August 2010

Wrexham defeat sees ‘tired’ City slip into bottom four (31/8/10)

A goal in each half condemned City to a 2-0 defeat yesterday against Wrexham that saw them slip into the Blue Square Bet Premier bottom four. After a bright 20 minute spell the hectic opening schedule seemed to catch up with City and they were soon struggling to compete with the full-time Welsh side. City fell behind on 28 minutes when they failed to deal with a long throw allowing Morrell a simple header from six yards out. Just before the hour mark the visitors doubled their lead when Smith headed home a Keates free-kick. Although City never gave up after this they rarely looked like finding a way back into the game and the Dragons comfortably maintained their advantage to slightly relieve the pressure on under-fire manager Dean Saunders.

PREVIEW: CITY v Wrexham – Blue Square Bet Premier (29/8/10)

City will look to heap more misery on under-pressure manager Dean Saunders when his Wrexham side visit Twerton Park tomorrow for their first ever meeting with City. The match will be his 100th in charge of the Dragons but he is coming under increasing pressure following their shaky start to the season. They began the campaign with a single goal victory over Cambridge United but followed this with defeats against Forest Green Rovers (3-0) and Eastbourne Borough (4-3). In the next outing they raced into a two-goal lead after just six minutes against Kidderminster Harries only to let this advantage slip, having to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw. They also drew their last game against Barrow, but will have been pleased to get this having trailed 1-0 deep into stoppage time when an own-goal denied the Cumbrian side a win. They currently sit just one place above the Blue Square Bet Premier relegation zone although with the same points total as City three places above them.

Former Welsh international Saunders, who is also currently assistant manager to his national side, received the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ from his chairman Ian Roberts prior to the Barrow game but appears to have lost the support of a number of Wrexham fans, chants of ‘Saunders out’ ringing around the Racecourse Ground as they threw away the two-goal lead versus Harriers. Roberts revealed that he is operating under budget cuts of 30-35% but prior to the season Saunders admitted that a play-off place was the minimum the club should be aiming for and at the moment that looks an optimistic target. He oversaw considerable changes to his squad, with eleven new arrivals including midfield playmaker Dean Keates – the new captain – and former Reds favourite Andy Morrell plus Trinidad defender Marvin Andrews. Another summer signing was goalkeeper Scott Shearer but he has also been the target of fan frustration, including a confrontation in the car park after the Kidderminster match.

As one of the oldest surviving football clubs in the UK, Wrexham spent 87 years playing in the Football League after being elected to the newly formed Third Division North of the Football League in 1921. Amongst the highlights of this time were a run to the last eight of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1975-76, going out to eventual winners Anderlecht, and a famous FA Cup win over then league champions Arsenal in a 1991-92 3rd Round tie. However, the start of this century saw the club suffer a number of off the field problems. Then chairman Alex Hamilton attempted to get the club evicted from its Racecourse Ground home and in December 2004 they were placed in financial administration by the High Court in Manchester owing £2,600,000, including £800,000 to the Inland Revenue in unpaid taxes. Wrexham then had the dubious honour of becoming the first League club to suffer a ten-point deduction under the new rule for being placed in administration. Hamilton lost a court case in October 2005 (and an appeal six months later) which meant the club could remain at the Racecourse Ground and in April 2006 local car dealer Neville Dickens took over, taking them out of administrations and avoiding automatic relegation from the Football League. Despite this on the pitch they were still struggling and only avoided relegation to the Football Conference on the final day of the 2006-07 season with a win over Boston United (managed of course by Steve Evans – no comment) that condemned the Pilgrims to the drop instead. There was no such escape the next year despite the appointment of experienced former Aston Villa manager Brian Little in November 2007 and Wrexham were finally relegated following a 2–0 defeat away at Hereford United, ending the clubs 87 year stay in the Football League. Hopes of a swift return to the Football League were boosted by a 5-0 win over Stevenage Borough to open the 2008-09 season, however results soon dipped and Little was replaced by Saunders in October 2008. He started his managerial reign with five successive wins but had to settle for 10th place at the end of that campaign. Last season saw little improvement, in fact they finished one place lower, and it would appear that Saunders future is very much in the balance.

After his red card against Forest Green, City captain Lewis Hogg will begin his three match suspension tomorrow (none of this waiting two weeks at Conference national level) which could see Hector Mackie making his first start of the season. Manager Adie Britton will hope that no one picked up any knocks in Saturday’s game but may want to freshen up his starting XI, particularly up front where Jake Reid impressed in his cameo outing at the New Lawn.

