggled to build on the advantage that followed Davies clear push on Paul Milsom. However, the action on the pitch amazingly managed to surpass this incident. For all their possession it looked as it the home side were heading for a single goal defeat as the game entered its fifth minute of stoppage time. This was until a long ball forward lead to hesitation between Mark Bryant and a City defender allowing Griffen to stab home an equalising goal. This saw uncontrolled scenes of celebration from the Chippenham ranks lead by manager Tommy Saunders, who ran 20 yards onto the pitch to guesture obscenely at the downcast City fans. However, the grin was wiped off the face of the self-confessed City fan 30 seconds later. From the kick off the ball found its way to Andy Williams. For the first time in the game he beat his marker and sent in a low teasing cross that keeper Thompson could only push out toward the edge of the box. Waiting there were Milsom and Dean Birky and it was the latter who gleefully sent the ball flying into the roof of the net. And we all thought last season at Worcester was good. Thanks Dean, get well soon Jamie and Tommy – unlucky mate.
City’s reserve side fell to their second defeat of the season at Dawlish yesterday but the game did see goalkeeper Mark Hervin get on the scoresheet from an injury time corner. A goal in each half had put the Devon side in control before Hervin, back in action after missing the start of the season due to a wisdom teeth operation, ran the length of the pitch to score with what turned out to be the final kick of the game. This is the second time the keeper has scored in City’s colours after he fired home a penalty against Wellington in a 1997 Somerset Premier Cup tie. He has also twice successfully converted spot kicks in penalty shoot outs. The match also saw the return to action of Paul Milsom after his calf problems.
Second half strikes from Jamie Gosling and Dan Cleverley gave City their first victory of the season as Folkestone Invicta were sent back to Kent on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline. Gosling’s goal came from a 56th minute penalty after Jason Eaton was felled in the box before Cleverley completed the scoring, heading home a Mike Trought cross with eight minutes remaining. The two goals gave a true reflection on the game as City always held the upper hand, although against the run of play it was the visitors who went closest in the first half when a speculative long range effort came back off the underside of Mark Bryant’s bar. For all City’s possessional superiority it took a somewhat debatable penalty award (making up for Tuesday!) to break the deadlock after which they never looked back. The result leaves City in seventh position, one place about Monday’s opposition Chippenham Town.
City battled out their second 1-1 draw of the season against Havant & Waterlooville at Twerton Park but were left rueing an astonishing refereeing decision that denied a late penalty and the chance of deservedly grabbing all three points. With just a couple of minutes remaining Jamie Gosling’s ball over the top sent Frankie Bennett clear on goal only for the last Havant defender to clearly pull him to the ground a yard in the box. The referee immediately blew up but inexplicably awarded an indirect free-kick on the edge of the area. When this came to nothing City were left fustrated but it was another promising performance against one of the leagues fancied sides. They had taken the lead midway through the first half when Gosling latched onto a dreadful back pass before firing home. The equaliser came in stoppage time when Haughton beat Mark Bryant from 10 yards. This was no leass than Havant deserved but the second period saw City get stronger as the game wore on. Gosling, Dan Cleverley and Bennett all forced smart stops from keeper Keer and this pressure looked to have finally paid dividends when Bennett hit the ground. The referee thought different.
City’s reserve team manager Dave Hobbs has surprisingly quit just one game into the new season. Hobbs, who lead his side to promotion from the Screwfix Western League Division One lasts season, refused to explain his suddent departure but revealed “certain promises that were made have since been broken”. It is believed that these promises concerned the opportunities of his players to the first team. It has previously been rumoured that Hobbs was unhappy at the limited first team chances reserve players were getting last season and it appears that he feels that situation will not change this campaign. The most likely replacement for him is reserve player/coach Lee Burns.
A 58th minute header by Jason Eaton helped City overcome a single goal half time deficit and begin the new season with a solid 1-1 draw against Ilkeston Town this afternoon. This was the least the side deserved as they produced an impressive performance on a very hot afternoon. Only a series of excellent stops by home keeper Smith – although he was at fault for the goal, failing to gather an Andy Williams cross under pressure from Adrian Foster – prevented City from returning with all three points. Jamie Gosling, Frankie Bennett, and Williams were all denied by the keeper, and Gosling and Eaton saw efforts fly narrowly wide. City shot-stopper Mark Bryant also produced a couple of vital blocks, but could do nothing to deny ex-Bristol Rovers forward Mark Walters from giving Ilson a first half lead with a low left foot shot. City suffered another first half blow when Mike Trought limped off with a groin problem and he is now struggling for Tuesday’s home clash with Havant & Waterlooville.