Ten man City dig deep to come away from the Forest with a point (28/8/10)

City will consider it a point gained this afternoon after they played the last half hour of the goalless draw against Forest Green Rovers with ten men. Lewis Hogg was the Roman who saw red for a dreadful two-footed lunge on Fowler after he had lost control of the ball. Prior to this the home side had shaded a poor game and understandably put City under considerable pressure following Hogg’s madness but lacked the quality to find a winning goal. Rovers main threat for the whole game came from Herring’s long throws, as early as the second minute Else struck the post when one dropped to him eight yards out. The same player hit the post again in the second period but apart from those close calls neither side produced more than a handful of half chances. After the dismissal Styche twice got behind the City defence but wasted the openings as the pressure began to build on City. On a couple of occasions City managed to break, Jake Reid forcing Rovers keeper Bittner into his one save of the afternoon and Adam Connolly having a shot charged down, but it was the visiting fans who were grateful to hear the final whistle.

Following an incident during the York City game and discussions with the local police supporters will no longer be able to leave Twerton Park at the half-time interval. The club apologise for the change in policy.

PREVIEW: Forest Green Rovers v CITY – Blue Square Bet Premier (26/8/10)

City make their shortest away Blue Square Bet Premier journey of the season on Saturday when they head up the A46 to face Forest Green Rovers. For much of the close season it appeared that the clubs would be swapping leagues. Defeat against already relegated Grays Athletic on the final day of the 2009-10 season looked to have ended Rovers’ 12-year stint at the top level of non-league football. Preparations were being made for life in the Blue Square Bet South but on June 10 Salisbury City’s appeal against demotion to the Southern League for financial reasons was dismissed and Rovers were handed a reprieve.

The limbo position the club had found themselves in made planning for the 2010-11 season difficult and club captain Paul Stonehouse signed for Mansfield Town amid the uncertainly. However, once their lifeline was confirmed manager David Hockaday began to strengthen his squad with the capture of highly-rated goalkeeper James Bittner from Salisbury, former Chippenham Town midfielder Ian Herring, Gloucester City attacking midfielder Lee Smith, plus re-signing a number of the previous season’s squad. Another new arrival was defender Scott Bartlett after he was released from his contract with City due to uncertainty whether he could commit to higher level football following the club’s promotion. However, with Rovers just a few miles from his Tetbury home he clearly felt playing at this standard would be more practical at the New Lawn. On the eve of the new campaign Hockaday added another half dozen players to his squad including Yan Klukowski, who had played a number of pre-season matches for City.

Off the field, the club, in common with so many teams, was faced with financial problems, in their case over a historic tax debt of around £45K. An agreement with the Inland Revenue was reached and the club launched ‘Keep the Green Alive’ campaign in an attempt to raise £250K and ensure its long-term survival. However, any money worries were removed a couple of days before the season started when Dale Vince, founder and MD of local company Ecotricity, took a major shareholding in the club. The 48-year-old former new-age traveller is estimated to be worth around £85m and, although there does not seem to any signs of extravagant expenditure like City’s previous opponents Crawley Town, the club can now look to its future in a much more confident fashion.

And so far results have reflected that improved position. Although they lost their opening match of the season 3-1 at Mansfield Town they followed this up with an impressive 3-0 victory over Wrexham at the New Lawn. But for a missed penalty by Herring a 1-1 draw against Gateshead could have been second successive home win before they were involved in a remarkable match against City’s opening day conquerors Hayes & Yeading United. Three times they led but were pegged back by United, Ben Wright claiming a hat-trick after also netting again City. However, in the final minute Else volleyed home a fourth goal leaving no time for Hayes to find another equaliser. This win lifted Rovers to 4th place in this fledgling season.

Complete record against Forest Green Rover/Stroud

This is only the second season that the clubs have been league rivals. Following City’s relegation back to the Southern League in 1997 they lined up against each other for the 1997-98 campaign. The first meeting ended 1-1 at Twerton Park, Ian Hedges scoring for City, before the return match on the final day of the season. A win for City could have earned them a top three finish but the home side were chasing the bigger prize of the Southern League title and promotion to the Conference. After an even opening Rovers took the lead on 31 minutes through former City midfielder Gary Smart’s close range finish. And with ten minutes left Smart turned creator, sliding the ball through for Alex Sykes (who would go on to play for City several years later) to begin Rovers currently uninterrupted Conference tenure. More recently the clubs have twice met in the FA Cup, a Frankie Bennett (and two missed City penalties) ensuring Rovers’ progress in a 3-1 win during the 2000-01 season before they faced each other again in a 2nd Round tie last year. In front of over 3300 fans at Twerton Park a deflected Smith shot put the visitors in front but Lewis Hogg headed City level before the interval. Rovers regained the lead early in the second half thanks to Preece’s header and despite City’s best efforts this was enough to earn them a 3rd Round trip to Notts County.

City go into the game still missing Scott Murray (ankle) and Luke Ruddick (hamstring) but hope that goalkeeper Ryan Robinson will overcome his foot injury to face his former club, with Giancarlo Borhy on standby once again to provide cover. Midfielder Adie Harris should have recovered from the sickness that he suffered before and after the Crawley match earlier this week.

City push money no object Crawley all the way in narrow reverse (24/8/10)

City suffered their second defeat of the season as they went down by two goals to one at Crawley Town this evening. With rookie goalkeeper Giancarlo Borhy making his debut after Ryan Robinson failed a late fitness test it looked as if City could be in for a tough night against the big-spending Red Devils but at the final whistle it was the home side holding on for the win. City failed to register an effort on goal during the first-half and trailed to Tubbs’ 20th minute strike and a penalty converted by McAllister after Sekani Simpson had pulled back Torres three minutes before the interval. With Tubbs’ and Torres costing more than City’s entire playing budget for the season it looked like a heavy defeat could be on the cards. However, in truth City had never been outclassed during that first period and change of formation at half-time from 5-4-1 to 4-4-2 with the introduction of Marc Canham saw them pose a much greater attacking threat. They pulled a goal by with 15 minutes left from a close range Danny Webb header and despite failing to find an equaliser it was another performance that showed they have little to fear at this higher level.

PREVIEW: Crawley Town v CITY – Blue Square Bet Premier (22/8/10)

Match preview removed at the request of Crawley Town FC.

Complete record against Crawley Town

Football Conference sign unique TV deal with Premier Sports (20/8/10)

In a ground breaking deal, which will be a first in English football between a major football competition and a broadcaster, the Football Conference has signed up to a unique partnership with Premier Sports TV to show 30 matches per season from the Blue Square Bet Premier over the next three years, including their Premier Play Off’s and the prestigious Premier Promotion Final. In a joint enterprise with Premier Sports, the Conference can now offer those who want the opportunity to watch all that is best outside the Premiership and Football League, the ability to subscribe to a monthly membership for just £6.99. The uniqueness of the deal over and above the normal rights fee paid by the broadcaster to the competition, will see the Conference receive 50% of all subscriptions once a nominal level of subscribers has been achieved. No other competition has had this style of agreement before and in addition the Conference will also earn 50% from all internet revenue associated with the deal and allow them to retain advertising rights allied to those adverts shown with their matches. This really is a “joint venture” first in football. Despite the fact that 12 months ago the Conference lost their then broadcaster partner due to financial reasons, they have bounced back strongly from that adversity to again lead the way with this deal.

PREVIEW: CITY v York City – Blue Square Bet Premier (19/8/10)

After the confidence boosting win over Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday City face another of last season’s Blue Square Premier play-off competitors in York City at Twerton Park on Saturday. The Minstermen went one better than the Diamonds, beating Luton Town in the semi-final in a match marred by serious crowd trouble, but lost 3-1 to Oxford United at Wembley in the Final to condemn them to a seventh season in non-league football.

York’s 75-year membership of the Football League ended in 2004 when a run of 20 matches without a win saw them finish in 24th place and relegated to the Football Conference. They had spent the vast majority of their time in the Football League in the bottom two divisions with just a brief spell in the second tier during the mid-1970s. It was in the cup competitions that they enjoyed more success during this time including an FA Cup run to the quarter-final in 1937-38 which saw giant-killing wins over 1st Division West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough. They went one better in 1954-55 beating Blackpool before losing to Newcastle United in a semi-final replay. More recently they knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup in 1985 and Manchester United in 1995-96 League Cup. They won the 1st leg 3-0 at Old Trafford against a largely second string United side before defending this lead at Bootham Crescent to win 4-3 on aggregate.

In their first season as a non-league club they finished in 17th place. An improvement to 8th place followed in the 2005-06 season and they made the play-offs the next year. There they met Morecambe in the semi-final, drawing the first leg 0-0 before losing 2-1 to the eventual winners. They struggled to repeat this success the next two campaigning, finishing 14th and 17th, although they did reach the 2008-09 FA Trophy Final, losing 2-0 to Stevenage Borough at Wembley. Last season a fifth place finished earned them a play-off semi-final berth and a meeting with Luton Town. A late Richard Brodie goal gave them a slender first-leg advantage before they repeated the scoreline at Kenilworth Road. However, that game will be mostly remembered for the post-match violence that saw Luton fans invade the pitch and throw missiles at the York supporters and players, forcing them to take cover in the stands. Incredibly the FA have just announced that no action will be taken against Luton.