With just three days to go before the start of the new season City manager has put out an appeal for financial help to complete his squad building. He is desperate to secure the services of keeper Mark Bryant but has no money left in his budget to sign the former Weston Super Mare shot-stopper. And with reserve no.1 Ray Johnston set to be out of action for up to two months with an ankle injury the search for a second keeper has become a priority. With the new rule allowing up to five substitutes in the Dr Martens League this season Pridham had hoped to have three first team keepers but this will now depend on someone coming forward to provide the necessary cash. One player who will be staying at Twerton Park despite the lack of cash is Dean Birkby. The striker, who featured in all but one of City’s pre-season friendlies, has agreed to play for nothing after turning down a possible move to Weymouth.
There is a chance for all City supporters to put their questions to the clubs board of directors at Twerton Park tomorrow night (15/7). The meeting will be held in Randall’s and begins at 7.30pm.
City completed their pre-season campaign yesterday with a narrow defeat at the hands of Mangotsfield United. However, it was another solid performance with both of the home side’s goals coming during a flurry of City substitutions and at a time when, understandably, the players attention was probably on more important matters in a weeks time. Up to this point City had led through a Jason Eaton goal after just six minutes. He turned Frankie Bennett’s cross home from close range and, despite a couple of strong penalty shouts for Mangotsfield, City deservedly held this advantage at the interval. Two goals in four minutes changed the course of the game as Sims fired a 66th minute shot past trialist keeper Mark Bryant and then Edwards flicked the ball home from a Seal cross. City had a couple of chances after this to draw level but failed to take them and now their thoughts can turn to the start of the league season in one weeks time. Thanks to Mark Stillman for providing details on the game as I was making a 400 mile round trip to see the only goalless game in the Football League yesterday.
Former Yeovil Town midfielder Ellis Wilmot has become City’s latest summer recruit after he signed a one year deal following last nights goalless draw with Cardiff City. The 22-year old, who played for Team Bath last season, completed the deal after impressing in City’s last three friendlies. And joining him in committing to City for the forthcoming season is ex-Cirencester defender Andy Minturn, with former teammate Gary Horgan set to sign later this week.
City continued their impressive pre-season form holding a strong Cardiff City side to a goalless draw at Twerton Park this evening. With the Welsh side featuring former Manchester City stars Margetson and Prior plus full international Legg the game saw the City defence face it sternest test so far. However, with keeper Mark Bryant producing a series of excellent saves plus another solid performance from Mike Trought City withstood all that the Bluebirds threw at them. At the other the closest City came to scoring was from a Jamie Gosling shot that narrowly cleared the bar just before the interval.
Paul Milsom looks set to miss the start of the season following the left calf injury he sustained in the pre-match warm up before Saturday’s clsh with Cinderford. The big striker, who missed the final couple of months of last season with a knee injury, had recovered from a similar problem in his right calf before this setback.
First half goals from Jason Drysdale and Ellis Wilmot saw City record their fifth warm-up win out of six in a 2-0 victory over Cinderford Town. Drysdale struck from the penalty spot on 12 minutes after Jason Eaton was fouled and two minutes later Wilmot curled a left foot shot past the home keeper. In a fairly low key encounter City never looked like relinquishing this advantage and trialist keeper Mark Bryant did not have a difficult save to make. The game saw the return to action of last seasons top scorer Adrian Foster when he replaced Jason Eaton after 55 minutes, although Paul Milsom suffered a recurrence of his calf injury in the warm-up so missed the match.
Frome Town striker Beppe Sorbara and French midfielder Bertrand Cozic have both joined Team Bath.
Following the High Court ruling that has almost certainly ended Bath RFC hopes of redeveloping the Recreation Ground City have offered the troubled rugby club a ground lifeline. Chairman Steve Hall has invited the club to join in the campaign for a new stadium on the west side of the city, either by extending Twerton Park or building on the Newton St Loe playing fields. The decision to give the Recreation Ground charitable trust status effectively ended hopes of building a 16,000 all seater stadium on the site but, according to Hall, may prove a blessing in disguise for both clubs. “In a way it takes everyone’s eyes off the Rec and forces people to look to the western edge of the city as a potential site for a new stadium. We have seven acres at Twerton and five acres at Newton St Loe and the owners want to maximise the use of the land. Twerton in particular can afford to have a larger capacity and that can be done relatively easily.” Hall has already drated a letter to the council outlining his thoughts on the situation.
In an idea shamelessly stolen from the Manchester City web site you can now use your computer desktop as a handy reference for all City Dr Martens Premier Division fixtures for the 2002-03 campaign. There are three different backgrounds to choose from and the wallpapers come in both 1024×768 and 800×600 sizes. And as a bonus they also include the dates of all the FA Trophy and FA Cup rounds. They can all be found on the downloads page.