York manager Martin Foyle has had a fairly quiet summer bringing in seven new players. Two of these will be familiar to City having scored against them last season. Ex-Forest Green Rovers midfielder Jonathan Smith netted a deflected shot that set his side on their way to a 2-1 FA Cup win at Twerton Park in November. George Purcell, who York signed from Braintree Town, struck twice for his former club in the 4-2 win at Twerton Park that looked to have ended City’s play-off hopes in March. With these minor changes York will be relying on the goals of Richard Brodie, after he scored 36 times last season. The Minstermen have got the 2010-11 season off to a slow start with just a single point from their opening two games. A first day 2-1 defeat at home to Kidderminster Harriers was further blemished by several altercations between York players. They followed this up with a goalless draw at Blue Square Bet Premier newcomers Grimsby Town.

Saturday’s game will be the first ever meeting between the clubs. City will definitely be missing Mark Badman, as he completes his five match suspension, and injured duo Scott Murray (ankle) and Luke Ruddick (hamstring). They will hope Kaid Mohamed has recovered from the tight hamstring that saw him miss the win over Rushden & Diamonds.

Ex-City midfielder Cousins honoured with testimonial for 1000th appearance (18/8/10)

Former City midfielder Rob Cousins is to be honoured for his 1000th appearance with a testimonial match against Bristol City on Tuesday 7 September (ko 7.30pm) at the Winterfield Road home of his current club Paulton Rovers. ‘Trigger’ reached the milestone back in January against Andover and just under a third of the games were during his seven years with City between 1989 and 1996.

Ankle injury could see new signing Murray sidelined for a month (18/8/10)

One of City’s summer signing’s could be sidelined for up to a month after the ankle problem that he picked up at Hayes & Yeading United on Saturday was diagnosed as torn ligaments. Scott Murray suffered the injury midway through the first half, although he played on until the interval he was substituted at half-time and missed last night’s win over Rushden & Diamonds. He joins Luke Ruddick on the injury list after he sufference a recurrence of his hamstring problem in the same game.

Diamonds fail to shine as City register first Blue Square Bet Premier win (17/8/10)

City came from a goal down at the interval to record their first win as a Blue Square Bet Premier club against Rushden & Diamonds at Twerton Park this evening. They fell behind on just six minutes but a stunning strike from Adam Connolly within a minute of the restart and Darren Edwards’ header from a Lewis Hogg free-kick on 58 minutes gave them a 2-1 victory. The visitors had gone ahead from their first attack when Howe got free down the left flank and crossed to give Porter a simple tap-in. They failed to build on this advantage though and City more than held their own against the full-time club who made the Blue Square Premier play-offs last season. Only in the closing ten minutes of the half did the Diamonds begin to exert any pressure, Howe blazing their best chance over just before the interval. However, just 34 seconds into the second half City were level, Connolly firing into the top corner from just outside the box. Twelve minutes later a perfectly delivered free-kick by Hogg was flicked home by Edwards and City were in front. Rushden began to push City back after this but were largely restricted to long-range efforts that failed to trouble Ryan Robinson. The referee gave them hope of repeating the late late equaliser that got them a point in their opening game against Fleetwood on Saturday by somehow finding six minutes stoppage time but City still stood firm to get their season up and running.

PREVIEW: CITY v Rushden & Diamonds – Blue Square Bet Premier (16/8/10)

After the disappointment of losing their opening Blue Square Bet Premier game on Saturday at Hayes & Yeading United, City will hope for more success as they begin their home campaign against last season’s play-off semi-finalists Rushden & Diamonds. Although City could claim to have deserved at least a point from the Hayes match they know they will need to raise their game against the former Football League club who will no doubt be amongst the play-off contenders once again this season.

The Diamonds were only formed in 1992 following the merger of Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds. Backed by the not inconsiderable funds of Max Griggs, owner of the Dr Martens empire, £30m was spent Nene Park, which had been Irthlingborough’s home since 1969. On the pitch it took the club just four seasons (although that may have been two more than they expected) to climb from the Southern League Midland Division to the Vauxhall Conference. Unsurprisingly they were installed as favourites for the 1996-97 Vauxhall Conference title but in February 1997 they found themselves at the foot of the league and facing a shock return to the Southern League. The appointment of former Arsenal and England player Brian Talbot turned things around and they finished in 12th place that season. Three top four finishes following before they won promotion to the Football League in 2001. On the pitch success continued as they reached the play-offs in their first season as a League club then lifted the Division 3 title the next year. Despite a promising start the Diamonds struggled at this higher level and after Talbot left in March 2004 they were relegated. The club seemed to now be in a downward spiral and having just stayed up in 2004-05 they finished bottom of League 2 the next year to return to the Conference after just five seasons as a Football League club. Toward the end of this tenure Griggs had handed ownership of the club over the Supporters’ Trust and, although he gave them £750,000, the ending of the unlimited funds that had backed their rise up the football pyramid no doubt played a part in the slide back down.

Mid-table finishes during the first three seasons back in the Conference suggested the club had found its natural level. Managers came and went, including high profile non-league names Graham Westley and Garry Hill, but it was the appointment of ex-Tottenham defender Justin Edinburgh, initially in a caretaker capacity, following the resignation of the latter in February 2009 that finally saw an upturn in the club’s fortunes. He first match in charge was a 9-0 win over Weymouth in the infamous match where the Terras has to field an entire youth side and he led the Diamonds to 11th place at the end of that season, their highest since returning to non-league. This earned Edinburgh the job on a permanent basis and the improvement continued last season where fourth place earned them a play-off spot against Oxford United. After drawing the first leg 1-1 that were beaten 2-0 by the U’s to miss out on a Wembley appearance.

Although the summer saw the Diamonds lose star man Lee Tomlin to Peterborough United for an undisclosed fee and Paul Terry, brother of former England captain John Terry, to Darlington, Edinburgh made nine signings, including several that will be familiar to City. Joe Keehan, who faced City twice last season whilst playing for his former club Lewes, and Rene Howe, whose goal for Bedford Town in the 2005-06 Southern League play-off semi-final was enough to end City’s hopes of promotion that season. The Diamonds opened their season with a game against one of City’s fellow newcomers to the Blue Square Bet Premier, Fleetwood Town. The Blue Square North play-off winners took the lead on 23 minutes but Rushden should have gone into the interval level, only to miss a penalty late in the half. It looked as if this miss would prove costly only for a stoppage time header by Corcoran to grab them a point.

Complete record against Rushden & Diamonds

City have met Rushden on four previous occasions all during the second half of the 1990s. The Diamonds maiden season in the Conference coincided with City’s relegation to the Southern League and the sides first faced each other at the end of November at Nene Park with the home side running out easy 4-1 winners, Martin Paul netting City’s consolation goal. When the sides met at Twerton Park in April Rushden were beginning to pull away from the relegation zone but City sat second from bottom and in desperate need of the three points. Goals from Graham Colbourne, Mike Davis and David Mehew gave them exactly this in a 3-2 victory. Since then there have been two FA Trophy meetings during the 1998-99 and 1999-00 seasons. The first match saw Rushden run out comfortable 2-0 winners at Nene Park but a year later they were given a much sterner test as City took the lead midway through the first-half thanks to a stunning lob by Martin Paul. Having already dumped fellow Conference side Stevenage Borough out of the FA Cup that season City would have hoped to add a second giant-killing scalp but the game turned in seven second half minutes thanks to goals from Collins and Aldridge. Even after this City had chances to level, the closest when Paul Bodin’s struck an injury-time free-kick against the bar.

City hope that Scott Murray will have recovered from the knock to his ankle that forced him off at half-time against Hayes & Yeading and Sido Jombati is available after missing the game with a minor injury. They will be missing Luke Ruddick who aggravated the hamstring strain he picked up in pre-season and Mark Badman as he sits out game four of his five match suspension.

Hayes & Yeading punish City mistakes in opening day defeat (14/8/10)

City’s return to the non-league top flight ended in a 2-1 defeat to Hayes & Yeading United this afternoon at a showery Church Road. They can consider themselves unlucky not to have picked up a point in a even encounter but were punished for the sort of mistakes that they may have got away with at a lower level. Both sides were guilty of giving the ball away cheaply in a scrappy first-half but it was City who created the better openings, with Scott Murray just failing to lob Lee Harrison and Lee Phillips slipping when he had the goal at his mercy. City’s cause was not helped by Luke Ruddick and Murray picking up injuries that saw them replaced on 32 minutes and at the interval respectively and within two minutes of the restart a dreadful mistake in the box by Adie Harris gifted Wright a easy chance to beat Ryan Robinson. City were clearly stunned by this and it took several excellent stops by Robinson to prevent the home side taking the game beyond them. Once they’d weathered this storm Gethin Jones had a close range shot blocked on the line then Lewis Hogg saw a free-kick strike the underside of the bar before rebounding off Harrison behind for a corner. A equaliser just looked a matter of time but with eight minutes left Wright made it 2-0 with a 20-yard free kick. City finally got on the scoresheet a minute into stoppage time when Jones unleashed a stunning 30-yard shot that flew into the top corner of the net but it was too little too late.

All City games to be covered live online by Radio Bristol (13/8/10)

City fans will be able to listen to every second of the club’s return to the top flight of non-league football thanks to a link-up between The Bath Chronicle and BBC Radio Bristol. Live coverage will be provided online of every game – home and away – on the BBC Sport website, while regular updates and post-match interviews will be included on the station’s weekend and midweek sports programmes. To listen to the coverage – beginning with City’s trip to Hayes & Yeading United tomorrow – visit here.

City’s home game against Altrincham has been re-arranged for Tuesday 16 November (ko 7.45pm).

PREVIEW: Hayes & Yeading United v CITY – Blue Square Bet Premier (12/8/10)

City make their long awaited return to the top tier of non-league football on Saturday with a trip to Middlesex to face Hayes & Yeading United. Fittingly the 13-year absence comes to an end at the same ground they played their last game at this level, Church Road. It was Saturday 26 April 1997 when an early Graham Colbourne strike was enough to give City a 1-0 win over the Hayes half of the current club and keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Vauxhall Conference. A week later though this hope was shattered at Twerton Park, despite coming from 2-0 down to beat Northwich Victoria, as closest rivals Halifax Town overcame Stevenage Borough to leave City a single point adrift of safety. This disappointment was finally exorcised against Woking back in May but it is a very difference league in which City find themselves for the 2010-11 season. Just six teams that City faced in 1996-97 remain (Kidderminster Harriers, Gateshead, Southport, Rushden & Diamonds, Kettering Town and Hayes (& Yeading United)). Instead the division is now filled with a number of former Football League clubs that up until now City could only have dreamed about playing in the FA Cup. Now they are league rivals which will still have City fans pinching themselves to see if it is all a dream.

Before they encounter the likes of York City, Luton Town and Grimsby Town it is Hayes & Yeading who will provide their first test at this level. Part-time City will still face the task of trying to compete with a full-time side, which will be a very regular feature of the campaign, after the 2008-09 Blue Square South play-off winners made the switch during the summer. They finished in a very creditable 17th place last season but the close season saw highly-rated manager Garry Haylock embark on a player clear-out that sees just a handful of last year’s squad remain with the club. Amongst the numerous new arrivals are experienced goalkeeper Lee Harrison, Jamie Hand from Woking and former Hampton & Richmond Borough striker Ben Wright, who has joined on loan from Peterborough United. They also received a boost when last season’s player of the year James Mulley re-signed after trials with Charlton Athletic and Dagenham & Redbridge during the summer came to nothing. Maybe not surprisingly given the largely new squad United have had a mixed pre-season with just two wins, over Beaconsfield SYCOB and Lewes, in their seven outings, although they did enjoy a creditable 1-1 with a strong Queens Park Rangers XI.

Complete record against Hayes/Yeading/Hayes & Yeading United

The single goal victory back in April 1997 meant City completed the double over Hayes that season, having won 3-1 at Twerton Park in February thanks to goals from Mark Harrington, Mike Davis and Paul Hirons. The previous season had seen the first ever meeting between the clubs, with a Graham Withey double securing a place in the FA Trophy 3rd Round for City. It was also an FA Trophy where City played their one and only game against Yeading during the 2005-06 season. A rare Jim Rollo strike put them ahead but this lead only lasted three minutes and a second goal 15 minutes from time dumped City out of the competition. In May 2007 Yeading and Hayes merged to form the current club and City have yet to record a win over them, drawing two and losing two of the four meetings. The last clash took place in January 2009 in a game that both goalkeepers will want to forget. Despite not having played for over two weeks City got off to a perfect start when Darren Edwards reached a long ball forward ahead of United keeper Howe to roll the ball into a unguarded net after just five minutes. However, two mistakes by Steve Perrin saw the home side go into the interval in front. It looked as if this would be how the game finished but three minutes from the end a weak punch by Howe was returned into the area where Dave Gilroy headed home an equaliser.

City boss Adie Britton will go into the game with almost a full from which squad to select. Although a number of players picked up minor knocks during pre-season only summer signing Joe Burnell is missing through injury having yet to resume training following his groin operation. The other player unavailable is midfielder Mark Badman as he completes the final three matches of his five game suspension for his red card in the 1st leg of the Blue Square South play-off semi-final against Chelmsford City back in April.

City complete pre-season campaign in familiar style (8/8/10)

City completed their pre-season campaign yesterday with yet another draw – their fifth in five away games – this time at Blue Square Bet South side Weston Super Mare. The Seagulls opened the scoring on 29 minutes when keeper Ryan Robinson allowed a tame Porter shot to slip through his grasp. City only trailed for a minute though as Marc Canham latched on to a Lee Phillips blocked effort to fire the ball into the net from 25 yards. The second half was a largely uneventful affair as the two sides began to look ahead to their opening league games in a week’s time, with Rand’s header against the post coming closest for the home side before Jake Reid had a shot cleared off the line five minutes from time.

City announce new main sponsor for 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons (6/8/10)

After a period of negotiation and contract talks, City have announced Inter Payroll Ltd as the new premier club sponsor. Inter Payroll initially agreed a deal for shorts sponsorship for the forthcoming season. Having become closely involved with the football club, Inter Payroll have decided to invest further and commit to a longer term strategy. The package includes naming rights to the home, away and replica shirts and various other elements and is based on a two year agreement. Ian Jones – City’s Commercial Manager says, “This is truly a magnificent deal for Bath City Football Club and Inter Payroll and allows the club to move forward and plan for the future. This sponsorship represents the ambition the club and Inter Payroll share”. Mikael Anderson of Inter Payroll Says, “Three weeks ago we were proud to become the official shorts sponsor of Bath City FC. Today we’re happy to have extended the fantastic partnership and the synergies between these two companies. Bath City are on an exciting journey and we are proud to be a part of it.”

PREVIEW: Weston Super Mare v CITY – Pre-Season Friendly (5/8/10)

City complete their 2010 pre-season campaign on Saturday with a trip to the coast to face Blue Square South side Weston Super Mare. On the back of a series of mixed results City will hope for a morale boosting win against the Seagulls, although more importantly they will want to avoid any injuries with just a week to go before they make their long-awaited return to the top tier of non-league football at Hayes & Yeading United.

Weston are preparing for another season in the Blue Square South after receiving their third reprieve from relegation in the last four years. After finishing in 21st place it looked as they would finally be returning to the Southern League but once again matters elsewhere came to their rescue, this time Salisbury City’s demotion from the Blue Square Premier to the Southern League for financial matters. The man handed the task of keeping the Seagulls in the Blue Square South on merit is former Bridgwater Town boss Craig Laird following the sacking of unpopular Andy Gurney two games from the end of the 2009-10 season. Laird had led his previous club to within six minutes of play-off glory in the Zamaretto South and West league last season and will hope begin an upturn in the fortunes of the Woodspring Stadium side. He brought seven of his former players with him from the Robins, including his son Jamie who was briefly with City during the 2007-08 season, and also captured a couple of former City youth players, Kane Ingram and Simon Gilbert. Their pre-season has been fairly encouraging with the highlight being a victory against League 1 Exeter City.

Complete record against Weston Super Mare

City’s competitive record against Weston is remarkably one-sided with 33 of the 38 meetings ending in victory for the Romans, including all six Blue Square South meetings during the last three seasons in which Weston have failed to score a single goal. Pre-season meetings have been rarer events with just two in recent years. The last of these took place in July 2001 when the clubs produced a largely forgettable goalless draw at Woodspring Park. The game as not helped by a hard uneven pitch and the highlight was the second half outing in the Seagulls goal of their then assistant manager and City’s record appearance holder Dave Mogg. From a City perspective though the result was an improvement on their previous trip to North Bristol two years earlier when they lost 2-0 in their final pre-season match of the summer. Both goals came in the final twenty minutes and capped a very poor City performance. Although showing that pre-season form means little or nothing they followed this up with an unbeaten 13-match start to the 1999-00 season.

City manager Adie Britton has confirmed that his line-up for the Weston match will give no firm clues on the side he will send out against Hayes & Yeading a week later, as he looks to ensure all his squad are fit and ready for the new season. One payer set to return to action is defender Luke Ruddick after missing the last three games with a hamstring problem. The game is also likely to see trialist goalkeepers Alban Guibot and Giancarlo Borhy given final chances to claim the backup spot to first-choice no.1 Ryan Robinson.

Twerton Park turnstile arrangements for forthcoming season (4/8/10)

Twerton Park will see a few minor changes designed to get people through the turnstiles more quickly during the forthcoming Blue Square Bet Premier season. There are also attractive new adult+child packages, available at the ticket office. An adult + 2 children (U16) can sit in the grandstand for just £20, or stand on the terraces for £17.

  1. One turnstile for stand seats (as now)
  2. One turnstile for Tickets (inc Season Tickets) (as now)
  3. Turnstiles for Adults paying cash (£13 – the right money speeds things up enormously)
  4. Different turnstiles for Concessions (Students and pensioners). To make things fairer for everyone, and to help the turnstile operators, PROOF of age must be shown – students are used to showing this but
  5. Men over 65 and Women over 60 paying at the turnstiles will also need to prove their age. The club will be reasonable about this and does not expect people to carry around valuable originals of things like passports, so photocopies are fine. They will even make the photocopy for fans (but not on a matchday).
  6. A Pension ‘card’ (BR 464), passport or anything which clearly shows date of birth is fine.
  7. There are new special rates for Adults bringing children, and they should go to the ticket office for their tickets, and will then enter by the Ticket turnstile. This will avoid slowing up the queues at the turnstiles.
  8. After a couple of matches, the club will see how things are going, and then be prepared to modify things if necessary.

City will hold their AGM on Monday 9 August at Twerton Park starting at 7.30pm. This will be followed by a question and answer session with the club’s board, which is open to both shareholders and non-shareholders.

Reid on target in Paulton friendly but City held again (3/8/10)

City completed their 100% record of draws against Southern League South/West Division One opposition as they were held at Paulton Rovers this evening. Last year’s Cup giant-killers were grateful to some wasteful finishing from City, who were also denied on several occasions by home keeper Kyle Phillips. It was his opposite number, Frenchman Alban Guibot, who was the first to shine when he produced a fine double save from close range. City responded to this by seeing several chances come and go, Lewis Hogg having a long range effort easily gathered before Lee Phillips beat the offside trap and found himself in oceans of space. His first time half-volley looked destined for the far corner but his namesake Kyle reacted brilliantly to tip it behind. Kaid Mohamed also burst clear of a static defence, but with just Phillips to beat he failed in his attempt to round the keeper, eventually winning a corner. The second half was less eventful, Guibot’s last action seeing him caught miles out of position before a dipping effort landed just off target. He was replaced by Italian Jan Callo, who was left to pick the ball out of his net on 72 minutes. Ben Cleverley’s driven cross from the left was met by Matt Cooper, who steered the ball in from close range. Some solid defending kept Rovers ahead before they were caught off-guard from substitute Jake Reid. After being on the pitch for a minute, Reid collected Adie Harris’ pass and danced his way past the defence before coolly stroking the ball home. Darren Edwards was thwarted by Phillips late on and Hogg’s cross-shot flew just wide as the game fizzled out into a stalemate. (Thanks to Mark Stillman for the report)

PREVIEW: Paulton Rovers v CITY – Pre-Season Friendly (1/8/10)

City’s penultimate match of the 2010 close season takes place on Tuesday as they make the short journey to face Southern League Division 1 South & West side Paulton Rovers. The South Bristol side are coming off one of the most successful seasons in their 129-year history as they came to nationwide attention with a televised FA Cup 1st Round tie against Norwich City. Wins over Tiverton Town, Didcot Town, Newport County and Chippenham Town, all teams from higher divisions, earned them a dream tie against the Canaries. With over 2000 fans tightly packed into their Winterfield Road ground and ITV cameras beaming the game around the world, Rovers put up a brave fight and for 15 minutes more than matched the League 1 club. However, when Holt headed home on 15 minutes their resistance was broken and, with Martin netting four goals, Norwich ran out 7-0 winners. In the league they missed out on a play-off place, finishing in 8th position.

Rovers’ pre-season campaign began with a 2-2 draw at Western League Bitton. Former City striker Dan Cleverley opened the scoring after just two minutes before Ben Lacey, who was on trial at City earlier this summer, made it 2-0 with just another two minutes on the clock. Chances to improve on this flying start came and went and the home side pulled a goal back shortly after the interval. And it was another ex-City forward, Mark Salter, who ensured honours were shared seven minutes from time, racing clear and slotting the ball home. They followed this up with comfortable wins over Shepton Mallet (5-0) and Radstock Town (4-1). Their last outing was a goalless draw against Blue Square Bet South Weston Super Mare.

Complete record against Paulton Rovers

The most recent competitive meeting between the sides took place in the 2008 Somerset Premier Cup Final. The first meeting took place at Weston Super Mare’s Woodspring Park but with the game evenly balanced at 1-1 eight minutes into extra-time the floodlights went out. The clubs agreed to replay the tie, City winning the coin toss for choice of venue, and this time the Romans made the two-division gap count in a 3-0 win. The highlight of the game was a stoppage time strike by Martin Paul that took him to 113 goals and second place in the club’s all-time scoring list. Pre-season meetings have been frequent as well, the last of which took place two seasons ago where a Gethin Jones fluke goal three minutes before half-time settled the contest.